BFI announces fundraising gala Luminous with guest speaker Tilda Swinton

Oscar®-winning director Tom Hooper joins jury for second

IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI

£50,000 Award presented at LUMINOUS on 3 October 2017

On 3 October 2017, BFI LUMINOUS in partnership with IWC Schaffhausen, will see the most celebrated figures in the world of film and television come together to raise funds for the BFI – the lead cultural organisation and charity at the heart of their industry.

Hosted by BFI Chair Josh Berger and BFI CEO Amanda Nevill and presented by Jonathan Ross, LUMINOUS will be at London’s Guildhall and welcomes Tilda Swinton as a special guest speaker. The second IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI, will be awarded at the event, with director Tom Hooper joining the judging panel with Amanda Nevill and IWC CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr. At £50,000, the Bursary is the most significant of its kind in the UK film industry, supporting exceptional new and emerging UK filmmakers in Official Selection at the BFI London Film Festival in Partnership with American Express®.

LUMINOUS 2017 will raise vital funds for the BFI to develop its work in film education, using the BFI National Archive, one of the world’s richest film collections and a unique resource, to teach and inspire the next generation of film talent. A biennial gala, LUMINOUS takes place on the eve of the Opening Night of the BFI London Film Festival (LFF). The evening will include an auction of unrivalled film experiences and prizes, open for public bidding in September.  Tickets for LUMINOUS are currently on sale at

The 2015 Gala raised over £430,000 for the BFI National Archive, with stars including Tom Hiddleston, the late Sir John Hurt, Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Lily Cole, Geena Davis, Dame Joan Collins, Natascha McElhone, Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Pryce, Jenna Coleman and Julian Fellowes attending and offering their support. Funds raised enabled the restoration and re-release of powerful and culturally important films, including Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927) and Franz Otsen’s Shiraz (1928).  The latter premieres as this year’s LFF Archive Gala (14 October), an event co-produced by BFI and Barbican, with a newly commissioned score performed live by multiple Grammy®-nominated Indian composer and musician Anoushka Shankar.

 BFI CEO Amanda Nevill said: The support for LUMINOUS has been incredible, allowing us, as a charity, to undertake work which otherwise would be impossible.  I’m delighted that this year we are raising funds for the BFI’s specialist film education activity. LUMINOUS celebrates the vital role the BFI National Archive plays in preserving our film culture and our work inspiring the next generation of filmmakers. I’m thrilled to welcome Tilda as our guest speaker and grateful to the gala’s dedicated Chair Jonathan Ross and committee members, our ambassadors and of course our headline sponsor IWC Schaffhausen. It is fantastic to bring together IWC’s generosity and the LFF to offer this unique Bursary for the second year, a partnership which enables us to provide an extraordinary opportunity for an emerging filmmaker.”

 Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen commented: “IWC is proud to support British filmmaking with the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI, for the second time this year. We recognize the importance of up-and-coming talents for the film industry, and we are delighted that this award gives emerging filmmakers the freedom and time they need to develop their projects.”

LUMINOUS 2017 will see the presentation of the £50,000 Bursary to an emerging UK-based writer and/or director premiering their first or second feature at the LFF. Tom Hooper, on the jury with Amanda Nevill and Christoph Grainger-Herr, will select a winner from a shortlist of three filmmakers. A panel made up of industry heavy weights, alongside Clare Stewart, Director of the BFI London Film Festival and Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund, will shortlist from the first or second features from UK filmmakers screening in the Festival.

 Oscar-winning Director Tom Hooper, said: “This Bursary provides up and coming filmmakers with an incredible and unique opportunity, and it is an honour to be part of the jury selecting the winner. Forging a career in this industry can be tough, and receiving a no strings attached investment gives a fledgling filmmaker the time and space to develop their voice and allow their creativity to truly flourish.”

The Bursary is designed to give the UK’s brightest and best up-and-coming filmmakers the gift of time – a crucial element in the creative process. Supporting talent at the beginning of their career, it aims to bring them financial stability, allowing them to develop their creativity and focus on future projects without the pressure of deadlines or the distraction of taking paid work – a precious and extremely rare opportunity for a filmmaker.

Hope Dickson Leach won the inaugural Bursary for The Levelling, her debut feature which was released in May to critical acclaim following its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in 2016. Explaining the extraordinary opportunity the Bursary provided her with, Dickson Leach said: “This last year has been a wild ride. Promoting my debut film as well as exploring future opportunities is all-encompassing, and having the time to invest in this has truly been a privilege. Winning the Bursary not only made it possible for me to make the most of this crucial moment in my career, but also raised my profile. Over the year I have worked hard to find the projects that most excite me and will provide that important step forward for my second feature, and feel lucky to be developing several as a result. I have also had time to work with my colleagues at Raising Films, the campaigning initiative I co-founded for parents and carers in the film industry. The Bursary is a unique opportunity for British filmmakers – the gift of time is surely the most precious thing any filmmaker can receive, and I can say without doubt that it has allowed me to make the most of this critical year in my life.”

As the funding environment for arts organisations remains challenging, LUMINOUS is at the heart of the BFI’s ambitious fundraising strategy to ensure the UK’s rich heritage of film and television is protected and the talent of tomorrow are inspired and given opportunities to thrive.

Judy Wells

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