Award-winning Producer Lisa Marie Russo to Head New £1m BFI Doc Society Fund for UK documentary


Award-winning Producer Lisa Marie Russo to Head New £1m BFI Doc Society Fund for UK documentary

Partnership with the BFI and £1m National Lottery funding per year will support UK documentary filmmakers till 2022

Doc Society (formerly BRITDOC) has appointed award-winning producer, Lisa Marie Russo, as Film Fund Executive of the BFI Doc Society Fund. The BFI announced Doc Society as the delivery partner for documentary in December 2017, awarding them £1 million of National Lottery funding per year to support and develop UK documentary filmmakers.

Russo is an experienced film producer, whose feature documentary credits include Terence Davies’ Of Time and the City (2008), Gillian Wearing’s Self Made (2011), Andrew Kotting's Swandown (2012) and Ken Loach’s The Spirit of ’45 (2013). She was also a producer on the artist film Abandoned Goods (2014), which won the Golden Leopard at Locarno. Originally from the US, she moved to the UK in 1994 and produced shorts, television and feature films. In 2009 Russo launched the production company Fly Film, with Kate Ogborn. Since 2015, her company has executive produced 72 short films by young people aged 16-24 for Screen South Ignition Random Acts Network, supported by Arts Council England and Channel 4.

Reporting to Sandra Whipham, Director of Doc Society, and the senior management team, Russo is committed to backing creative documentary filmmaking across the whole of the UK, as well as working with BFI NETWORK to mentor emerging talent.

Doc Society is currently bringing together a team of three people to help carry out this vision and is delighted to announce the first appointment in Lynn Nwokorie. Formerly Film Fund Officer at Doc Society, Nwokorie will work alongside Russo to be the first point of contact for filmmakers.

Lisa Marie Russo, Film Fund Executive, BFI Doc Society Fund, says: “I’m psyched to help grow the next generation of UK filmmakers and support the existing community of world-class documentarians. This is a call to arms for filmmakers across the country – audiences need to hear from you. I’m excited to get going as now more than ever we need our creative voices and their diverse, inventive visions.”

Recipients of the BFI Doc Society Fund will also benefit from the experience of Doc Society’s wider team of non-fiction specialists whose credits range from co-producers on Academy Award-winner CITIZENFOUR to Virunga, Whose Streets, Dirty Wars and Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. With more than 25 people based in London and New York and a track record of 13 years funding and executive producing feature documentary, Doc Society also devises and delivers field building documentary initiatives such as Good Pitch, Doc Academy and Safe+Secure.

Doc Society Director, Sandra Whipham, who previously ran the True Stories international documentary strand at Channel 4, says: “We are thrilled to have Lisa Marie join the team at Doc Society. Her background working with artists and filmmakers as an independent producer and deep commitment to nurturing the next generation of filmmaking talent makes her the ideal candidate to run the BFI-backed programme. As well as the fund and support programme, together, we will be thinking deeply about how
this programme can build a more robust, representative and sustainable documentary sector in the UK.”

The BFI Doc Society Fund will:
• be open for both shorts and features, awarding up to £650,000 annually
• offer three funding rounds a year, the first opening for features
• run a regional touring programme of screenings and workshops three times a year
• collaborate with BFI NETWORK to mentor new filmmaking talent
• provide a new dedicated Edit Lab for Fund grantees and UK editors

Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund, said: “Lisa Marie’s calibre as a producer across a breadth of approaches to documentary, as well as her track record in discovering and nurturing talent, makes her the ideal appointment by Doc Society to spearhead our shared aspirations for the fund – to encourage and support dynamic, new non-fiction work in the UK."