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Screenwriter wins first David Lean Feature Film Screenwriting award

Posted on 26/10/2009

Peter Chapman, Abi Van Walsum, Maja Bodenstein, Ilaria D’Elia and Nicky Kelly on Graduation Day 2009

Ilaria D′Elia has received the first ever David Lean Foundation Feature Film Screenwriting award, which is worth £5,000. Ilaria, who last summer graduated from the Department of Media Arts’ MA in Feature Film Screenwriting (MAFFS) at Royal Holloway, University of London, received the prize after demonstrating exceptional screenwriting skills and excellent prospects of entering the industry.

Ilaria was one of six writers from Royal Holloway who were shortlisted for the prize, having worked on three drafts of their scripts on the MAFFS programme. Each of the finalists were interviewed by the panel of judges and asked how they see their future within the UK film industry. Ilaria impressed the judges with her commitment to originality and her dedication to the art of storytelling. The other shortlisted writers were Maja Bodenstein, Peter Chapman, Jane Crawford, Nicky Kelly and Abi Van Walsum.

The panel awarding the prize was comprised of leading professionals in the film industry, featuring the UK Film Council’s Bradley Quirk; Peter Charlton, Warp Films and former Film4 Commissioning Executive; Susan Rogers, screenwriter and MAFFS Programme Director at Royal Holloway; agent Tanya Tillet from the Rod Hall Agency and Kate Leys, former Head of Development at Film4.

’Lily and her Sisters’ is an original tale set in war-torn Northern Italy. The judges were impressed with the script, explaining that it portrayed a truly cinematic vision written with depth and warmth of character. The judges also reserved special mention to Maja Bodenstein for the freshness of vision coupled with ambition in her screenplay.

Ilaria’s screenwriting career has blossomed following her time studying at Royal Holloway. Since completing the MAFFS programme, her television series has been optioned by Lime Pictures, part of global production and distribution company 'ALL3MEDIA'; she has acquired an agent and one judge had already heard mention of Ilaria’s reputation in the industry as a promising new writer.

Susan Rogers set up the Skillset Accredited MAFFS at Royal Holloway after working in Hollywood for many years. She comments, “Ilaria’s screenplay demonstrated exceptional screenwriting skills and the entire panel agreed that her screenplay stood out. She has not wasted a moment since finishing the MAFFS programme and has excellent prospects of succeeding the industry.”


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