This years speakers include indie bosses, commissioners and investors who will offer you the full picture on the current independent production scene in the UK. Senior executives from a range of true indies, super indies and start-ups will share how they made the crucial transition from programme making to running a successful company, while commissioners will give insight into building and delivering creative ideas.
Nick Curwin began his career as a print journalist before working at London Weekend Television for nine years and then at indie Mentorn, where he was Head of Programmes for one of its divisions, Folio. He launched Firefly, later renamed Dragonfly, with Magnus Temple in 2004, sold it to Shine in 2007, left in 2009, launched The Garden in 2010 and sold it to ITV Studios in 2013. He remains Chief Executive of The Garden.
His Executive Producer credits include 24 Hours in A&E (BAFTA-nominated and winner of the Royal Television Society award for Best Documentary Series), the BAFTA-winning first series of One Born Every Minute, the BAFTA-nominated first series of The Family, Seven Dwarves and the BAFTA-nominated The Audience. He also produced The Autopsy and Anatomy For Beginners, winner of three RTS awards including Best Science Programme.
The Garden is a television production company that was launched by Nick Curwin and Magnus Temple in June 2010. Our purpose is two-fold: to make cutting edge, ambitious, distinctive factual programmes for major broadcasters in the UK and internationally; and to be the most ideal production company we can be, where programme-makers can do their very best work and that always delivers exceptional television.
Following an early career as a school teacher and parliamentary researcher, Neil worked for seventeen years at the BBC for the Documentary and Current Affairs departments as an award winning P/D; Series Producer and Executive Producer having made Hotel (Adelphi); Fighting The War; The Oklahoma Bomber and The Boys That Killed Stephen Lawrence. At Mentorn Media from May 2007 to May 2013, he was a London based Executive Producer and also ran Mentorn Wales – credits included Fish Town; Greggs More Than Meats The Pie, Panorama and For Neda. In June 2013, he became Managing Director of Films of Record winning the BAFTA and Grierson Awards for The Murder Detectives, a Broadcast Digital Award for More 4’s Charlie Hebdo: 3 Days That Shook Paris, an RTS North Award for Kids Hospital, My Life in Their Hands as well as causing trouble with the recent undercover Dispatches investigation on Momentum. In January 2017 he left Films of Record to join the London and Cardiff based AVANTI MEDIA as its new factual Creative Director. Apart from chairing and serving on television juries his passion for TV combines with his love of Harley Davidson motorcycles and the West Coast of Ireland.
Endemol Shine UK
Richard Johnston is Chief Executive Officer of Endemol Shine UK, the UK’s largest independent production company.
The UK group is comprised of a diverse range of production companies and labels which together produces over 2000 hours of content a year across a range of platforms. Output includes shows such as Big Brother, Black Mirror, Broadchurch, Fortitude, Humans, Hunted, Masterchef, Mr Bean, One Born Every Minute, Peaky Blinders, Pointless, The Island, The Fall, 8 Out of 10 Cats and many more including industry leading work in the digital and branded content space.
Richard was appointed CEO in January 2015 having overseen the merger of the Endemol and Shine companies in the UK. He began his television career in 1996 when he joined Bazal Productions, the independent production company established by Sir Peter Bazalgette, as Financial Controller. Bazal later became part of Endemol where Richard went on to hold a number of senior positions including Joint Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
Richard is a Trustee of LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) and a Board member for Creative Skillset and is committed to improving education, training and access to the creative industries. He is also an elected member of the Pact Council representing the interests of its members across the UK independent production landscape.
As Chief Executive of the Twofour Group Melanie oversees nine companies producing a wide range of comedy, drama and unscripted television. Prior to being appointed as CEO in July 2014, Melanie was MD of Twofour Broadcast, during which time the company was named Indie of the Year at the 2010 and 2014 Broadcast Awards.
Recent hits from the group include the Emmy Award-winning Educating… brand (C4), Rose D’Or Winner, The Real Marigold Hotel (BBC1) The Jump (C4); Unforgotten (ITV1); Motherland (BBC2); Posh Pawn (C4), Animals In Love (BBC1) and the world’s fastest selling new format, This Time Next Year (ITV1).
