Announcing Our 2023 Film & TV Funding Award Judges

We are thrilled to announce our judges for the 2023 Film & TV Funding Award. We welcome back Consultant Editor here at The Whickers, Jane Mote, plus Sheffield DocFest’s Raul Niño Zambrano and BBC Storyville’s Jo Lapping. New this year, we will be joined by Director of Funds at the International Documentary Association (IDA), Keisha Knight, Managing Director of Cinephil, Olivier Tournaud and Award-Winning Filmmaker, Sam Soko. Our panel are hand-picked for their wisdom on all aspects of the documentary maker’s journey: from funding and commissioning through to production, festival screenings and, all importantly, sales and distribution.

Find out more about our line-up below:

Keisha Knight is the Director of Funds at the International Documentary Association (IDA). In this capacity Keisha oversees a portfolio of IDA’s granting programs including IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund,  Logan Elevate Grants, Nonfiction Access Initiative and the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund among other granting programmes. Keisha is an arts administrator, distributor, programmer, and educator who is passionate about helping to create and sustain robust and equitable media ecosystems. She recently announced that our 2022 winning film, Our Hoolocks, had been awarded a grant from the Enterprise Documentary Fund.

Olivier Tournaud is the Managing Director of Cinephil, an international sales and advisory firm with a strong reputation for securing international distribution and financing for documentaries from around the world on behalf of producers and directors. After completing a Masters of Law at The University of Lyon, he joined Europa Cinemas’ headquarters in Paris. Olivier was then appointed as the Audiovisual Attaché at the French Embassy in Tel Aviv. There he initiated new projects such as the Israeli-French TV series “Forum”. He later joined Cinephil in 2016 as Head of Sales. Recent titles include “Red Herring” by Kit Vincent, “A House Made of Splinters” by Simon Lereng Wilmont, “Songs of Earth” by Margreth Olin, ” Total Trust” by Jialing Zhang, “Flee” by Jonas Poher Rasmussen.

Sam Soko is a documentary filmmaker based in Nairobi, Kenya. With his captivating approach to socio-political storytelling, he has developed content and collaborated with firebrand artists worldwide. His work including “Softie” and “Free Money” has been showcased in many festivals, including Sundance, Berlin, and the Toronto international film festival. Soko has won many awards and received Emmy, Peabody, and PGA nominations for his work. He is an outspoken defender of freedom of expression and has participated in global conversations on making media matter when the world is on fire. Soko is also co-founder of LBx Africa, a Kenyan production company that works with local and international filmmakers to bring uniquely African perspectives to global audiences. Sam went on to produce Akuol de Mabior’s 2020 Whicker winning film, No Simple Way Home.

Raul Niño Zambrano is the Acting Creative Director and Head of Film Programmes at Sheffield DocFest. He was previously a Senior Programmer at IDFA where he started as a programmer in 2008. During his tenure at IDFA, Raul conducted a ground-breaking study on the position of women within the documentary world (The Female Gaze, 2014) and initiated the IDFA Queer Day (2013, ongoing). In addition to being a lead programmer on the overall selection, he curated such programmes as Emerging Voices from Southeast Asia and Cinema do Brasil. He has participated in many international festivals as a juror (Hot Docs, DocPoint, Guanajuato International Film Festival) and as an expert/tutor (DocMontevideo, FESPACO, If/Then Shorts Global Pitch, DocNet Southeast Asia, Guadalajara Doculab).

Jo Lapping is Head of Factual Acquisitions, BBC. She has worked with Storyville, the BBC’s international documentary strand, developing, commissioning and producing documentary films since its launch in 1997. Jo acquires both documentary films and factual programming, working closely alongside the Commissioning Editor at Storyville to expand the range of feature documentaries available to audiences across BBC channels and BBC iPlayer.

Jane Mote is a journalist, storyteller, TV executive, and a champion for the power and accessibility of documentary. As Consultant Editor for documentary foundation The Whickers, she nurtures and supports new audio and film documentary-makers who share a curiosity for the world. She has helped develop filmmakers at Docs by the Sea (Bali), MyDocs (Malaysia), AND – Asian Network of Documentary (Busan) – as well as leading documentary training in Uganda and for the BFI London. The former UK MD of Al Gore’s documentary channel Current, and Executive Editor at BBC London, Jane has also worked for Discovery, Turner, BBC Worldwide, UKTV and the Africa channel. She is also Director of UK-based beechtobeach ltd


The 2023 Whickers Pitch will take place at Sheffield DocFest in June and our five finalists will be announced in mid-April.