The Grierson Trust has appointed Sylvia Bednarz as its new managing director. She joins from Sheffield DocFest, where she is Partnerships and Operations director.

Bednarz will take up her position mid-September, ahead of the autumn’s 50th anniversary Grierson Awards. She takes over the reins from Jane Callaghan who is retiring later this year.

Lorraine Heggessey, chair of The Grierson Trust said: “Sylvia has the perfect combination of experience, contacts and knowledge of factual filmmaking to lead The Grierson Trust through the next phase of its development. She will build on the excellent work of the current team, as The Trust continues to champion the art of the documentary through the annual awards for excellence, as well as growing its reputation as a training organisation that nurtures new talent, opening the door for under-represented groups.”

Sylvia Bednarz said: “I’m thrilled to be joining The Grierson Trust as Managing Director. It is truly my dream job – to nurture the next generation of documentary storytellers and celebrate the most exciting and innovative work within our sector. ….I can’t wait to return to DocFest next year with a new cohort of Grierson DocLab trainees.”

“The Grierson Trust has enormous potential to create even greater impact in addressing the current skills gap in documentary and factual production.”

Bednarz has worked in several roles across the documentary sector including film and TV production, commissioning for online and TV, and film festivals. At Sheffield DocFest, she has been Partnerships and Operations director, overseeing operations, production, finance and HR departments. Her role involved securing new grants and sponsorship funding annually, from over 60 UK and international partners, including the BFI, Arts Council, BBC, Channel 4, ITV, UKTV, The Guardian, ESPN, Netflix, Amazon Studios, British Council, National Geographic, Canon and BAFTA, as well as several film institutes and embassies.

The Grierson Trust celebrates the best of documentary and factual filmmaking from Britain and around the world. Each year, the British Documentary Awards – more fondly known as the Griersons – shine a spotlight on the best documentaries of the year across an array of genres. The Trust also nurtures factual TV talent through its Grierson DocLab training and mentoring schemes, helping to sustain and diversify the documentary workforce in the UK.

The Trust was founded in 1972 to commemorate the pioneering Scottish documentary maker John Grierson, widely regarded as the father of documentary.

The 50th annual Grierson Awards will take place on Thursday, 10 November 2022 at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank, London.

Pippa Considine

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