Screen International’s inaugural Global Production Awards took place on May 22 at the Cannes Film Festival with 11 competitive and one special recognition prize handed out.

Scroll down for profiles of each winner

Diversity, sustainability and innovation in global production are among the buzzwords and themes celebrated by Screen International’s inaugural Global Production Awards (GPAs), which were held at the Mademoiselle Gray D’Albion Plage in Cannes.

Launched by Screen and sister brands KFTV and Broadcast and supported by London-based screen consultancy firm Olsberg SPI, the awards herald outstanding and sustainable work from the world of film and TV production, locations and studios around the globe. For the film, television and streamers bringing ideas to the screen, where, how and who they work with on the ground has never been more important in an ever-evolving landscape of production, support and green initiatives.

Across 11 categories, the GPAs recognised the best locations around the world, the stand-out studio facilities, outstanding creative crews, ideas, and executions, and what the very best locations and commissions bring to the table for international and local production teams. A special recognition award was also presented to Universal Filmed Entertainment Group for their efforts in sustainable production.

The GPAs were voted on by judges drawn from across the industry including several high-end TV and film producers and senior production executives. The winners were chosen after a series of lively judging panel debates and discussions on the submissions for each category. One judge said the high standard of visuals, short video packages, written submissions and testimonials to chew over made choosing outright winners a big ask.

1. City of Film

WINNER: City of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Obala Art Centre)

Elma Tataragic

Source: Theo Wood

Elma Tataragic

This category encapsulates and exemplifies the global nature of production with cities from three continents competing for the plaudit. The award goes to a city whose work in recent years has helped deliver for international TV and filmmakers while also helping develop local skills and expertise alongside boosting the local economy.

According to one judge, the winner – Sarajevo City of Film in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Obala Art Centre – enjoys “a more holistic approach to being a film and TV city, promoting local and international productions, retaining citizens through job creation and investing money into development programs for film and TV output, including audience development as well as environmental sustainability.”

The winning entry demonstrated a record of creative and commercial success, helping deliver great productions to the city efficiently and effectively, all the while showing evidence of the benefit to the local economy through skills development and investment. The winner also showed a clear vision of the role of film and TV production plays in the economic and cultural health of the city.

“Sarajevo comes from a low base of being in a war-torn region previously, so to emerge as film and TV city this beautifully, is a major positive for me,” said one judge, while another noted that Sarajevo is a city “which oozes a love of film in every way, whether you want to watch it, or make it or be in it.”

The application demonstrated a sustained and passionate commitment to film which was enthralling and energizing, leading one judge to say they were reaching for their passport. “[This is] a city of film born from pure passion for the art of film, which succeeded in time to achieve an increased volume of production, access to films for the community and creating work places, while at the same time looking to be net zero emissions free by 2030,” added another judge.


  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Calgary Economic Development)
  • Trollhattan, Sweden (Film I Vast)
  • Wellington, New Zealand (Screen Wellington)

2. Community Impact Award

WINNER: Workforce Development: A Local Foundation with Global Impact (The Royal Film Commission – Jordan) 

[L-R] Bashar Abu Nuwar, The Royal Film Commission Jordan; Mira Nimri, The Royal Film Commission Jordan; Jaclyn Philpott, Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI)

Source: Theo Wood

[L-R] Bashar Abu Nuwar, The Royal Film Commission Jordan; Mira Nimri, The Royal Film Commission Jordan; Jaclyn Philpott, Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI)

Awarded to a film commission or production demonstrating commitment to the local community during filming, the community impact award was a hotly contested category. Employing and educating local crew and demonstrating a positive environmental and cultural conscience was a must with the winning entry demonstrating how the production connected and worked with the local community in terms of recruitment, education and environment.

The Royal Film Commission of Jordan and its ‘Workforce development: a local foundation with global impact’ emerged clutching the most votes. “This is a country with an emerging film industry, which needs to take advantage of its great culture,” commented one judge. “It has stories to share with the rest of the world - something which Jordan is doing with integrity by engaging its local storytellers and empowering those who want to enter the industry.”

Another judge thought Jordan and the foundation programme gave a “clear demonstration of creating a sustainable economic footprint for film, placing of interns into paying jobs, creating the channels for up-and-coming filmmakers that will create jobs for others.”

