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 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 premiered on the 25th May 2017 at the David Thomas Award Evening. Screening to a full house at The Brighton Studio, Parky follows the life of talented Brighton street artist Parky Doodles, as he develops and hones his creative skills. 


2017 - Tom Dwyer

The fourth winner of the David Thomas Award, Tom graduated from the University of Brighton in 2017 where he studied Film and Screen Studies.

Shooting later this year at Dreamland amusement park, Tom plans to produce a short documentary revolving around the theme of nostalgia, combining digital footage with content filmed on a Super 8 camera.


The application process for the 2017 award is now closed! 

There are no events scheduled at present. Check back early next year for news on the 2018 award.


The 2017 David Thomas Award Evening took place on the 25th May to a full house at The Brighton Studio. Celebrating Brighton's finest up-and-coming and established filmmaking talent, the screening featured short films from established professional filmmakers along with students from the University of Brighton, including Annie & Me, dir. Charlie Melrose, that won Best Film from the University of Brighton Arts & Humanities department.