Press release

Writer/director Jonathan Glazer awarded the Wellcome Trust and BFI Screenwriting Fellowship in association with Film4

British writer and director Jonathan Glazer ('Under The Skin', 'Birth', 'Sexy Beast') has been named the 2014 Wellcome Trust and BFI Screenwriting Fellow in association with Film4.

Glazer’s Fellowship, which is worth £30,000 and provides tailored access to some of the world’s most exciting research, will run for one year from January to December 2015. The current Fellow, Clio Barnard, will complete her Fellowship at the end of this year.

Jonathan Glazer accepted his award from Clare Matterson of the Wellcome Trust at an event filled with interactions between art and science. The evening included Freudian cocktails, scientific illusionists and 'Sex and the City'-inspired therapy sessions, and was attended by guests from the film and science communities.

“Being awarded the Screenwriting fellowship is a unique opportunity: I’m looking forward to being exposed to new influences and ideas and where they might lead me,” he said. “My method of working has always been fluid and receptive, so to be gifted such incredible access will be invaluable.”

This major screenwriting initiative is designed to nurture enquiring minds and unique voices and to bring the worlds of film and science closer together. Jonathan Glazer was selected by members of the Fellowship Panel, which includes script and story editor Kate Leys; Director of Strategy at the Wellcome Trust, Clare Matterson; Senior Development and Production Executive at the BFI Film Fund, Lizzie Francke; and Senior Development Editor at Film4, Eva Yates.

Clare Matterson, Director of Strategy at the Wellcome Trust, said: “To offer a visionary screenwriter the opportunity to delve into the world of biomedical science, with the freedom and flexibility to explore what that might mean to them and their work, is a truly remarkable thing to be part of. It is not just an adventure for them, but for us as well. It has been a great privilege to follow Clio Barnard’s journey over the past year, and we are thrilled that Jonathan Glazer, with his experimental and enquiring mind, will be taking up the Screenwriting Fellowship in 2015.”

Lizzie Francke, Senior Development and Production Executive at the BFI, said: “Jonathan Glazer's 'Under the Skin' was the most compelling and extraordinary cinematic vision of last year – a 2014 odyssey that explored the space between male and female. The Wellcome Trust Fellowship allows him to get under another skin – exploring biomedical science – and we expect that it will have the same audacious and mind-blowing results.”

Eva Yates, Senior Development Editor at Film4, said: “The partnership we’ve built with the Wellcome Trust over the past few years has been brilliant. We share an ethos built around big ideas, which has helped us bring filmmakers and scientists together in a way that's invigorating for both worlds. Through the first fellowship, the Wellcome Trust opened up a universe of inspiration for Clio Barnard, for her next film and beyond. Our second fellow, Jonathan Glazer, is a filmmaker of real vision, appetite and curiosity. We can't wait to see where his journey with the Wellcome Trust takes him.”

The aim of the Fellowship is to allow a writer of exceptional talent the time and space to delve into biomedical science and humanities research. Glazer’s year-long experience will be curated by the Wellcome Trust’s Film and Drama Development Manager Meroë Candy and will give him access to the Wellcome Trust’s global network of research centres, as well as the Wellcome Library, the research centre The Hub and exhibitions at the Wellcome Collection.

Commenting on her experience, Clio Barnard describes the Fellowship as “like being given the Golden Ticket to the chocolate factory… Over the past year I’ve been able to carry out in-depth research into a film I’m working on about a sibling relationship in the context of childhood sex abuse.

“The Fellowship has enabled me to explore the psychology of the victim, perpetrator and collaborator in this story in a much more in-depth way, by talking to professionals such as Jackie Craissati, Adam Phillips and Susie Orbach, who explore forensic psychology and the impact of sexual trauma.”

The purpose of the Fellowship is open-ended. It’s hoped that by enabling Glazer to immerse himself in a world that he would not normally be able to access easily, he will be able to explore themes in science and medicine in more depth and to encourage new conversations about science.

The Screenwriting Fellowship is part of a range of initiatives the Wellcome Trust runs to support writers, directors and producers in exploring biomedical science and its impact on our lives. Most recently, the Trust has launched a dedicated scheme for co-production finance for TV, radio, games and film projects.