The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is delighted to announce that Tessa Ross will receive the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House on Sunday 10 February.
The Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award is presented annually in honour of Michael Balcon. Previous recipients include Mike Leigh, Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jarman, Mary Selway, Ridley and Tony Scott, Working Title Films, Lewis Gilbert, and the Harry Potter series of films. Last year’s recipient was John Hurt.
John Willis, Chairman of BAFTA, said: “Tessa Ross has made an immense contribution to British cinema during her time at Channel 4. Tessa’s impeccable taste, and her passion for great writing and directing has shone through every film she has been involved with; she is an extremely worthy recipient of this important Award.”
Tessa Ross says: “It’s a surprise and a great honour to have been given this award by BAFTA. I owe it of course to the wonderful film makers I’ve had the privilege of working with – and to my team at Film4, with whom I share it. We’re very lucky to be so supported by Channel 4 and by David Abraham who continues to champion our work. There are incredibly talented people working within our industry, as well as outside it – and 30 years ago Film4 was built to find these people, nurture them and help contribute to our British film culture. It’s a privilege to try to keep this idea alive.”
Tessa is the controller of Film and Drama at Channel 4, heading up feature film division Film4, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in November last year. Tessa and Film4 have built a reputation for developing and financing some of the most innovative and acclaimed British films which between them have amassed a large number of prestigious awards.
Tessa is a champion of the British film industry. She nurtures filmmakers in their first feature films such as Stephen Daldry’s Billy Elliot, Chris Morris’ Four Lions, Steve McQueen’s Hunger, Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur, Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges, Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block, Sam Taylor-Wood’s Nowhere Boy and Richard Ayoade’s Submarine, amongst many others. She also has developed longstanding working relationships with established British filmmakers such as Danny Boyle, Shane Meadows, Mike Leigh, Michael Winterbottom, Roger Michell and Kevin Macdonald. Together they have worked on some of the most critically-acclaimed and award-winning films of the last decade including Slumdog Millionaire, The Last King of Scotland, This Is England and Happy-Go-Lucky.
Forthcoming releases see her working with Danny Boyle on Trance, Richard Ayoade on The Double, Michael Winterbottom on The Look of Love, Steve McQueen on Twelve Years a Slave, Kevin Macdonald on How I Live Now, Jonathan Glazer on Under the Skin, Lenny Abrahamson onFrank, Clio Barnard on The Selfish Giant, Shane Meadows on his Stone Roses documentary, and Anton Corbijn on A Most Wanted Man. Recent Film4 films Seven Psychopaths, The Imposterand The Curse are nominated this year in the Outstanding British Film, Outstanding Debut, Documentary and Short Film categories respectively.
Tessa has also cemented Channel 4 Drama’s reputation for risk and innovation. Pieces commissioned during her stewardship include Shameless, White Teeth, The Devil’s Whore, Sex Traffic, Omagh and Elizabeth I.
Tessa came to Channel 4 from the BBC’s Independent Commissioning Group where as Head of Drama her commissions included Paul Abbott’s Clocking Off, and Stephen Daldrey’s multi award-winning Billy Elliot. She was previously a governor at the BFI, a governor at the NFTS, a member of the ICA council and an external examiner for the MA in Screenwriting at the Northern Film School. She is currently a member of the National Theatre board and an honorary associate of the London Film School.
Tessa was appointed CBE in the New Year 2010 Honours List for her services to broadcasting.
The ceremony will be hosted by Stephen Fry and will be broadcast exclusively on BBC One and BBC One HD, preceded by a red carpet show on BBC Three hosted by Edith Bowman. The ceremony is also broadcast in all major territories around the world. On the night,www.bafta.org will feature red carpet highlights, photography and winners interviews, as well as dedicated coverage on its social networks including Facebook (/BAFTA), Twitter (@BAFTA /#EEBAFTAs), Tumblr and Pinterest.