Channel 4’s Factual Team has awarded Ashley Francis-Roy the prestigious First Cut pitch prize at the 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest. He has won a 1x60 First Cut commission, a one month paid development, a mentorship with an indie and a week’s training at the National Film and Television School.
Ashley’s film delved into the world of standardised measurement and the passions that are stirred in a retired solicitor. Tony is outraged by a lot of things, but nothing winds him up more than the metric system. He’s impassioned for imperial and is doing everything he can to resist the forces of metrication. Now he’s travelling over 200 miles from his bungalow in Shropshire to put his hometown of Bournemouth back in imperial order - a true metric martyr.
Runner up Josh Allott turned his camera onto Tim, a veteran East Ender on the wrong side of the gaping wealth divide of Shoreditch’s hipster utopia. With Tim’s life and times at its centre, the film is a tragi-comic look into homelessness, gentrification and alcoholism.
Five finalists were chosen from over 70 applicants. They were given an identical brief: to shoot and edit a three-minute film based on the idea of outrage. It was up to them to interpret this brief and to demonstrate their directorial talent. Each had to present their idea in front of a panel of judges as well as a huge audience. They had 10 minutes - one minute to introduce themselves, three minutes to play their short film and five minutes to answer questions from the judging team.
Channel 4's critically acclaimed First Cut initiative was launched in 2007 as an eclectic documentary strand to showcase the best in bold, bright and original documentaries by up-and-coming filmmakers. Last year’s winner Lytanna Shannon is currently making her first one-hour film about surgery and body image, while the previous year’s runner up Tom Green, has made Carry Ons At The Castle which transmitted on Channel 4 last month.
Rita Daniels, who commissions the First Cut strand, says: “Ashley’s film was a surprising and witty take on big ideas of identity and national belonging. We are always looking for stories that are unique and shed light on our fractured and impassioned times; in both subject and approach Ashley has demonstrated that he has an exciting new voice to offer.”
The judging panel included Rita Daniels, Rowan Deacon and Dave Nath.
NOTES TO EDITOR
Ashley started his career in TV as a Creative Access trainee. He recently worked as Producer on Hometown - a new 6-part series for the BBC exploring the case of a young Asian man who was shot and killed by police.