Melanie began her career in production and continues to executive produce some of Twofour’s most popular shows, including This Time Next Year, The Jump and Channel 5’s longest running series, The Hotel Inspector.
Camilla Lewis is joint CEO of Curve Media, a TV production company based in London.
Specialising in high quality long-running unscripted shows, Curve Media was formed in 2014 by key creatives Rob Carey and Camilla Lewis, following a management buyout of Cineflix Productions.
Camilla Lewis joined Cineflix at the end of 2011 with the task of growing UK Production. In that time she created and pitched returnable series at BBC One, Claimed And Shamed, Help My House Is A Zoo, Channel 4 World’s Maddest Job Interview, Channel 5 Trauma Doctors and Sky One All Aboard East Coast Trains.
In their first 2 years Curve have grown their slate to include the following high-profile returnable shows;
Curve Media’s projects include:
• Claimed and Shamed (BBC One)
• Life and Debt (BBC One)
• The Great Food Trip (BBC2)
• Call The Cleaners (ITV1)
• Richard Wilson on the Road (ITV1)
• Critical Hour (Channel 4)
• Weddings: Happily Ever After? (Channel 4)
• Trauma Doctors (Channel 5)
• Undercover: Nailing The Fraudsters (Channel 5)
• Salvage Hunters (Discovery Networks International)
• My Extraordinary Pregnancy (TLC)
Previous to Cineflix, Camilla was the Head of Factual Features at talkbackTHAMES (FremantleMedia) where she created Great British Railway Journeys and Four Rooms and oversaw the producer’s other factual brands including some of the UK’s biggest rating formats such as Grand Designs and Property Ladder.
Camilla began her career producing factual and current affairs strands including Watchdog. In 2001, Camilla became Deputy Editor of Tomorrow’s World before being appointed Head of Factual at CBBC the following year, where she commissioned and executive produced all factual programming, including RTS and BAFTA winners.
In 2003, she became an Executive Producer in the BBC’s specialist factual department, responsible for high profile, critically acclaimed output including, Trauma and Should I Worry About…?
CEO and Executive Producer
Cat Lewis is an Executive Producer who runs her own Manchester based independent production company called Nine Lives Media. The company makes documentaries, fact-ent formats, drama documentaries, children’s programmes and current affairs for all the major UK broadcasters and for American channels. Cat has won two BAFTAs, two national Royal Television Society awards, an International Emmy and many other awards. Nine Lives is the largest factual producer in the North West and is one of just two companies with an output deal for Channel 4’s flagship current affairs strand, Dispatches.
Cat is on the UK Advisory Panel of the Creative Industries Foundation; Chair of the Northern TV Skills Panel and former Vice Chair of Pact (the Producers Alliance for Cinema & TV). She is a BAFTA judge; the founder and chair of the North’s Indie Club; sits on the RTS Committee in the North West and is on the panel for Women in Film & TV in the North.
John McVay is the Chief Executive of Pact. He has been involved in programme making as a producer, consultant and trainer since 1986.
John is currently Chairman of the Creative Diversity Network, a member of the Creative Industries Council (CIC), chaired the CIC’s Diversity working group for the 2016 Strategy and has also been appointed Chairman for the CIC committee on the EU. John is the Chairman of the UK’s digital single market campaign and is the UK rights spokesperson for the Creative Coalition Campaign. John attends and contributes to many UK government and international policy fora on the creative industries, broadcasting, trade and investment.
John has been active on many industry bodies and organisations and has served as a board member of Skillset, Chairman of the Skillset TV Investment Committee, a Governor of the NFTS, and President of CEPI, the pan‑European TV producers’ association.
