Trio of BAFTA winners join Birmingham Film Festival grand jury

A trio of high calibre BAFTA winners will be joining the grand jury for this year’s prestigious Birmingham Film Festival – and there’s still time for the region’s filmmaking talented to submit their entries.

Senior producer, writer and director, Anthony Waldron, executive producer, Loretta Preece, and Birmingham born animator Joanna Quinn, will join the panel of industry experts who have the difficult task of selecting winners in more than 30 award categories.

Anthony Waldron has created hundreds of hours’ worth of shows for networks and streamers in both the UK and the USA, including BBC, Channel 4, CBBC, Watch, Discovery, Sky, National Geographic and more.

Loretta Preece has more than 20 years of experience as a series producer, writer and development executive on shows including Casualty, Sister Boniface, Doctors, Belonging and The Coroner.

As well as winning a BAFTA for her work on Casualty, she has also won Royal Television Society, International Rose d’Or and Broadcast awards.

And Birmingham born animator, Joanna Quinn, winner of the Best Animation for her film Affairs of the Art at last year’s festival, is returning to join the grand jury for this year. Affairs of the Art also picked up an Oscar and BAFTA nomination. Joanna is a BAFTA and Emmy winner for her work as a director on The Canterbury Tales.

They join Kia Pegg, star of The Dumping Ground, Tracey Beaker Returns, Doctors and host of CBBC’s Saturday Mash Up, who also returns as juror after winning a Birmingham Film Festival award for Best Young Actress back in 2017.

More grand jury members will be revealed in the coming weeks, including well-known names from both in-front of and behind the camera.

President of Birmingham Film Festival, Kevin McDonagh, said: “It’s a real thrill for us to have talent of such a high calibre selecting the winners for us, and it adds a great deal to the prestige of winning an award. It means the filmmakers and actors going home with trophies can feel really proud for being recognised by such respected industry professionals. Although anyone who makes a film should feel proud as it’s such a challenging task.”

More than 1,000 entries expected

Birmingham Film Festival is the UK’s largest independent film festival and brings thousands of filmmakers and cinema buffs to the region in a 10-day celebration of moviemaking.

Now in its eighth year, the 2023 event will take place from November 17-26 at Millennium Point. Festival-goers will be treated to free showings of around 200 shortlisted films, on the biggest screen outside London. This will be alongside seminars, workshops and Q&A sessions by some of the top people in the business.

Last year’s event received over 1,000 entries from up and coming and professional directors from across the world, with even more expected this year.

The best will be put forward to compete for more than 30 awards in the glittering Film Festival gala dinner, with jurors choosing the winners of gongs including best film, best feature, best short, best documentary, best international film and local film. There are also awards for actors, filmmakers and students.

The final submission deadline is 31st August, giving directors a few more weeks to complete their shorts, features, documentaries, animations, screenplays, online content, music videos, fan films and more.

Anyone who takes part will be in good company.

Winner of the 2022 Audience Award, ‘Bus Girl’ by Jessica Henwick, was nominated for a BAFTA this year, missing out to ‘An Irish Goodbye’ which went on to win an Oscar.

Another previous entrant, documentary ’73 Cows’ directed by Alex Lockwood, won a BAFTA for best short film in 2019.

Birmingham Film Festival CEO, Dean Williams, said: “The continued high number of entries and their ongoing success shows just how much talent is out there and what amazing films are being made every day. We’re very proud to have helped share these films with the world and played a small role in their ultimate success. We are lucky every year that filmmakers send their work to us. It’s an honour to have them at our festival.”

Nurturing the region’s filmmaking talent

Birmingham Film Festival was set up by writer/director Kevin McDonagh and producer, performer and actor, Dean Williams, in 2016 to nurture and grow the region’s filmmaking talent.

It’s supported by patrons Steven Knight, creator of Peaky Blinders, and Trevor Beattie, British film producer, advertising executive and proud Brummie. Trevor’s portfolio includes Moon starring Sam Rockwell, Six Minutes to Midnight with Judy Dench and the Bafta-nominated documentary Nureyev: Lifting the Curtain.

Other partners and supporters include the British Film Institute, The Producer Forum, Film Birmingham, Birmingham City University, BBC Writers Room, Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and the Pauline Quirke Academy.

This year’s full conference line-up will be announced over the summer.

For more information about the festival or to submit an award, visit Details about sponsorship opportunities can be viewed here. Or for more information, please email