Producer Ama Ampadu joins BFI Film Fund team

Jan 20, 2023

The BFI has announced Ama Ampadu as the new senior production & development executive for the BFI Film Fund. Having worked as an independent producer across UK and international projects for over 12 years, Ampadu will be a key member of the Fund’s editorial team. Working on both development and production funds, she will assess applications, recommend funding decisions and provide hands-on creative, production and holistic support for filmmakers and film projects.

Reporting to Natascha Wharton, the Fund’s Head of Editorial, Ampadu will work alongside Louise Ortega who joined the team last year as a senior production & development executive, as well as editor-at-large Lizzie Francke. She replaces Kristin Irving, who joined BBC Film last year. With Ortega, Ampadu’s portfolio will have a focus on debuts, as well as working closely with BFI Network to ensure there is an effective crossover for new and emerging talent. Alongside the rest of the team, Ampadu will look after the Fund’s sizeable slate with projects at various stages of production, supporting filmmakers at each stage of the filmmaking process and beyond, as well as developing outreach strategies to engage filmmakers with the BFI.

“We are really energised that Ama is joining us and bringing a producer’s perspective to the team and one that is very international,” said Mia Bays, director of the BFI Film Fund. “We welcome her pragmatic approach and highly developed skills and relationships with filmmakers, and have no doubt that she will enrich the team, the organisation and the projects she supports.”

“After over 12 years as an independent producer, I’m thrilled to join the BFI as the senior production and development executive,” commented Ampadu. “I’m deeply honoured to have been selected and I’m excited by the possibilities that lie ahead working within the framework of the new BFI 10-year strategy. Engaged with the contemporary creative scene and immersed in an array of scripts and story ideas, I’m a dedicated supporter of under-acknowledged artists, diverse stories and voices. I plan to listen and be of utmost service in discovering and nourishing the best of UK talent in all its diversity and beyond, championing ground-breaking projects that resonate with audiences.”

As an independent producer, Ampadu produced Lamb, the first feature of Ethiopian writer-director Yared Zeleke, which screened as part of the 2015 Official Festival de Cannes selection in Un Certain Regard, making it the first Ethiopian film selected for the Cannes line-up, two films from Ayo Akingbade: The Fist and Faluyi, currently on show at Chisenhale Gallery and Lions, a shorted by Beru Tessema, supported by BFI NETWORK, and in competition at this month’s Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival.

The BFI Film Fund is currently closed for applications ahead of the new BFI National lottery Filmmaking Fund launching in March, as part of the roll out of the BFI’s new National Lottery funding strategy (published in Sept 2022).

The current BFI Film Fund slate includes box office success and four time BAFTA-nominated Aftersun, written and directed by Charlotte Wells and starring Paul Mescal, which won seven BIFAs; and hotly anticipated and BAFTA-nominated Blue Jean written and directed by Georgia Oakley, starring Rosy McEwen and winner of four BIFAs which is released on 10 Feb; as well as three fiction features set to world premiere at Sundance: Girl, the debut feature  of writer-director Adura Onashile and starring Déborah Lukumuena, Rye Lane, the feature debut from director Raine Allen-Miller and starring Vivian Oparah and David Jonsson, and Scrapper, the debut of writer-director Charlotte Regan and starring Harris Dickinson (last seen in BAFTA-nominated Triangle of Sadness, also supported by the BFI Film Fund). Other upcoming films on the slate are animation Kensuke’s Kingdom directed Neil Boyle and Kirk Hendry; Carol Morley’s latest Typist Artist Pirate King, Timestalker written, directed and starring Alice Lowe; The End We Start From, directed by Mahalia Belo and starring Jodie Comer; Layla, written and directed by Amrou Al-Kadhi; How To Have Sex written and directed by Molly Manning Walker and starring Mia McKenna-Bruce; Low Rider, written and directed by Campbell X; and Chuck Chuck Baby, written and directed by Janis Pugh and starring Louise Brealey and Annabel Scholey.

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