DYSPLA_Storymakers Residency 2021

DYSPLA received an Arts Council grant to fund the development of two Neurodivergent storymakers for the second year running.

The DYSPLA_Storymakers Residency 2021 offered two England-based artists a place on the fully-funded programme.

In 2020, before the COVID-19 Lockdown hit the globe, DYSPLA ran a creative campaign calling Neurodivergent Storymakers to submit script ideas for the DYSPLA_Storymakers Residency 2021. DYSPLA’s script-writing residencies are designed to support Neurodivergent Creatives based in England to finish script manuscripts and treatments to industry standards. The 2021 Residency took place at DYSPLA’s former studio in Tottenham, North London, as well as digitally.

The 2021 Residency was tailored to each resident and took place in London until September 2021. Along with Surgery Scripts sessions, dramaturgy, a rehearsed reading and mentoring, DYSPLA provided travel subsidy for anyone outside of London, desk space and rehearsal rooms. The original deadline was extended due to the global pandemic in 2020, which resulted in 220 submissions, up by an extra 60 applications compared to the previous year.

DYSPLA is extremely grateful to everyone who applied and was impressed by the calibre of ideas. Out of 220 applications, 8 finalists were invited to interview. Congratulations to:

Aislinn Evans, Rosie Baldwin, Janet Barnett, Cassie Atkinson, Thomas Morgan Evans, Nacheal Catnott, Mike Forshaw, Ella Jade Peck Mesma, Matthew Gabrielli, Isabella Sperotto, and Michael Toluwalope Okanlawon.

All artists gave an impassioned Zoom pitch to the judging panel who consisted of: Shanna Martens (Development Executive of Vertigo Films at the time), Colin Hambrook (Editor of Disability Arts Online), Professor Derval Tubridy (Professor of English Literature and Visual Culture, Goldsmiths University of London), Earl’s Court Film Festival (Producers of Earl’s Court Film Festival), Akua Gyamfi (Founder of The British Blacklist), and Dr. Julia Pascal (2019 DYSPLA_Storymakers Residency Winner).

DYSPLA_SR 2021 Winners

After a long period of deliberation, the panel selected Artist Aislinn Evans and Filmmaker Rosie Baldwin to participate in the 2021 DYSPLA_Storymakers Residency. The programme formally began in Dec 2020 and ran until 22 September 2021.

Aislinn Evans

‘The Cuckoos Song’ (Short Film)

Aislinn Evans is an artist, writer, and educator based between East London & Essex. Their work extends across film, writing, comics, and games. Their practice explores place, peripheralism, and class war from Bow Bells to Southend on Sea. Within this, Aislinn digs up folklore, myths, and popular narratives to bring underlying tensions to the surface. They have worked with the Barbican, Create London and the Live Art Development Agency. They are currently earning a degree in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins and will be publishing their first book of poetry with Flipped Eye this autumn. They have also delivered several arts education programs in collaboration with London Youth and New Town Culture, focusing on poetry and games.

“This is my first time working in a screenwriting residency, and the dedicated time and in-depth feedback from the DYSPLA team have been invaluable.”
Aislinn Evans

Rosie Baldwin

‘Where the Sun Shines’ (TV Documentary)

Rosie Baldwin is a London-based Director and a BAFTA-nominated shooting PD and was one of Sheffield Doc/Fest and ITF’s ‘Rising Directors’, and a member of BAFTA crew X BFI NETWORK professional development scheme. They have worked on short documentary films for the BBC and Vice, and have written and directed award-winning short films screened in cinemas nationwide as well as BAFTA and BIFA-qualifying festivals, including Sheffield Doc Fest, Aesthetica Film Festival, LIDF, TriForce film festival, and Edinburgh Fringe. They have a background in self-shooting, directing, producing, and editing.

“The DYSPLA Residency gave me the time to experiment with different ways to tell a story, time to think about different forms of storytelling and how I could incorporate that into my project.”
Rosie Baldwin

DYSPLA has supported the 2021 winners to develop their work and their confidence with weekly and monthly meetings, mentor sessions, zoom workshops, and an industry presentation. Due to Covid restrictions, writers were unable to work with actors physically as was the norm in previous years, but this did not deter our writers who were able to continue developing their work to a high standard.

Aislinn Evans was selected to present a Table Read of their exceptional Short entitled ‘The Cuckoos Song’, at DYSPLA’s venue partner, Hat Trick Productions.

The private script reading took place in London on 22 September 2021 to an invited industry audience, as well as being available to view online. The presentation was filmed and streamed live so that guests from around the country and the globe could show their support for Disabled and Neurodivergent filmmakers.

To view this recording please click HERE.

DYSPLA_SR 2021 Partners

Earl’s Court Film Festival
Earl’s Court Film Festival committed to support DYSPLA with a production grant of 1500 Pounds. Due to Covid restrictions however, DYSPLA was unable to use this funding and Earls Court Film Festival has kindly pledged 2021’s funds to support the following year’s Residency. DYSPLA is extremely grateful for the ongoing support and is using the 3000 pounds as seed funding for the DYSPLA_Storymakers Residency 2022.
Read about this ongoing project HERE.
Hat Trick Productions
Hat Trick Production, one of the UK’s most successful independent production companies specialising in both Scripted and Non-Scripted content, committed to reading our writers’ work, which was an exceptional professional development opportunity for the 2021 DYSPLA Residents. DYSPLA is primarily an Art Studio, not a formal production company so this collaboration between art and business is both a welcomed and a happy one.

“Hat Trick is delighted to be one of the supporters of the work of DYSPLA. As a company, we are on a journey to ensure inclusivity and the celebration of diversity is central to how we do things. Neurodiverse thinking can bring so much to the creative process and as a Producer we recognize our role in building an environment where it can thrive.”
Hat Trick Company Statement

“Having the support of Hat Trick, proves that times are changing and that there is a demand for alternative writers and thinkers in the British Film and Television industries.”
DYSPLA Founder, Lennie Varvarides

Lockdown has changed the way we all work and there were creative consequences in losing the traditional rehearsal room setting. These challenging times had a devastating effect on the arts and our screen industries as a whole. However, new lessons have also been learned and collectively we have all embraced digital collaboration and creation.

Read about our current 2022 Storymakers Residency HERE.

To find out more, please contact us.

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