The Producers' Forum
Training Lobbying and Networking for the Midlands' creative community

About

Training. Lobbying. Networking.

History

The Producers’ Forum is an independent organisation serving the creative production community including filmmakers, animators, scriptwriters and digital artists of the West Midlands and beyond for over 15 years. Fully independent, not-for-profit and run by a band of volunteer Board members, The Producers' Forum aims to support  creative producers of all types of artistic content from film and TV, to animation, games and new media.

Our membership includes producers, writers and directors as well as a good mix of DOPs, editors, art directors, and composers as well as lots of others! We began as just a handful of producers trying to help each other out back in 2003 and have grown to a much wider group with a strong regional and national influence that helps us develop our careers, connect with others, have a voice and grow our creative endeavours.

We aim to be at the forefront of film and media related issues. We provide training, networking, master classes and mentoring via peer to peer and leading figures in the industry. In an industry currently undergoing profound change, we provide a unified lobbying voice. TOGETHER we believe we can make a real difference to our own and other members' creative endeavours, and our industry.

 

Join for just £25/year

With over 100 members, The Producers' Forum is the largest member-supported creative support organisatin in the Midlands. Join today and become part of a network with 14 years experience and commitment to helping regional film makers succeed.

Find out more about membership▸

 
 

Our CEO

 
 
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Alison Grade

Alison Grade is the fourth generation of her family to work in film and TV. She has been a professional freelancer all her career. Writing in The Guardian Mark Lawson described her as being one of the most influential people in TV when, as a schoolgirl, she persuaded her father to repeat Neighbours at 5:35pm so she and her friends wouldn’t miss it.

Alison describes her key skill as transforming creative concepts into a business reality. She accomplishes this with the films she produces, the creative entrepreneurs she mentors, SMEs she advises and in her soon-to-be- published book.

Alison has formal academic training (INSEAD MBA) as well as being an entrepreneur who has established her own businesses. She has worked at senior level in many media companies - predominantly in international television and film production, rights management and strategy.

Currently Alison owns Mission Accomplished, a consultancy offering training, mentoring and strategic advice to start-ups and established SMEs in the Creative Industries. To date she has assisted over 200 SMEs via these programmes. As a Nesta accredited Creative Enterprise trainer and mentor Alison has delivered international programmes in association with the British Council.

During her career, Alison has produced over 7,000 minutes of film and television and has worked on documentaries, animation, drama, feature films, factual and entertainment productions on both high and low budgets. More recently she concentrated on the commercial exploitation of intellectual property rights in media content across a wide range of platforms through distribution and licensing.

Her non-media experience includes founding Girls Angels, a motorcycle training school that specialised in training women, which she took from idea to profitable business to trade sale in under two years and a highly successful business bringing hands-on media training into schools.

 

Specialism and Interests

  • Producer / Line Producer / Production Manager

  • IP Exploitation

  • Creative Enterprise Mentor and Trainer

  • Professional development for creative freelancers

Activities & Affiliations

  • CEO of The Producers' Forum

  • Owner, Mission Accomplished

  • Board Member, West Midlands Screen Bureau

  • Visiting Fellow – Birmingham City University, Faculty of Art Design and Media

 

Our Board

 
 
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Board Member

Carole Manship

In 2009 Carole Manship facilitated a two-day event organised by the Forum. The success of that led to the Board’s invitation to facilitate a strategic away day, which then led to an invitation to join the board.  She has chaired the board since autumn 2009. 

Carole, now retired but still chairing the Forum, has had a long and varied career from teaching in the Bronx, to office work for the Quakers in London, editing textbooks in Boston, Massachusetts to working in training and recruitment for Price Waterhouse in Birmingham, to working with business students at Aston University in need of work placements.  She was Associate Director of Aston’s Management Development Programme, whilst also working towards an MBA which she achieved in 1995.  For close to 20 years, she ran her own business consultancy supporting owner directors of small to medium-sized businesses with the development of their management skills.

Carole is known as an editor in Boston, firstly for 10 years’ of editing the Birmingham branch newsletter for the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and more recently as Editor of the popular GEM Magazine. For championing filmmakers through The Producers’ Forum, she was recognised by Jaguar Land Rover and Arts & Business when she was named one of their Culture Champions in 2012. 

