Congratulations to NFTS Directing Fiction graduate Cathy Brady, Screen International Star of Tomorrow and first-time feature director of Wildfire who has won the prestigious fifth annual 2020 IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI. As the winner, Cathy will receive a unique £50,000 bursary, the most significant of its kind in the UK film industry. It is the second year in a row the award has been won by a female NFTS graduate - last year’s winner was Rose Glass, fellow alumni of the Directing Fiction MA and debut director of the critically acclaimed horror Saint Maud which recently topped the UK box office.

Cathy Brady
NFTS Directing Fiction MA Graduate Cathy Brady

Commenting on her win, Cathy said: “I’m deeply honoured to receive the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary. In a year that has been so turbulent for so many, it feels like a safe harbour and for a first feature filmmaker, the chance to recalibrate, dream and immerse myself in the next project is such an incredible gift. Thank you IWC and BFI.”

The £50,000 bursary, which is awarded to an outstanding first or second time UK writer, director or writer/director presenting work at the BFI London Film Festival, was presented by Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen.

Cathy who hails from Northern Ireland, was selected as the winner by Grainger-Herr along with Ben Roberts, Chief Executive at the BFI, and acclaimed actor, director, screenwriter, producer and poet Michaela Coel. Wildfire, which enjoyed its world premiere at the LFF tells the story of two sisters whose familial bonds are pushed to breaking point in a drama set on the Irish border.

Wildfire is a compelling story, expertly told and unlike anything we had seen in UK filmmaking before,” said Michaela Coel. “Cathy weaves an emotionally rich, intimate story of two sisters elegantly framed against a wider, politically charged backdrop. She says so much without saying very much at all. Great films make you think and jolt you out of your comfort zone. In the very best way Wildfire was deliciously uncomfortable!”

Ben Roberts, Chief Executive, BFI said: “All 3 finalists presented astonishing first or second feature films, further evidence of the UK’s exceptional filmmaking talent. Supporting filmmakers through the earlier stages of their career is one of our top priorities and we’re incredibly proud of how our partnership with IWC has contributed to this for the past five years, and hopefully many more.”

Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, commented: “Since its launch the award has given emerging and aspiring filmmakers the opportunity to amplify their creativity, giving them a platform from which they can convey their talent and showcase it to the world. The legacy that has been created from this award is something we are extremely proud of, and I do not doubt that all three finalists will go on to great things.”

The other nominees this year were Aleem Khan, director of After Love, and Francis Lee, director of this year’s closing film, Ammonite.

For more info on the NFTS Directing Fiction MA go to