Judges

MEET THE DAFTAS 2023 JUDGES

Tom Lawes DAFTAS Judge © Phil LewisTAS Judge

Tom Lawes

Tom is an English film director, music composer, and entrepreneur.

In 2011 Lawes directed and produced the feature length documentary The Last Projectionist, a film charting the history of independent cinema in the UK. The film was named BBC Radio 5Live’s Film of The Week by Mark Kermode. The film won awards, including ‘Best Documentary’ at the Cambridge Film Festival. In 2010 the British Film Institute selected The Last Projectionist to be included in its permanent archive collection.

Lawes has also directed a series of short documentaries Southside Stories which in 2012 won two Royal Television Society (Midlands) Award for Best Promotional Programme and Best Craft.

Most recently, Tom has written and directed feature film Amaryllis that has won 12 awards internationally and has picked up a UK theatrical distribution deal.

Thomas Lawes is known for renovating the oldest working cinema in the UK Electric Cinema, Birmingham.

Karen Bryson MBE DAFTAS Judge

Karen Bryson MBE

North West London born Karen Bryson is one of the UK’s leading British actors. Her ubiquitous career continues across various multi media platforms. Karen made the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2017. She was awarded an MBE for her services to Drama.

She can be seen in Harlan Coben’s thriller Safe, available worldwide on Netflix. Karen last graced our TV screens  in police drama series Cuffs for BBC1 as regular character Custody Sergeant Melanie Pyke. She is probably best known for playing Avril Powell in Channel 4’s critically acclaimed drama series Shameless.

The role saw Karen nominated for several awards including ‘Best comedy Performance’ and ‘Best Actress’ at the 2013 MVISA awards. She won ‘Best Actress in TV’ at the Screen Nation Awards 2013 and Best Actress at the BBE Awards 2017.

Karen’s career started in theatre as she was performing all over the country, including RST, The Other Place, The Barbican with the RSC, The Globe, Stratford East to name but a few.

Having transitioned to the screen, Karen Bryson can be seen in such films as Father Mother Son (2019), Safe (2018) among many others, and TV Series including Shameless and Bodies.

Most recently Karen has completed work on Black Narcissus (2020) and Zack Snyder Justice League (2021).

Damon Smith DAFTAS Judge

Damon Smith

Since 1996, Damon Smith has been film critic of PA Media (formerly the Press Association), the national news agency of the UK and Ireland. His reviews are syndicated to more than 200 newspapers and magazines with an audited weekly circulation of 3-4 million copies, making him the most widely read critic in the UK and Ireland.

For 15 years, Damon was film critic of Attitude magazine and he has written for The Guardian, The i, Hello!, Metro and The Scotsman. He is a regular contributor and film critic on BBC radio stations. His favourite film of all time is E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, which makes him cry every time he watches it. Like a leaky faucet.

Steve Furst

British comedian, actor and writer. He appeared in the Orange mobile phone cinema adverts in the UK, playing the role of Eliot, a spoof studio executive, and has appeared regularly in the BBC comedy television programme Little Britain as well as cabaret character Lenny Beige.

Nancy Bishop

NANCY BISHOP, CSA is an award -winning casting director, who works internationally fromoffices in London and Prague. She is a founding member and former President of the Casting Society of America’s (CSA)  European branch.With over 100 major feature film and television projects among her credits, Nancy has cast hundreds of actors throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and the U.S. Nancy has been retained as casting director by dozens of major screen producers and directors, including Sacha Baron Cohen on Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm, for which she won an CSA Artios Award for best casting of a comedy. Other credits include working with Brad Bird, (Mission Impossible IV), Bong Joon Ho(Snowpiercer), and Matthew Weiner (The Romanoffs). She also was nominated for an Emmy Award for her casting work on Anne Frank: The Whole Story, ABC/Disney Studios. 

 

Special Categories

Best Poster Design - Erica Bergsmeds

Erica is an award winning Film Director, Fashion Photographer and Creative. A Women in Film supporter and advocate for women equality across all creative fields. Since 2004 solidly working as a fashion photographer in London.

Clients include Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Hunger, Elle, Harpers Bazaar, Escada, Aspinal, Carat London and Virgin.

Erica is the founder, photographer and creative director of digital and one annual print publication Blowout Magazine.

Solo Photo Exhibition “Motion in Emotion”was the start of several exhibitions and art commissions, both private and commercial.

in 2020/2021 her film directorial debut Fallen Dream, a female empowerment story, screened at film festivals around the world. It won several “Best Film” awards And can be seen On Demand Apple TV and Amazon FireTV From May1st 2021. Starring Laura Whitmore, Kimberly Wyatt, Fancy Alexandersson & Linus Wahlgren.

2021 brings an up cycling project to raise awareness around sustainable and recycled clothing plus a new film project and cover shoots for Blowout magazine and other brands and clients.
Erica Collaborates with brands as a photographer and creative director.

Best Costume - Gillian McKeith

Gillian McKeith is a Global television star with hit television shows worldwide which include: ‘Gillian McKeith’s Feel Fab Forever’,  ‘You Are What You Eat’, ‘Eat Yourself Sexy’, ‘Three Fat Brides-One Thin Dress’, ‘Supersize-SuperSkinny’, and ‘Gillian Moves In’ to name a few.  Gillian has also taken part in ‘Celebrity X Factor, Battle of The Stars’’,  ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ and  appeared in ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ to detox the Housemates.

Gillian is an Internationally renowned Nutritionist and number one best-selling author with nine books translated into numerous languages.   Gillian is also known as a phenomenal motivational public speaker giving seminars and workshops on nutrition and health all over the world.

Gillian has also become known in fashion circles as quite the ‘fashionista’ for her quirky and esoteric outfits on the red carpet. And often makes an appearance for fashion designers on the catwalks at London Fashion Week.

Gillian is thrilled to be a judge for the DAFTAS.

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