We are very happy to announce this year’s winners of The Whickers Film & TV Funding Award. The winners were announced following a virtual pitch on Tuesday 8th June 2021 at Sheffield Doc/Fest. The prestigious top prize worth £80,000 was awarded to Ilyas Yourish and Shahrokh Bikaran with Kamay, and our runner-up £15,000 development fund went to Kit Vincent with Red Herring. Click on the images below for further details on these amazing projects.
After a young girl from the mountains of central Afghanistan mysteriously commits suicide inside Kabul University, her family’s calm rural life enters into a painful and exhausting process. Her parents are now looking for justice in one of the most corrupt judicial systems in the world; while Freshta, their younger daughter, attempts to gain admission to the same university to complete what her sister had started.
Three years ago, Ilyas Yourish and Shahrokh Bikaran, decided to tell the story of Kamay; their own story. Born and raised in Afghanistan and having traveled the country extensively, both of them felt uniquely positioned to observe their homeland through their lenses. Shahrokh has graduated in 2016 from The Tehran Film School, where he studied directing, score composition, and Audio Engineering. He has since been involved in the creation of more than ten documentaries. Ilyas has graduated in 2014 from the Faculty of Journalism at Kabul University. Since 2011, he has worked as a journalist, researcher, and filmmaker. Ilyas and Shahrokh have recently established their Afghanistan-based Film Production Company.
Mandy Chang, Commissioning Editor of BBC Storyville and a member of the judging panel, said about Kamay: “The judges were struck by an incredibly cinematic story that shows a different side of a country we haven’t seen before. It’s about the quest for justice and the role of women in a society trying to free itself from the past and find hope for the future.”
In the midst of shocking family revelations, a young filmmaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer. What follows is an intimate and darkly humorous journey of a family’s attempt to make sense of their upended past and disrupted future.
Kit Vincent is a director/producer with an interest in character driven stories, that use humour to explore nuanced, real life drama. Kit began his career working on flagship documentary series’ for Channel 4 and other UK broadcasters and attended the Sundance Talent Forum as part of the Documentary Film Programme in 2019. Red Herring is his debut feature.
Gary Kam, Oscar-Winning Producer and a member of our judging panel said: “The director is on his way with a camera. The destination he is taking us to is not an unavoidable place but a way of appreciating the excursion on earth. With courage, openness and sometimes humour, the director’s cinematic journey takes us to a secret destination; The meaning of life, family and love. With the support from The Whickers, the jury hopes that this project will become a trail to follow in an inevitable story that we have to become the protagonists.”