The MetFilm School has launched the Dan Demissie Voices That Matter scholarship, which is designed to support the next generation of black filmmakers, recognizing the importance of accessibility and equality within the screen industry. Film producer Dan Demissie died last July at the age of 37.
From 2006-2007 Demissie was a film student at MetFilm School, which is based at Ealing Studios. During that time he pitched an idea for a film to the MetFilm production team. That idea turned into the feature film, Town of Runners, which Demissie – as a graduate – coproduced. He later worked with MetFilm Production as a producer on School in the Cloud.
Released in 2012, Town of Runners tells the story of two young girls, living in a rural town in Ethiopia as they try to run their way to a different life, and follows their highs and lows over three years as they try to become professional athletes. Through their struggle, the film gives a unique insight into the ambitions of young Ethiopians living between tradition and the modern world.
Little White Lies described the film as the ‘sleeper hit’ of the Olympic Year, and Total Film said: “In an Olympic year, here’s an inspirational reminder of what it’s all about.”
Jonny Persey, director of MetFilm School said, “Dan died too soon, and his legacy is strong in his films and amongst those of us who were lucky enough to know him. We are honored to launch this important scholarship for a black student in his name.”
Each year one Black student will receive a full scholarship to a MetFilm School BA or MA program – worth up to £53,000. This scholarship is aimed at promoting accessibility and equality and for those who possess a demonstrable passion and talent for the screen industries. MetFilm School aims to provide an opportunity for exceptional black student who, without financial assistance, would be unable to participate on selected programs.
Dan’s brother, Simon Demissie said, “On behalf of Dan's family we are truly grateful and honored that MetFilm has created this scholarship in his name. Film was a great passion in his life, and an avenue where he was able to be creative and produce work we are so proud of. Dan always went out of his way to help other people, so it seems appropriate that this scholarship is designed to help people who so often have barriers put in their way. We are excited to see the work that recipients are able to create over the coming years, and are touched to think that he will be supporting them in some way.”