The Grierson Trust has appointed four new Trustees.

These appointments to an expanded Board reflect the Trust’s increasing role as a provider of training programmes and other initiatives to identify and support diverse new talent in documentary and factual television making, as well as the growing popularity of the Grierson Awards.

The new Trustees are Louisa Compton, Head of News and Current Affairs and Specialist Factual and Sport, Channel 4; Harjeet Chhokar, Unscripted Development Executive, Amazon Studios; and Sreya Biswas, Head of Natural History, BBC Commissioning. Amali de Silva, Controller, Legal & Compliance, Channel 4. This follows the recent appointment of Tanya Motie, Co-Lead of the TV Access Project and former Channel Executive for BBC One and Three, who took up her role as a Trustee in January 2023

Lorraine Heggessey, Chair of the Board of Trustees said: “The work of The Grierson Trust has grown considerably over the past few years. The experience, skills and fresh perspectives of our new Trustees will be invaluable as we continue to broaden and build our work with producers, broadcasters and streamers to widen the creative talent pool bringing new voices from a wide range of backgrounds into documentary making. They also arrive just in time to provide a valuable role in the judging process for the record number of Grierson Awards entries we’ve had this year! I’m delighted to welcome Louisa, Harjeet and Sreya, Tanya and Amali, as Trustees and look forward to working with them.”

Louisa Compton is Head of News and Current Affairs and Specialist Factual and Sport, Channel 4 and is responsible for content ranging from Channel 4 News and Dispatches to Celebrity SAS and the Paralympics. She said: “I am so honoured to be joining the Grierson Trust board which does such meaningful and important work in both celebrating the legacy of documentary filmmaking and in bringing new and diverse talent to the industry via DocLab.”

Harjeet Chhokar is Unscripted Development Executive, Amazon Studios, working across a broad slate of programming, from access driven docs like All or Nothing: Arsenal, premium factual boxsets like The Greatest Show Never Made and to talent led series like Clarkson’s Farm and 99. He said: “Documentaries feel more vital now than ever before, so it is a huge honour and privilege to be joining The Grierson Trust’s board, working alongside some of the most respected individuals from the genre and industry. It’s so important that we all empower and develop the next generation of documentary filmmakers and I cannot wait to work with them through the prestigious Grierson DocLab scheme. My ambition is for my experience, passion and love of documentaries – and the TV industry as a whole – to have a positive and enhancing impact on The Grierson Trust.”

Tanya Motie has more than 35 years’ experience in broadcasting. She is an Executive Producer, Script Consultant and Co-Lead of the TV Access Project, an alliance of broadcasters and streamers addressing the issues that exclude Disabled people from the industry. She said: “I am so excited about joining The Grierson Trust Board and working with such inspirational creative leaders. I am passionate about documentary storytelling and its importance in our lives. I am particularly looking forward to working with new documentary makers on the Grierson DocLab programmes with different backgrounds, experiences and stories to tell.”

Sreya Biswas is Head of Natural History, BBC Commissioning, overseeing series including Planet Earth III, The Watches, Big Little Journeys, Wild Scandinavia and Our Changing Planet alongside feature documentaries such as Lion: The Rise and Fall of the Marsh Pride and popular science series. She said: “It’s a real honour to be joining the Grierson Trust’s board. I can’t wait to work alongside such a wealth of creative talent and to inspire and nurture the incredible future stars in the industry through the Grierson DocLab training programme. I hope my experiences and Specialist Factual knowledge will strengthen and bring a fresh perspective to making a difference in the industry at a difficult time.”

Amali de Silva is Controller, Legal & Compliance, Channel 4, leading an expert team of lawyers and compliance professionals in supporting commissioning editors and independent producers, across all genres. She said: “Trusted factual and documentary films that shine a light on important and often challenging subjects are needed more than ever. Producing these is no easy task so it will be a privilege to work with the Grierson Trust to recognise the enormous work, skill and dedication which goes into making amazing factual and documentary films, and to develop diverse new talent to sustain and enrich our industry.”

The new Trustees join: Lorraine Heggessey (Chair), Ben Anthony, Guy Davies, Nelesh Dhand, Poppy Dixon, Danny Horan, Marjorie Kaplan, Kristina Obradovic, Fatima Salaria, Rob Stapledon, Donna Taberer, Maxine Watson and Andy Worboys.

The Grierson Trust celebrates the best of documentary and factual filmmaking from Britain and around the world. Each year, the British Documentary Awards – known as the Griersons – shine a spotlight on the best documentaries of the year across an array of genres. The Trust also identifies and 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 51st annual Grierson Awards will take place on Thursday 9 November 2023 at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.

Pippa Considine

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