 

 
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Board Member

Carl Timms

Carl Timms has twenty years' experience as an independent indie film-maker, having produced and directed a number of documentaries, including World War II story In Toni's Footsteps about the Occupation of the Channel Islands by German Forces, and the popular DVD paintball sports series Pressure DVD.  He's been involved in short films and music videos, winning the Audience Award for the 2Weeks 2Make It music video competition in 2006, subsequently running the 2Weeks 2Make It West Midlands competition in 2010 and 2017. 

In 2016 he completed his fiction directorial debut, the horror short, Still, which went on to play 26 festivals, picking up 8 awards as well as an Amazon Prime release through Hewes Pictures PLC in New York as part of the horror anthology, Blood Clots. The same year he established Dark Matter Films, a partnership with writer Mark Brendan, directing and producing the supernatural thriller Off Grid, starring James Cosmo, MBE (Braveheart, Game of Thrones) and Alison Steadman, OBE (Gavin and Stacey, Pride and Prejudice).

Carl also previously worked for for BBC-owned digital art commissioning fund The Space as Head of Production and is a Senior Digital Consultant with award-winning digital design agency, IE Digital. Carl joined the board in January 2016 and runs the website as well as being a part of the membership sub-committee.

 

Specialisms and Interests

  • Director/Producer

  • Commercial genre projects: sci-fi/fantasy/horror

  • Digital project management

Activities & Affiliations

  • Board member, The Producers' Forum

  • Owner, Dark Matter Films

  • Senior Digital Consultant, IE Digital


 
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Daniel Alexander is an award winning Filmmaker and Director from the UK, producing an array of content for a variety of television and online platforms. His latest works include Directing and Producing the official film for the Commonwealth games, bringing in a world-wide televised audience of over 1 billion people. Daniel was also selected to be on the BAFTA crew programme for 2018, and is also the producer for ‘Back In’, a film development program in collaboration with BBC Academy and BFI to tackle the issue of BAME representation in the industry. 

With over 10 years in the industry, Daniel has been commissioned to make films all over the world and has worked with an impressive caliber of clients including Commonwealth Games, Sony, BBC, BFI, Nike, Apple, Channel 4, BBC 2, MTV, BET, Virgin Media, Mike Tyson, Barclay Card, EA Sports, and many more. 

Daniel has worked professionally in most areas of the film production industry with a variety of films under his belt as Producer, Director, DOP, Editor/Colourist and Writer. Daniel developed his own popular colour grading look pack ‘CINEPRE’ which has been used heavily among independent filmmakers. Daniel is also deeply rooted within the community and frequently provides training and educational workshops/ resources for young people and adults. 

 
 

Specialisms and Interests

  • Director/Producer/Writer

  • Feature Film, Shorts, Music Video

  • DOP

  • Post Production / Colour Grading

Activities & Affiliations

  • Board member, The Producers' Forum

  • BAFTA Crew 2018

  • Back In Film Training Manager

  • Owner of Daniel Alexander Films

  • Creator of Cinepre


 
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Board Member

Lee Kemp

In 2003, while serving in Afghanistan, Lee was handed a video camera and asked to produce a short film explaining an ongoing operation that was later used in a Prime Ministerial briefing. When Lee left the Army, he became a filmmaker. He’s now a producer/director of commercials and documentary features and the Managing Director of successful production company Vermillion Films.

In the past few years Lee has produced and directed promos for global brands. He has directed promos all over the world including Oregon, Cape Town, Barcelona and San Francisco and has produced work for Polar, Team Sky, Chivas Regal, Jaguar Land Rover and Fruit of the Loom.

Lee has Executive Producer credits on feature docs Bicycle, War of Words and A Queer Country, about cycling, the British battle rap scene and the gay scene in Palestine, respectively.

He sits on the board of The Producers' Forum and Flatpack Film Festival.

His army career included operational tours of Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan and he’s a keen snowboarder, qualified BSAC and PADI SCUBA diver, RYA powerboat driver, squash player and unrepentant movie bore. He’s completed numerous endurance events, including marathons, Tough Mudder, Tough Guy and in 2014 made a really, really unsuccessful attempt at the 156-mile Marathon Des Sables across the Sahara desert.

