Applications to the first edition of the Mother Tongues Award were open from 1st November to 1st December 2020. In that time, we received 112 applications in 47 languages, and were hugely impressed by the range and quality of projects submitted.
Having gone through the applications, our team shortlisted 10 outstanding projects, from which we are proud to announce 3 winners (in alphabetical order).
KNEECAP - (Irish) written and directed by Rich Peppiatt
A hip hop film about the controversial Irish-language band Kneecap, who are also attached to play themselves.
Logline: 80,000 people in Ireland speak Irish every day. 5,000 live in the North of Ireland.
3 of them became rappers. This is their story.
Rich Peppiatt is an RTS Scotland & BAFTA Scotland winning writer and director. Since his debut documentary feature, ONE ROGUE REPORTER, achieved a global release on Netflix, Rich has written and directed a number of internationally awarded short films and commercials through creative production agency Naughty Step.
KNEECAP will receive development funding for script revisions as well as a pre-production trailer to be supplied by Intermission Film. The Mother Tongues team will be working with producer Trevor Birney (Fine Point Films) to raise production finance. Northern Ireland Screen have also boarded the project.
Follow Rich on twitter @richpeppiatt
MOTHERS - (Somali) written by Mohamed Ahmed
A fast-paced, high-stakes, urgent drama set in the Somali community of Sheffield.
Logline: Amina is a pillar of her community and seemingly the perfect Somali wife. But when the glass ceiling, once placed over her, is put over her daughter’s ambition of attending Cambridge, Amina is forced to choose between the life she knows and her daughter’s future.
Mohamed Ahmed worked at the BBC before winning a script commission from Channel 4 for a screenplay about Hull’s punk scene. Now working as a screenwriter and producer, Mo is an exciting new voice whose work focuses on the unseen intersections of modern multicultural Britain.
MOTHERS will receive the £10,000 script prize, and the Mother Tongues producing team will be looking to attach a director to the project.
Follow Mohamed on instagram @hullsmohammed
VAPOURS - (Romanian) written and directed by Adina Istrate
A thriller set in the UK’s Romanian community.
Logline: In a forgotten seaside town, Ioana has transformed the motel she manages into an underground operation helping people leave their old identities behind and start over in an anonymous, off-the-grid world.
Adina Istrate accumulated industry experience writing for TV before moving into film. She has been backed by Film London, the Venice Biennale Cinema College, the IFP, the Wellcome Trust, Breaking Through The Lens and Berlinale Talents. She is also a member of female filmmakers’ collectives Time’s Up/Rising Women, Primetime and Cinesisters UK. Her debut documentary feature 512 HOURS premiered on Sky Arts.
VAPOURS will receive funding to develop a longer treatment based on Adina’s initial outline.
THE KING IS IN - (Punjabi) written by Ravi Mangat
Battling to save his marriage, Raj, a recovering alcoholic, believes he sees Elvis Presley. As the sightings increase, his fragile relationship is tested, but when the media world descends, he is thrust into the limelight.
Ravi Mangat is a writer who has had spec scripts and comedy/drama screenplays in various stages of development. He has theatre credits and has also dabbled in stand-up comedy. More recently he was a story-liner for a sitcom and a finalist of writing competitions for TV and Film.
THE LAMBETH WORM - (Cantonese) written by Bec Boey
Tan and Jess find a worm in their salad and wash it down the sink. As the creature takes up residence in the pipes, a hostility spreads amongst the tenants of their block of flats.
Bec is a genre writer who loves horror and folklore. Her comedy web series JADE DRAGON was featured in gal-dem. SLEEP TIGHT, her micro-film series is playing on horror platform Alter, and her stop-motion short STONES is in production. She is currently writing on sci-fi podcast TEMPORAL for Low Spark.
PRIMA - (Yoruba, Pidgin) written by Yolanda Mercy
What does it mean to be a principal performer for the UK's leading contemporary dance company? Follow Yinka as she fights for her dreams to stay on top.
Inspired by lived experience
London-based British Nigerian writer Yolanda Mercy's first play was ON THE EDGE OF ME presented at Soho Theatre where she is currently on attachment (as a Soho Six). Last year saw her television writing debut with BBW a comedy drama for Channel 4 as part of their BAFTA nominated anthology- ON THE EDGE. Yolanda's writing on BBW has resulted in her being shortlisted for the Debut Writer Award (Edinburgh TV festival - New Voices Awards)
QUEER AS FOLK DANCING - (Welsh) written by Bethan Marlow and Daf James
Inspired by true events, a gang of LGBTQ+ dance novices form a Welsh folk-dancing troupe. Their goal? To compete at the prestigious and seemingly straight National Eisteddfod. And losing is not an option.
Bethan works with and within communities across Wales on groundbreaking theatre projects that focus on giving a voice to unheard people in our society. She is currently working on first feature film, MADISON (ieie productions and BFI) and new original TV series THE TRAP (Severn Screen, Warner Media 150). Daf James' first play LLWYTH [Tribe] was described in Contemporary Welsh Plays as 'a water-shed play that changed the landscape of Welsh language theatre forever'. His current work includes LOST BOYS AND FAIRIES (Duck Soup Films/BBC); MARGARET & CLIVE (Fiction Factory/S4C) and ON THE RED HILL (Duck Soup/BBC FILMS).
Follow Bethan on twitter @bethanmarlow
Follow Daf on twitter @Dafydd_James
SABA AND THE SUN - (Persian) written and directed by Fateme Ahmadi
When her mother-in-law who suffers from dementia has a dream, British-Iranian Saba is left with no choice but to take her on an imaginary pilgrimage to a miraculous tree that grants wishes in Shiraz, Iran.
Fateme Ahmadi is a London Film School graduate, an alumna of Berlinale Talents, and Edinburg Talent Lab. Her BITTER SEA was a BIFA Nominee, and her latest short LEILA'S BLUES premiered at Directors’ Fortnight of Cannes Film Festival. She is a Film London Lodestars and a John Brabourne Award recipient.
SMALL PRINT - (Spanish) written and directed by Eric Romero
Near future. Sabina is a Mexican woman living in a fairytale-like British city until the day she discovers that her reality is a virtual fantasy created by the government to exploit immigrants.
Eric Romero moved from Barcelona to Edinburgh in 2010. In 2016 he graduated with a BA in Television winning a Napier’s University Medal and the Clement's Family Prize for TV production. He has been nominated for a BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award and has won three Royal Television Society Awards.
THENA AND SOFIA - (Greek with BSL) written by Kim Tserkezie and Benjamin Bee
A Greek mother and daughter are forced to confront each other’s life changing decisions amidst the bustle of the biggest event in the Hellenic calendar – Easter. A contemporary, comedic and intimate story of love, faith and forgiveness.
Kim Tserkezie is an award winning actor, writer, producer and MD of Scattered Pictures - providing scripted comedy, drama and documentary to broadcasters including BBC and BFI. Benjamin Bee is a multi-award-winning, twice BAFTA long-listed writer and director, who was selected as a Screen International Star of Tomorrow 19/20.