Filmmaker Loran Dunn awarded 2023 Simon Relph Bursary

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Filmmaker Loran Dunn has been revealed as the 2023 winner of the Simon Relph memorial bursary.  

The bursary of £15,000 supports the career development of new independent producers by enabling them to build their slate of projects, grow their key industry networks, and access mentoring from sector leading figures, which have previously included Tim Bevan (Working Title), Rebecca O’Brien (Sixteen Films), Tessa Ross (House Productions), and Stephen Wooley and Elizabeth Karlsen (Number 9 Films) 

The Simon Relph Memorial Bursary was first launched in 2018 in recognition of the commitment to new talent demonstrated throughout the distinguished career of Simon Relph (1940-2016). As former Chairman of BAFTA, Simon’s enthusiastic support of new filmmakers and new voices opened doors for those at the outset of their careers, providing an essential infrastructure to support their growth. The Bursary launched in Simon’s name aims to address a gap in support available for producers living outside of London.  

The incredibly talented filmmaker has previously featured on Creative England’s CE50 in 2016, which highlights the up-and-coming creative talent and voices to watch in the UK and was a producer on the first five short FLIX films. 

Winner and producer Loran Dunn said:

“I am hugely honoured to receive this bursary, and to learn more about Simon Relph, a man who was a true advocate and champion for new talent, and was spoken about so highly by his peers, driven by a sense of justice and a love of filmmaking, a real inspiration. I hope that I am able to carry some of his ethos and energy into my work.

“Creative England took a chance on me in 2014 funding my first short film (The Pig Child), and it feels poignant to have Creative UK supporting me again, at this pivotal point in my career.

“Cinema at its best is a tool for change, a vehicle to bring unheard stories to screen, a passport to another world, a different culture, a new perspective – and for me the films that really have the power to achieve this, to educate, empower and challenge, are films made by truly independent filmmakers. Receiving the Simon Relph bursary gives me the ability to stay independent, to make creative and bold decisions, and take risks – key ingredients to making work that has something to say.

“I am really looking forward to continuing to support talent that have incredible stories to tell, stories that transcend mere words. The filmmakers I work with are almost all from non-traditional filmmaking backgrounds, are not from independent wealth, do not buy into the elitism that exists within the industry, they are, like me, driven by the love and power of stories, by collaboration, creativity and the desire to make films that not only resonate with audiences, but are an unforgettable ride.”

This is the third time the bursary has been awarded, with Anna Griffin winning in 2018 and Lindsey Dryden receiving the bursary in 2019.  

The interview panel for this year’s recipient took place at Working Title’s offices in London, with a panel consisting of producers Stephen Woolley and Rebecca O’Brien, Simon Relph’s daughter Bella Relph, and Creative UK’s CEO Caroline Norbury OBE and Head of Film & TV Paul Ashton. 

The funding for the bursary comes largely from the BBFC with a proportion donated from Working Title as well as Christina Jennings and Patrick Cassavetti.  

Paul Ashton, Head of Film & TV, Creative UK, said:

“The panel was bowled over not only by Loran’s commitment and passion for her work, her slate and the talent she supports, but also by what this award would mean for her at this stage in her career. We already know first-hand what Loran can deliver as a creative producer – and we’re very excited to support her on the next stage of the journey.” 

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