Tanya Shaw is Managing Director at Shine Television. Before joining Shine, she was a Commissioning Editor for Features for BBC1 and BBC2 where she oversaw programmes including Mary Berry Cooks, Rick Stein’s India, Ben and James versus The Arabian Desert, The Incredible Spice Men and The Great Interior Design Challenge. Prior to the BBC, Tanya worked at Channel 4, where she held the position of Commissioning Editor, Specialist Factual from 2008 – 2012 and was responsible for, amongst others, Alone in the Wild, Hippo: Nature’s Wild Feast, Four Rooms, The Food Hospital, Tsunami: Caught on Camera and Bear Grylls Wild Weekends. In her earlier career as a Producer, Tanya’s credits include a broad range of factual programmes from Dispatches to Ian Hislop’s History of the NHS to Lad’s Army and Pop Idol to The Apprentice for which she won a Bafta and Rose D’Or.
Knickerbockerglory is the first production company to share its profits with its staff and freelancers, and in 2016 produced more documentary hours than any other company. Jonathan is the creator of the RTS award-winning Pineapple Dance Studios, and since launching Knickerbockerglory has Exec Produced four series of Gps: Behind Closed Doors, Gypsy Kids: Our Secret World, Celebrities in Therapy, Me and My…, The Great Divide (all for C5), Lookalikes for C4, Stage School, Polterguest and How To… for E4, Boom Town for BBC3, Superstars and Superfans, Jodie Marsh On… for TLC, Twin Towns and Escape from Britain’s Secret Sect for Sky1. Jonathan was banned from watching TV until age 12. After this he was only allowed to watch the Nine O’Clock News and Dynasty, so his principal male role models are Michael Buerk and Blake Carrington.
Prior to launching Electric Ray, Karl was a Commissioning Editor at the BBC. His work drew critical acclaim, won awards and broke ratings records in Entertainment, Comedy, Factual, and Multi-platform. Some of his credits include: Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Russell Howard’s Good News, Junior Doctors, Back Chat with Jack Whitehall, Live at the Apollo, Eddie Izzard’s Marathon Man, The Undercover Princes, and John Bishop’s Britain.
Before joining the BBC, Karl held senior roles at a number of other independent production companies, including Endemol where he worked on Big Brother and was responsible for making George Galloway pretend to be a cat.
CEO, Two Cities
Alex Graham has been a leading figure in UK media for almost 30 years.
He is joint CEO, alongside his partner Michael Jackson, of independent production company Two Cities Television.
He is chair of The Scott Trust, the sole shareholder in the Guardian Media Group which owns The Guardian and The Observer newspapers. He is also chair of the Sheffield International Documentary Festival.
Alex has won numerous awards including the Royal Television Society’s coveted Gold Medal; the Grierson Trust’s Trustees Award and a BAFTA Scotland award for excellence in broadcasting. In 2009 he received an honorary doctorate from City University. He is a visiting professor of television at Lincoln University’s Media School.
In 1987, he helped found independent production company Wall to Wall and built it into one of the most successful and respected television producers in the world. Factual programmes from Wall to Wall include Long Lost Family, Who Do You Think You Are? and The 1900 House and the Oscar‑winning Man on Wire. Dramas include New Tricks, the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated The Girl and the BAFTA and RTS winning A Rather English Marriage.
The Story Lab
Mike joined Dentsu Aegis Network in 2000 and worked with major clients in the UK such as Coca-Cola, Disney, Paramount, BMW, 20th Century Fox and AB InBev.
In 2012 he moved to Los Angeles to become the Global Media and Content Strategy lead for 20th Century Fox. Working at the studio, Mike was part of a team that successfully helped Fox achieve record-breaking international box office success. During his tenure Mike led some major content campaigns including Die Hard 4, the X-Men franchise, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Ice Age 3, The Maze Runner, and the award-winning Life of Pi.
Mike has a keen understanding of how to combine great stories with technology and media relationships to deliver meaningful opportunities for clients.
Mike launched The Story Lab UK in June 2014 and his strong commercial expertise combined with a keen mind for creativity has seen him instil a high performance creative culture into the UK team. To date The Story Lab UK has enjoyed huge success with 40% growth in less than two years with £85m in client billings and 45 awards to date.