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Filmmaker Nyoni awarded Wellcome fellowship

AWARDED: Rungano Nyoni

TONIGHT (NOV 21) at the annual celebration for the Wellcome Screenwriting Fellowship, in partnership with BFI and Film4, BAFTA award-winning Rungano Nyoni was announced as the 2018 Fellow.

Now in its sixth year, the Fellowship gives a screenwriter of exceptional talent £30,000 to explore the intersection between screenwriting, health and science. 

Nominated by leading film and TV industry executives, this unique collaboration takes place without the constraints of a specific project.

This allows the Fellow to gain inspiration and knowledge from Wellcome’s vast range of science and humanities resources, which includes access to research, meetings with leaders in the fields of science and medical history, visiting clinical centres and access to the Wellcome Collection.     

Rungano Nyoni said: “I have to say how utterly honoured I am to be this year’s Fellowship recipient. It's not often that someone shows so much faith in you and your work that they support you with no strings attached. It has come at a time where I am trying to figure out what kind of filmmaker I want to be as I embark on my second feature.

“It’s beautiful and refreshing that Wellcome is allowing me to just explore. That's rare. Right now I am fascinated by the idea of studying indigenous cultures in Africa, and other parts of the world, and the impact modernisation and colonisation has had on their mental health and communities. Besides that I will use the time to scour through Wellcome's extensive archives and collection of graphic novels.”

The Welsh-Zambian writer and director’s debut feature I Am Not a Witch was lauded at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, and Nyoni went on to win the BAFTA award for Outstanding Debut for a British Writer, Director or Producer.

Simon Chaplin, Wellcome’s Director of Culture and Society, commented: “We’re delighted that Rungano Nyoni will be the next Wellcome Screenwriting Fellow. With her distinct filmmaking style and keen interest in the way different cultures approach health, we’re sure that she’ll take the Fellowship in a new and exciting direction.

“Supporting and stimulating ideas has always been central to Wellcome’s approach; the Fellowship gives screenwriters a chance to make connections and explore new ideas with Wellcome’s research. It is a joy to see how each Fellow has approached the award in entirely different yet equally creative ways, and we look forward to Rungano’s contribution.”


The Screenwriting Fellowship is chaired by Kate Leys with Lizzie Francke (Senior Development and Production Executive, BFI), Lauren Dark (Commissioning Executive, Film4), Imran Khan (Head of Public Engagement, Wellcome), Iain Dodgeon (Creative and Partnerships Manager, Wellcome) and Emma Duffy (Drama and Film Executive, Wellcome).

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