Gareth Jones and Fiona Howe founded Babylon in 2006 and have completed eight full editions of the training programme to date.
BABYLON aims to build a successful and diverse pool of film storytelling and talent across the UK and continental Europe; to promote and strengthen cultural diversity within the independent film sector, and to provide an international platform for emerging filmmakers.
BABYLON offers targeted, project-based training for teams of feature film Writers, Directors and Producers, aimed at preparing their projects for the international market, maximising their production and distribution potential with key skills put into practice over an extended period.
The programme focuses on a combination of script development, production skills and market understanding, balancing intensive residential workshops with continuous mentoring by senior industry consultants.
BABYLON METRO 2016
BABYLON is launching a new initiative for 2016 aimed at primarily UK-based writers, directors and producers from diverse backgrounds who want to develop high-quality, low-budget feature film projects.
The pilot year will feature an intensive 3-day project development workshop in London, with individual follow-up sessions by Skype or face-to-face as required.
In a fast-changing digital market, UK filmmakers are in a unique position to take the creative initiative. BABYLON METRO seeks to liberate emerging filmmakers’ power to create, deliver and find an audience for new, innovative and relevant kinds of film.
BABYLON METRO tutors Fiona Howe and Gareth Jones have first-hand expertise in the authoring, production and distribution of digital films, with the recent completion of their own award-nominated trilogy of feature films, and a long-proven commitment to promoting the interests of young and emerging filmmakers.
The first BABYLON METRO workshop will take place as follows:
LONDON – 1st-3rd April 2016
A 3-day Feature Project Development Workshop concentrated on intensive script work, film concept and overall package.
The intention of the workshop will be to devise a working plan for the onward writing and completion of a shootable script. Development discussions of all projects will apply the following principles:
- A good script is more likely to lead to a good film; screenwriting skills and dramaturgical expertise are key to getting a film made and seen.
- High-quality feature films can be prepared, shot and distributed on a micro-budget, if each member of the creative team – screenwriter, director and producer – is equally committed and takes joint responsibility for the creative and commercial outcome.
- Production tools – casting issues, directing actors, design and aesthetic issues, practicality and affordability – should be addressed as part of the development process.
- The filmmaking world is changing at speed and new financing, production and distribution models need to be clearly understood and embraced from an early stage.
- The digital workflow extends beyond delivery into the promotion and distribution of the film. These stages are now compressed and work in parallel at all stages of a film’s life.
Working method includes:
- Introductory pitching and group discussion of selected projects
- In-depth screenplay and project analysis with assigned consultants in smaller project groups over three days
- Screening and discussion of extracts from participants’ previously filmed work
- Lectures and case studies covering related topics – dramaturgy, genre, visual interpretion, aspects of production, reaching an audience
- Free discussions during buffet lunch and supper
Participants should conclude the workshop with a plan of action for the onward development of their script and project. Following a rewrite period to be agreed during the workshop, participants book a follow-up session by mutual agreement with their consultant.
Participation fees are GBP 500 per individual. Transport costs are the responsibility of participants. The workshop costs include tuition and materials; tea, coffee and water are provided, as are buffet lunch and supper.
Ongoing membership of the Babylon Network is free for all graduates.
Graduates from the Babylon programme include Sally El Hosaini (2009), whose impressive first feature My Brother the Devil was fêted at Sundance and Berlin, winning the Europa Cinemas Award and Best Newcomer at the BFI London Film Festival 2012; Umut Dag, whose debut feature Kuma kicked off the Panorama section of the Berlinale 2012 and went on to win multiple awards as well as theatrical distribution across Europe and the US; Verena S. Freytag (Burnout) and Veit Helmer (Baikonur) whose films were both selected for the LOLA section of the Berlinale; Mai Masri whose début feature 3000 Nights premièred at Toronto and the London Film Festival in 2015.
Read Sally El Hosaini’s Q & A for Babylon here.
Review Click here »
UK alumni include:
Co-writing duo Vika Evdokimenko and Oliver Shuster (director, co-writers Babylon 2015) who scooped up two prizes for their ground-breaking first feature script The Place Behind Her Eyes, which won Best Graduate Feature Screenplay at this year’s Fusion Film Festival and was a winner of the NYU Purple List 2015.
