The David Lyle Foundation, the industry-wide not-for-profit organisation that helps young executives to build successful careers in the international television business, has announced the first ever winners of its annual scholarship program.
Gabriella Lafor, production secretary at Argonon-owned indie Like A Shot, and Chris Sanders, senior development executive at UK’s Zig Zag Productions, will embark on the year-long scholarship initiative in 2020.
Lafor said: “I’m all about revolution; be that in the nature and platforms of the content we produce, to challenging the incumbent systems and status quo with the aim of making things better for all of us.
“My focus is on learning how to include and expand the opportunities in emerging territories, particularly on the African continent, combined with exploring the opportunities digital production and distribution provide.”
Sanders said: “I got into TV as work experience, bugging Zig Zag until they let me do two weeks on reception. That’s been the most valuable, to start at the very bottom and learn all aspects of the business and as my boss was mentored by David Lyle himself, we’re all especially delighted that his legacy lives on in this way.”
The David Lyle Foundation, which was launched earlier this year in memory of the much-loved TV veteran, awards two annual scholarships, each valued at US$10,000, to promising young entertainment-industry executives. Lafor and Sanders will receive a one-year program of education and development designed to fast-track their understanding of the global television-content business.
They will then document their year-long journey with a series of posts on the Foundation website, allowing the community to follow their progress.
Cheryl Clarke, president of the David Lyle Foundation, said: “It’s almost trite to say that it was extremely tough to choose the final two, but the judging process proved very clearly there is a huge dollop of passion and compassion in the future talent in our industry.
“Both Chris and Gaby embody the spirit of what we are trying to achieve with this. They both have earned their first place at the TV table by sheer graft, they have great ideas for how to use their privilege for good and they are honest, fresh and approach their opportunities with great humility – I am genuinely delighted for them and really look forward to the year ahead, working to make sure this first year sets the right tone for the legacy worthy of David Lyle’s name.”
The programme’s founding partners, all of which will provide financial and operational support to the Foundation, include TBI, Broadcast, C21Media, Edinburgh TV Festival, EMC, FRAPA, Realscreen, NPACT, PACT, NATPE and Reed MIDEM.