Charlie Parsons has had a huge, positive impact on the international media sector over the last 15 years and changed the face of television with his creative hits, The Word, The Big Breakfast and the Emmy winning Survivor. His company Planet 24 (co-founded with Lord Waheed Alli and Bob Geldof) was an engine for change in British media and his television shows were a platform for many household names to make their reputations including Chris Evans, Gaby Roslin, Lisa Tarbuck, Johnny Vaughan, and Denise Van Outen. The Big Breakfast and The Word were the most influential TV programmes of the 1990s. Charlie has been dubbed the founding father of reality television for creating the Emmy winning hit Survivor in 1992. The programme which first aired in America in 2000 has been the inspiration of hundreds of similar formats. Charlie recently established Charlie Parsons Creative, a business with a mission to find and back the very best creative ideas and entrepreneurial management teams in media and entertainment by support and investment.
Franc Roddam started out as an advertising copywriter. Educated at London Film School, he launched a successful career making documentaries such as The Family for the BBC and created the popular, long-running Auf Wiedersehn, Pet television series. In 1979, he made his feature-film debut with his adaptation of the rock opera Quadrophenia, described by the New Musical Express as 'the greatest British youth film ever made'. From there he went to Hollywood and made The Lords of Discipline (1993), a film based on a story by Pat Conroy looking at racism in a South Carolina military academy, as well as The Bride (1985), a reworking of The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). In addition to making feature films, Roddam continues his television work, devising Making Out and Masterchef, Canterbury Tales and directing the mini series Moby Dick and Cleopatra. Franc has his own publishing imprint, Ziji Publishing Ltd; books published include the worldwide bestseller, The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury.
Anthony Smith CBE
Anthony Smith was President of Magdalen College, Oxford from 1988 until 2005. Between 1979 and 1988 he was Director of the British Film Institute and was involved in the conception and establishment of the Museum of the Moving Image on London's South Bank. During the 1960s he was a Producer in BBC TV Current Affairs and has been the author of a number of books dealing with the media and the information industries generally. Among his various past activities he worked for the Annan Committee on the Future of Broadcasting and became deeply involved in the national debate which led to the foundation of Channel Four of which he was for four years a Board Member (1981-5). He has served as a Member of the Arts Council of Great Britain and currently as Trustee of the Prince of Wales's School of Traditional Arts, as a Board Member of the British Institute of Florence, of the Choir of the Sixteen and the new Medical Research Foundation. He chairs the Hill Foundation and the Oxford-Russia Fund, both of which are involved in the support of higher education in the Russian Federation.
Iain Smith OBE
Iain Smith OBE is a graduate of London Film School and an established international film producer and recipient of BAFTA Scotland’s 2005 Outstanding Achievement in Film and of the Lord Provost of Glasgow’s award in the category of Visual Arts. Iain is Chair and Managing Director of Applecross Productions Ltd, and Chief Executive of Zaltman Films Ltd. Iain’s many production credits include Chariots of Fire, Local Hero, The Killing Fields, The Mission, The Fifth Element, Entrapment and Children of Men, to name but a few. He was appointed to the board of Scottish Screen in February 2003 and is a former board member of the UK Film Council, Chair of the Skillset Film Skills Strategy Committee, Deputy Chair of the British Film Commission Advisory Group, and a Director of the Children's Film and Television Foundation.
Jeremy Thomas is the noted independent producer who was born in London into a filmmaking family. He produced his first film Mad Dog Morgan in 1974 in Australia, then returned to England to produce Jerzy Skolimowski's The Shout, which won the Grand Prix de Jury at the Cannes Film Festival. His extensive output of over forty films includes Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing, Eureka and Insignificance, Julien Temple's The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, Nagisa Oshima's Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, The Hit directed by Stephen Frears and Bernardo Bertolucci's epic, The Last Emperor, which garnered an outstanding nine Oscars including 'Best Picture'. Recent credits include Takeshi Kitano’s Brother, Wim Wenders’ Don’t Come Knocking and Richard Linklater’s Fast Food Nation. Jeremy was Chairman of the British Film Institute from 1992 -1997. He has been President of the jury at Tokyo, San Sebastian, Berlin Film Festival and Cannes (Un Certain Regard) and has also served on the main jury at Cannes. He was made a Life Fellow of the British Film Institute in 2000.
