We were overwhelmed by the fantastic response to Tessa Ross’s Bafta acceptance speech from supporters on Twitter, and so have decided to make the speech available in full to read online, below.
Danny Boyle, introducing Tessa Ross…
“Barcelona are arguably the greatest football team ever. But when asked who was the greatest footballer ever, their midfield generals Xavi, Iniester and Messi picked Paul Scholes of Manchester United. Stick with me! There was surprise, because Scholes is a modest man who shuns the limelight even when his car is nicked from his driveway. I’m very proud to be here tonight to thrust another shy genius into the spotlight on behalf of the British film industry. Her incredible effort, determination and belief are why our industry continues to thrive. She’s a visionary, someone who’s willing to take a chance, take a risk and back a writer, a director, a producer when others have maybe turned them away. As head of Film and Drama at Film4, she has passionately championed new talent and actively sought out challenging and controversial projects that were deemed too risky or unprofitable by the open market. What’s more, time and again her uncanny instinct has been proven right and these projects have become huge worldwide successes. Many of us here tonight, myself included, wouldn’t be where we are today if it were not for her. Wise, indefatigable and modest, and – yes – capable of the odd mis-timed tackle, I can pay her no greater compliment than to say that she really is the Paul Scholes of the British film industry.”
Tessa Ross, accepting her award…
“Thank you, thank you so much. If you’ve seen those clips, you’ll know jolly well that that work is by a host of other people, an army of other people and not just me, not least this wonderful man who I’ve had the most wonderful time working with. I would have loved to have listed names and do some proper thank yous, but in truth the list is so long that I thought you wouldn’t mind and you’d forgive me if I just said a huge thank you to the extraordinary writers, the visionary directors, the magical technicians and actors, the dogged producers, that I’ve had the huge privilege of being able to work with.
I’ve learned something every day and continue to do so and in truth those wild, winding, crazy journeys – I say looking at Danny – have been the very best bit of the work for me. I get to take this wonderful thing home and put it on my mantelpiece, and I’ve sat here jealously looking at teams of people who’ve come up, because of course I share this with my brilliant team at Film4, a group of people who are truly exceptional and very much like a second family. They’re incredibly committed, they’re clever, they’re passionate and patient, they’re full of ingenuity and have huge integrity. They do a huge amount with very little.
And really the reason we can work this way is because of a vision that was built 30 years go by some brilliant people – amongst them David Rose and Jeremy Isaacs – and the vision was very simple and it was this: to take the values of what was then a very new public service channel, Channel 4, and those values were of taking risks, of nurturing talent, of doing things differently, of challenging pre-conceptions – and taking those values to the community in this country, the talented people who want to make feature films. And really that’s it- it’s as simple as that – and that’s the vision we have today. And as the world changes and our business changes at a rate of knots, it seems to me that those values are worth cherishing and working with even more than ever before.
It really works like this – my team and I meet somebody, somebody we’ve never met, somebody who has a story to tell that we couldn’t possibly have imagined, a story that only that person could have told, and our job is to support that person, to protect their creativity above all else, to give them time and energy and money – and there is truly no greater privilege than supporting people that you admire.
So thank you very, very much for this – it’s wonderful to be part of building a legacy that is Film4, but in truth the thing that matters most to me is that it should continue to do bigger and braver things, and that it should be an essential part of our cultural life for very many years.”
- Tessa Ross, Film4