Jordan’s submission to the judging panel also showed the territory was instituting programmes that propel the local industry towards a sustainable economic driver for the economy. “In my opinion these help local filmmakers to find a voice to tell their stories which I know has great impact for them in that film community,” said one judge.

A wide approach to film/TV sector development and to the engagement of professionals and population around the country’s audiovisual activity was also set out for the judges to consider. With the judges looking for demonstrable evidence of the positive impact of the production on the community, Jordan’s entry did just that.


  • Film I Vast (Sweden)
  • Garden Studios (UK)
  • HBO Max’s The Staircase – Sustainable Production
  • Oregon Film Office & #OregonMade Creative Foundation 

3. Diversity & Inclusion Award

WINNER: Fashion Dis: Season 1 (Nikki Ray Media Agency, Canada)

[L-R] Tamara Tatishvili, Global Production Awards judge; Wendy Mitchell, Screen International

Source: Theo Wood

[L-R] Tamara Tatishvili, Global Production Awards judge; Wendy Mitchell, Screen International

Of all the Global Production Awards up for grabs, the diversity and inclusion category drew the most submissions. Destined for a production demonstrating a commitment to diversity, inclusivity and accessibility in their production crews and on set, the winning entry demonstrated how diversity played a key part in the production’s thinking and planning including recruitment of diverse crew and any other initiatives to encourage greater diversity and inclusion in the production process.

Several judges noted that Fashion Dis, a show celebrating the head-to-toe overhaul of a frustrated style-seeker discouraged by an industry that lacks adaptive options, demonstrated all the requirements in detail from the get-go. “I love that the show was created by individuals with disabilities for those with disabilities. The show was created out of personal necessity, not as a knee- jerk reaction to societal issues. From the assets presented, the production is well crafted from its name to the guests. Kudos on a job well done,” said one judge.

Judges looking for heavily fact-based submissions which provided detailed information about cast and crew composition and other relevant information were not left wanting. “Not only did they demonstrate the facts and figures but the fact that it’s being shown as part of the country’s education curriculum is proof of quality and an ability to make a difference and an impact,” noted another judge.

“The show also gives the contestants a way forward in their makeovers and that is a way to make the contestants more inclusive in society,” added another.

Another judge celebrated the show’s “FUBU” approach (For us by us) which gave it an edge in judging. “You have not only the contestants but also the experts and even the businesses that get an ancillary spotlights from the show impacted. It’s good to see something where the impact is not limited to the production itself but goes beyond.”


  • Dreaming Whilst Black – Big Deal Films
  • Great British Photography Challenge – Storyboard Studios
  • Money On My Mind – Storyboard Studios
  • Mountain Boy – Flying Tiger Entertainment & Desert Rose Films
  • Below-the-line traineeship on the set of Nope – Universal Filmed Entertainment Group

4. Emerging Location Award

WINNER: Samaná, Dominican Republic Film Commission (DGCINE), Dominican Republic

[L-R] Mariu Benzo, Dominican Republic Film Commission; TBC, Dominican Republic Film Commission; Tony Armer, Dallas Film & Creative Industries Office

Source: Theo Wood

[L-R] Mariu Benzo, Dominican Republic Film Commission; TBC, Dominican Republic Film Commission; Tony Armer, Dallas Film & Creative Industries Office

With several judges boasting extensive production experience from big-budget studio pictures through independent international co-productions to projects for well-healed streamers, the onus was on film commissions to bring fresh prospects to the table. The judges sought out evidence of the location’s problem-solving approach, customer service, creativity, community contribution and all the country has to offer – including information about crew, different locations and how they are accessed by productions and producers.

The winner – Film Friendly Samaná, a region of the Dominican Republic – demonstrated increased number of productions, attractive incentives, improved levels of service, growing crew base and infrastructure, and variety in the filming spots offered. “The extent to which Film Friendly Samaná leaned in on the incentive side, their workforce development and initiatives and the local crew and expansion in a relatively small region, was laudable,” noted one judge.

Smaller territories sometimes aren’t on international producers’ radar because of capacity, but one judge said the way the Dominican Republic Film Commission was involved in educating local residents and developing local crew, its understanding of film tourism and the impact film was going to have on the region, meant it stood out.