Alan Yentob was the BBC’s Creative Director and host of BBC1's successful and acclaimed Arts strand, Imagine. From 1973 to 1975 he was a producer/director with Omnibus, where his films famously included Cracked Actor with David Bowie. In 1978 he created the mould-breaking arts series Arena, and was Editor until 1985. In 1985 he became Head of Music and Arts and stayed in the post until 1988 when he was appointed Controller of BBC2 and introduced many innovations in programming including The Late Show, Have I Got News For You, Absolutely Fabulous and Wallace and Gromit's The Wrong Trousers. Alan was appointed Controller of BBC1 in 1993, significantly improving its content and share. He became Director of Programmes in Production in 1997, then Director of Television between 1998 and April 2000 when he became Director of Drama, Entertainment and CBBC. Alan also sits on the Boards of The South Bank and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and Chairmanship of the Institute of Contemporary Art and the charity Kids Company.
Tony Elliott left university before sitting for his degree to take to the streets of London in 1968 with Time Out, a magazine listing the many alternative events going on at the time. Whilst he had been studying French and History at Keele University, he had also been running their student magazine so had acquired useful experience in page design, handling artwork, printing and selling advertising. Tony Elliott founded Time Out with an initial investment of £70. Thirty-nine years later the group has a turnover of more than £40m per annum. The London, New York and Chicago weekly listings guides are complemented by an extensive book and internet operation. Tony has been Chair of the British Film Institute production board and supports a range of cultural and human rights organisations.
Roger Graef OBE is a writer, filmmaker, broadcaster, criminologist and Chief Executive of Films of Record, now in its 29th year. His most recent work is as Executive Producer of Web Lives, a minidoc series shown daily on itv.com. In 2004 he was awarded the prestigious Fellowship to the British Academy of Film and Television for his outstanding contribution and achievements and in 2003 won another BAFTA as the Producer of the Flaherty Best Documentary Feltham Sings! Among more than a hundred films, he is best known for gaining access to hitherto closed institutions ranging from ministries and boardrooms to police, courts, prisons, probation and social work. These influential films include the BBC Police series, which helped change the way the police deal with rape victims. In Search of Law and Order took a unique look at some groundbreaking ways of changing juvenile rehabilitation. Closing Ranks, his ITV feature film on domestic violence in the police, was used in training for many years afterwards. He also produced The Secret Policeman's Ball and two other Amnesty Benefits, and the first Comic Relief with Richard Curtis, among eight films with John Cleese. As a consultant and communications expert, he has served on numerous boards and government committees. He was a founding board member of Channel Four and a governor of the British Film Institute. Roger has served on the board of the ICA where he created and chaired the ICA Architectural Forum.
Christopher Hird was for over 20 years joint managing director of FulcrumTV and is now managing director of Dartmouth Films. Fulcrum makes a wide range of factual television and independent documentaries and films, championing new and emerging directors and devising creative ways of funding and distributing films. Among Hird’s recent credits as executive producer are the feature length documentary Black Gold and the feature film Surveillance, starring Simon Callow. Hird was chair of the Sheffield International Documentary Festival from 2000-2004, is currently chair of the British Documentary Film Foundation and is a trustee of Index on Censorship and the Wincott Foundation.
Hanif Kureishi is the author of My Beautiful Laundrette, which received an Oscar nomination for best screenplay. His publications include the novels The Buddha of Suburbia (winner of the Whitbread Award for Best First Novel), The Black Album, Intimacy, and Gabriel's Gift, two collections of short stories, Love in a Blue Time and Midnight All Day, and Dreaming and Scheming, a collection of essays. A film of his most recent script, Venus, directed by Roger Michel, was released in 2007. He lives in West London.
Tilda Swinton started her acting career with Derek Jarman including The Last of England, The Garden, Wittgenstein and winning the Coppa Volpe at the Venice Film Festival for her performance in his Edward II. She came to wider international recognition with her extraordinary portrayal in Sally Potter’s Orlando. Tilda’s prolific and wide ranging roles have included The Deep End with David Siegel and Scott McGeehee, for which she won numerous international awards, including a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actress, Spike Jonze's Adaptation and Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers. She then shot the title role of the White Witch in Disney and Walden Media's Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, currently the 21st most successful film release of all time. Tilda played the eponymous lead in Julia for maverick French director Erick Zonca and has since added to her eclectic mix in films such as I Am Love, We Need to Talk About Kevin and Moonrise Kingdom.