supporting young filmmakers In Brighton


The David Thomas Award is a prize for outstanding film graduates from The University of Brighton.

The award aims to help graduating students with a passion for filmmaking, transition from education to industry through a mix of bursaries, mentorships and training.  The main part of the prize is a cash bursary of £250 and a mentorship scheme with The Progress Film Company, allowing you to explore different roles within the industry and produce a short film of your own. 



2014 - Beth Sabey

Beth Sabey was the first recipient of The David Thomas Award.

While at Progress she produced a film Sunny which went on to screen at BFI Future Film Festival, UN*DEPENDANCE Film Festival, Bertha DocHouse screen for mental health awareness month, HOME’s Filmed Up and Cinecity Film Festival.

Beth is currently studying an MA in Visual Anthopology at The University of Manchester.  She continues to produce work which has roots in social activism, more of which you can view here.


2015 - Joe Eggleston

Joe Eggleston was the second winner of The David Thomas award. During his time at Progress, he produced a documentary on The Real Junk Food Project Brighton, a member of an international group of cafes, projects and pop-ups with the aim of reducing the amount of food waste produced by humanity.

Now a fully fledged member of Progress, Joe spends his days working as a Production Assistant, his evenings and weekends are filled practicing his filmmaking skills, and continuing to work on his own documentaries.

2016 - Maria Hanlon

Maria Hanlon was the third annual winner of the David Thomas Award, graduating from the University of Brighton, where she studied English Literature and Media, in the summer of 2016. Following in Joe's footsteps, Maria has also joined Progress as a fully fledged member, where she helps with the day to day runnings of a busy studio. 

Maria's film is currently in the final stages of production and due to Premiere at The David Thomas Award screening on 25th May 2017.   The film documents the Brighton Street Art scene, in particular the exploits of an artist called Parky Doodles who's work decorates many corners of the city.  



The application process for the 2017 award is now open! 


The David Thomas Award consists of a cash prize of £250 plus a mentorship scheme with The Progress Film Company where they will help you step into the industry, by producing your very own short film, to be pitched and directed by yourself.

The film can be a documentary, drama or music video, is limited to six minutes, and must be completed within six months of winning the award.  Progress will be there to advise you for every step of the way helping you creatively develop, plan, shoot and post-produce your film with access to their team, kit and resources. 

To apply for this, you must have successfully completed any film module within the school of Humanities (FALMER).

If you would like to be considered for the award, please write a pitching document (Treatment) outlining your idea as well as a brief introduction to yourself and why the award would benefit you:

Please include the following information:

  •   Your contact details and name of project.
  •   A one or two sentence logline, summarising your film.
  •   One paragraph giving details about key themes, characters (and access to characters if this is a documentary) and locations.
  •   Up to six visual references which elaborate your idea.
  •   One paragraph introduction to yourself and why the award would benefit you.
  •   Any links to previous film work or websites.
  •   Whatever else is necessary to communicate your idea as clearly as possible.

Please send your applications or any further questions or enquiries to davidthomasaward@progressfilm.co.uk or directly contact Ross Adamson or Monika Lind at The University of Brighton. 

*****APPLICATIONS MUST BE SENT BY 15th MAY to davidthomasaward@progressfilm.co.uk *****

If your application is shortlisted, you will be invited to discuss the idea in person with a panel from The University of Brighton and The Progress Film Company.  The winner will be announced at The David Thomas Award Screening Evening on May 25th 2017.

N.B. There is a second cash prize of £250 for a graduating student who has made the best University film of the year.  This will be judged by a panel of teachers from The University of Brighton and local filmmakers and can be won by the same person at the mentorship award.



MINI FILM SCHOOL // Thursday MAY 25th 2017 2-4pm // The Brighton Studio, New England House

The Progress Film Company are opening the doors to their studio, offering students from the University of Brighton a glimpse into a working production company. Running from 2pm, The Mini Film School will also offer a range of top tips and help to those wanting to begin a career in the film industry with specialist workshops on Kit, Directing, Producing and Animation.

Students are also invited to bring along their existing work, with the opportunity to receive one to one feedback from experienced filmmakers.  Please register for this event here.

AWARD FILM SCREENING EVENING// Thursday MAY 25th 2017 7-9:30pm // The Brighton Studio, New England House

The film screening will showcase a selection of curated work from Brighton’s finest up-and-coming and established filmmaking talent, including a film from Maria Hanlon, the winner of the 2016 David Thomas Award. The evening will culminate with the announcement of the winner of the 2017 award. The screening will be followed by drinks and an opportunity to meet the featured filmmakers.

Please register for this event here