Christiana Ebohon (writer, director Babylon 2015) BBC television director and WFTV Mentee, who completed three drafts of her feature film Sheba and was subsequently selected for a director’s placement on Kudos/Shine France/Sky high-end drama The Tunnel.
Mai Masri (writer, director, Babylon 2009) whose début film 3000 Nights premièred at Toronto and London Film Festivals in 2015, having won best script at the Carthage Film Festival following her participation, and having funded the project at the Cannes Atelier 2012.
Julian Grass (writer, director, Babylon 2013-14) who successfully crowdfunded his short film La Malaerba as a pilot to his feature film Mediterranean Girl developed with Babylon.
Anna Holburn (Producer, Babylon 2012) took part in international programme Prime Exchange in India following her participation at Babylon; she was also an Executive Producer of Scenario’s feature film Delight.
Miriam Heard (Writer/Director, Babylon 2012) directed her short film Welcome Home Emma-Rose following her participation in Babylon and has directed her first feature film in Chile prior to recommencing work on Babylon project Three Sisters.
Cecilia Frugiuele (Producer, Babylon 2012) took part in the prestigious Berlin Talent Campus following participation in Babylon and has since produced and co-written the award-winning Appropriate Behaviour.
Kanchi Wichmann (Writer, director Babylon 2012) won numerous awards for her lesbian first feature Break My Fall and is in pre-production with her second feature, with her Babylon-developed project Lee and Lara on her upcoming production slate.
Jonathan Granger Miles (Writer/director, Babylon 2012) was awarded Creative England development funding for his Babylon project Heavy Data.
Aldo Paternostro (Writer/director, Babylon 2012) had his script for Silvertown optioned by US producer Todd Komaricki following participation in Babylon.
Sally El Hosaini (Writer/director, Babylon 2009) Her Babylon developed project My Brother the Devil was awarded at Sundance, Berlin and London Film Festival (Best Newcomer) among others and was released successfully in the UK and internationally. She has directed Danny Boyle’s series Babylon, and is developing new feature film Remis.
Dima Hamdan (Writer/director, Babylon 2010) won development grant for best script at Goteborg International Film Festival 2012 and was joint winner of $100,000 Shasha grant from the Abu Dhabi Film Commission in 2011 with her Babylon supported project The Kidnap, and participated in the Euro-Mediterranean Co-production Forum in Brindisi in 2013.
Isabelle Stead (Producer, Babylon 2008) her multi-award-winning Babylon project Son of Babylon by Mohamed el Daradji was winner Best Foreign Language Film at Raindance 2010, winner of Raindance Award at BIFA and distributed by Dogwoof in the UK as well as selling to many territories.
Dapo Oshiyemi (Writer, producer Babylon 2010) formed his own distribution company Talking Drum Entertainment for African content following his participation at Babylon.
Hermann Djoumessi won the UK Film Centre pitch attending Cannes in 2010 with his music documentary project Coupe.
Omelihu Nwanguma (Director, Babylon 2010) followed his participation at Babylon as a mentee at Guiding Lights 2010 and is currently working as a successful commercials producer at Rebel@Outsider.
Faisal Qureshi, (Writer, Director, Producer Babylon 2007) developed his Babylon project Battle without Banners with veteran director Alex Cox and was subsequently associate producer of Four Lions for Warp Films in 2010-11. He recently won a $10,000 script prize in Kazakhstan for his project The Adversary and works via talent agents in Hollywood and the UK.
Samona Williams‘ (Producer, Babylon 2008) project GLuv participated in Film London’s Production Finance Market in 2008 following her participation in Babylon.
Michael Djaba (Producer, director Babylon 2008) successfully distributed British Gambian film The Mirror Boy and his own documentary Son of a Preacherman in 2011. He recently co-executive produced And Then There Was You for Hollywood producers Turning Point.
Anthony Alleyne (Writer, director Babylon 2007) has developed numerous projects including his Babylon supported film Black Market. He recently completed short film Kerry and is in post-production with a new thriller Enemy of England.