 

Specialisms and Interests

•Director/Producer/Executive Producer
•Docs/features/shorts
•Commercials/content

Activities & Affiliations

•Board member, The Producers' Forum
•Trustee, Flat Pack Festival
•Owner, Vermillion Films


 
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Board Member

Sima Gonsai

Sima Gonsai is a digital artist and independent filmmaker with a passion for artistic storytelling. For the past twelve years, she has directed and produced drama, documentary and digital installations with both regional and international communities.

Originally starting out as an amateur dancer, Sima trained in ‘Bharata Natyam’, an Indian classical dance. She then went on to study a Masters in Visual Communication. Currently she is an established Screen Dance Director and has received international acclaim for her groundbreaking work with learning disabled dancers Freefall Dance Company in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Sima is launching a new company specialising in screen dance training and programming, which will open up collaborations between film, dance and music. She is also developing a new dance film exploring the physics behind Indian Folk Dance.

Sima joined The Producers’ Forum board in 2015 and is focusing on event co-ordination.

 

Specialisms and Interests

  • Disability on screen

  • Archives and heritages

  • Director and Programmer of Screen Dance

Activities & Affiliations

•Board member, The Producers' Forum
•Board member, Rosie Kay Dance Company
• Owner of Sima Gonsai


 
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Board Member

Mark Pressdee

Mark Pressdee is a Writer/Director/Producer with many years’ experience having worked initially in television across projects for the main terrestrial channels and many satellite channels. He has a passion for short film and has produced many for TV, online and festival campaigns. He has also worked as a PD internationally.

Mark has had considerable success with his last two comedy dramas: Titanic Love and The Final Scene. Both have been screened at prestigious film festivals around the world and have won awards; both films have been broadcast and a distribution deal has been offered for each. In the past two years, Mark has received five RTS (Royal Television Society) Midland nominations.

Mark works as an indi filmmaker, and he has diversified into touring live comedy in the UK and overseas. His company Macoy Media also specialises in educational projects. Mark works regularly as a creative producer and shooter/editor in the region. He is also in demand as a creative consultant and recently worked on the feature length documentary Bunch of Kuntz which has had an incredible run with a UK cinema release and screenings at festivals and cinemas around the world. The film recently won the Q Award for Best Documentary and was nominated for an NME Award as Best Documentary. The film was also screened on ARTE in Germany.

 

Specialism and Interests

  • Producer/Director

  • Shooter/Editor

  • Drama, comedy and documentary films

  • Educational Training & Consultancy

  • Scriptwriting and Story Editing

  • Creative Consultant

Activities & Affiliations

•Board member of The Producers' Forum
•Full Member of The Writers Guild Great Britain
•Owner of Macoy Media
• Consultant/ Visiting Tutor/ University of Birmingham/BCU/University of Liverpool/Birmingham Theatre School/Birmingham Library
•Compere & Jury Member for Ringerike International Youth Film Festival hosted in Norway since 2016.


 
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Non-Executive Board Member

Drew Roper

Drew Roper is a multi-award winning animation director/producer and the founder of Yamination Studios – an animation company specialising in stop-frame animation, based in Birmingham, UK.

Taking its name from yam yam, a term referring to Black Country folk and their crazily cryptic vernacular, the studios are the embodiment of founder Drew Roper. A proud yam yam. 

Since its creation (2009) Drew and his team have been up to their ears in developing shorts, pilots/promos and TV commercials for clients including Roald Dahl, Coca-Cola and Walt Disney to name but a few. In fact, when it comes to bringing little things to life, Yamination does it with buckets of passion, character and – most of the time – plasticine. 

Drew’s earlier industry experiences range from Hollywood blockbusters such as Fantastic Mr. Fox  (2009) directed by Wes Anderson and Walt Disney’s Frankenweenie (2012) directed by Tim Burton to children’s TV series such as the renowned Shaun the Sheep, Aardman Animations Ltd (2012).

Specialisms and Interests

  • Stop-motion animation

  • Traditional animation

  • Director

  • Producer

Activities & Affiliations

•Advisor, The Producers' Forum
•Owner, Yamination Studios
•Animation Steering Group Advisor: Wolverhampton,Worcester and Teeside Universities.