The UK’s most prestigious TV industry talent training programme, The Edinburgh International Television Festival Talent Schemes, has just held its inaugural Debbies Awards.

“We have long been committed to finding and nurturing the very best talent from across the country and a range of backgrounds. The launch of our Debbies Awards is another way of encouraging new talent to the industry, as it allows us to celebrate the brightest young talent coming into the industry. It’s always very exciting to help people launch their careers in television and we’re delighted to announce our very first winners alongside the launch of this year’s Talent Schemes.” – Campbell Glennie, Director, Talent Schemes, Edinburgh International TV Festival

The charitable organisation, whose mission is to identify and nurture the next generation of talent from all backgrounds, has launched the awards to celebrate and recognise new and emerging talent in the industry.

Hosted by actor and director Femi Oyeniran, himself an alumnus of the Talent Schemes and Creative Director at production company Purple Geko, the ceremony in East London saw the TV industry turn out in force to celebrate up and coming talent.

A judging panel made up of some of the highest profile names in the industry, including Diederick Santer, Hannah Griffiths and Furquan Akhtar selected winners in five categories. The Debut Writer Award, for TV writers who have had their first broadcast credit in 2017, went to Sebastian Thiel for his project Just A Couple  for BBC Three, whilst the Debut Director Award, recognising TV directors who have also had their first broadcast credit in 2017, was picked up by Maia Krall Fry for Silent Roars as seen on BBC Four.

The All3Media New Voices Award, which aims to find new talent in TV writing and looks for original scripts with the potential for development, was awarded to Shivani Thussu for Paper,  a comedy-drama about a girl who believes there is something ominous about her seemingly boring office job and starts to investigate. The Best TV Company for New Talent Award was won by Channel 4, with a special commendation to production company Stellify Media.

The Test Card Award, which launched for the first time last year, and gives videographers, filmmakers, and amateur producers an opportunity to submit a fully realised pilot TV show, was awarded to Great Expectations by Pip Swallow –  a loose retelling of the famous Dickens story, set in modern times, and told with bleak comic freshness and a female protagonist. Swallow will be given introductions to production companies and receive tailored post-production support from The Farm Group.

All winners will receive a pass to the renowned Edinburgh International TV Festival, taking place in August, to learn about the global TV industry,  and the opportunity to enjoy bespoke career advice and introductions to some of the biggest names in the industry. The evening also saw the launch of this year’s Talent Schemes, with submissions now open for entry as of Tuesday 27th February.

The Edinburgh International Television Talent Schemes are highly regarded by the TV industry’s finest. They consist of two schemes – The Network and Ones to Watch. Running concurrently every year, the schemes help talent from a diverse range of backgrounds across the UK kick-start their careers in the TV industry The Network was set up in 1991 to give talent with little or no experience their vital first step on the TV ladder. Designed for those who want to work behind the camera, places are highly coveted with 60 hopefuls accepted onto the scheme every year. Successful applicants benefit from a four-day course that takes place alongside the world-famous TV Festival in August. This is followed by 12 months of mentoring and paid work placements with some of the TV industry’s most prestigious companies.

Ones to Watch (OTW), founded in 1994, is aimed at those who already have three or more years’ experience in TV and are looking to make the next big step in their career. With only 30 places available on this course, only the most impressive entrants are selected. Candidates are drawn from all areas of the TV industry – from assistant producers to directors, writers to marketers, schedulers, business and legal. Graduates of OTW will gain access to a series of exclusive workshops and masterclasses, led in previous years by prominent industry executives and creatives including Jay Hunt, Charlotte Moore, Vince Gilligan and Vinay Patel. OTW participants will also be showcased to over 2000 delegates at the TV Festival and will receive 12 months of training and development from the best in the business.

Applications can be submitted via the website and are open until 27th April at 11pm. All applicants must be over 18. Shortlisted applicants will be notified in May.

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