Press release

Shortlist announced for Wellcome Trust Screenwriting Prize

Film ideas inspired by neuroscience, memory, technology, mental health and genetic engineering are among the contenders in the shortlist, announced today, for the inaugural Wellcome Trust Screenwriting Prize.

Launched in June this year, the major new annual screenwriting prize is being run in association with the BFI Film Fund. The scheme aims to encourage high-quality feature films inspired by biology and medicine and offers a £20,000 prize to the winning writer so they can develop the script.

The 2012 finalists are:

  • Steven Sheil, writer/director of 'Mum & Dad' (released by Revolver in 2008) and the forthcoming 'Dead Mine' (HBO Asia, for release 2013) and screenwriter of 2013's 'Gozo'
  • Former Screen International Star of Tomorrow writer/director Emma Sullivan, whose short 'After Tomorrow' was nominated for a Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival
  • Writer/director Josh Appignanesi, director of 'The Infidel' in 2010, and writer/director of 'Song of Songs' (2006), who is co-writing with award-winning novelist and games writer Naomi Alderman
  • Sam Firth, screenwriter and experimental filmmaker whose work includes the film 'Stay the Same', in which she explores our relationship with time by filming herself in exactly the same place at exactly the same time every day for a year
  • Al Smith, playwright and radio dramatist, currently also in development with BBC TV Drama
  • Martina Amati, a BAFTA- and BIFA-award-winning filmmaker whose short films have screened at Sundance, Berlin and the London Film Festival.

Judges of the prize include representatives from the BFI, Film4 and the Wellcome Trust and leading scientist Dr Allan Pacey from the University of Sheffield. The judges are chaired by story editor Kate Leys.

In addition to receiving a £20,000 cash prize to develop their idea to first draft, the winning screenwriter will receive support from the Wellcome Trust to connect them with world-leading scientists and to help identify commercial partners and producers. The winning entry will be announced at an awards event at Wellcome Collection on Monday 8 October.

Dr Daniel Glaser, Head of Special Projects at the Wellcome Trust, says: "This is a very interesting and at times surprising shortlist of ideas inspired by biomedical themes, which move us beyond the traditional science staples of film. Choosing one winner will be a challenge for our judges, but we are certain that all the shortlisted screenwriters will benefit from working closely with our scientists and partners."