“You want to know that when you go into a place you’re going to work with that someone in that organisation has got a phone number to somebody really important, because chances are there is going to be government red tape or help required to film in an otherwise difficult location,” said one judge. “I got the feeling from DGCINE that they’re well connected and they could really help me out. That’s what you want to see in a commission.”


  • Zagreb, Croatia – Zagreb Film Office
  • Alula, Saudi Arabia – Film Alula
  • Limerick, Ireland – Film in Limerick – HIGHLY COMMENDED
  • New Mexico – New Mexico Film Office 

5. Film Commission Team Award

WINNER: The Australian Job, Ausfilm International Ltd (Ausfilm), Australia 

Wendy Mitchell (Screen International); Jonathan Olsberg (Olsberg.SPI)

Source: Theo Wood

(L-R): Wendy Mitchell (Screen International); JonathanOlsberg (Olsberg.SPI)

This award is given to a film commission with an established international reputation for exemplary service to productions operating in a top filming destination. The judges thirsted for evidence of a film commission’s efforts to attract filmmakers, its problem-solving approach, customer service, creativity, community contribution and why the location is proving so popular.

For one judge, an international production guru and producer, Ausfilm really stood out, and other judges agreed. Australia’s continent wide commission – which connects the international film community with Australia’s screen incentives, talent and facilities – secured the award. “I’ve worked with companies who have gone to Australia and have been very complimentary about Ausfilm as an organisation,” said one judge. Another described Ausfilm as a “very cohesive organisation”

Using a “great and detailed” video presentation to cover the key criteria required in a creative way and providing hard data also pushed Ausfilm out front in the jury’s eyes. For one judge, Ausfilm simply set the bar for the category and wasn’t bettered. “Ausfilm presented itself as a well-oiled machine with a solid proposal for film production all across the value chain, perfectly explained in its presentation via a world class creative approach.”

There was also an acknowledgement that Ausfilm, which has an outpost in Los Angeles, has been building its reputation and relationships with international filmmakers and production executives over several years. One of Ausfilm’s mantras is “there are some things Ausfilm can’t help with, but we can let you know who can,” which speaks to a pragmatism in doing all it can to service productions.


  • Dominican Republic Film Commission
  • Film I Vast Production Advisor team
  • The Royal Film Commission – Jordan

6. Location of the Year Award

WINNER: Standing Sets - Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Calgary Economic Development)

[L-R] Luke Azevedo, Calgary Economic Development; Erin O’Connor, Calgary Economic Development; Bui Baldvinsson, Hero Productions

Source: Theo Wood

[L-R] Luke Azevedo, Calgary Economic Development; Erin O’Connor, Calgary Economic Development; Bui Baldvinsson, Hero Productions

The award was chosen for a single location for its work across one or multiple film and TV productions and one that has shown its creative importance in the story telling of productions. The judges looked for the impact of the location, its versatility and the support and services provided to producers who have used it.

Much of the discussion in judging centred on whether or not standing sets should be allowed to compete with natural locations. But a consensus was reached that the standing sets in Calgary qualified, especially as they offer natural light and tick the sustainability box. “The standing sets of Calgary have provided decades of filmmakers with a rock-solid filmmaking venue, bringing a high level of production support in a stunning natural setting,” one judge pointed out.

Another judge noted that the client testimonies – for a location that has been operating since the 1970s – were glowing: “The amount of films that shot there, the readiness to mount productions, the support services on site all make it a winner. It passes with flying colours, as they say.”

While one judge suggested that going forward there might be separate categories for natural locations and standing sets, nothing could be taken away from the quality of Calgary’s submission. “It provided all the correct data and they made a real effort to make a good application. From an environmental point of view, having all these sets in one place is good,” one judge added.

“The standing sets’ versatility and support and services provided to producers who have used it is where it scores a 10,” said another judge. “It’s absolutely stunning and spectacular.”


  • Helsetkopen – Western Norway Film Commission
  • Rauma Valley – Western Norway Film Commission

7. Outstanding Use of Locations - Film or TV Series

WINNER: The Essex Serpent, See-Saw Films, UK

[L-R] Lily Limmer; Andrea Cornwell; Leon Forde, Olsberg SPI

[L-R] Lily Limmer; Andrea Cornwell; Leon Forde, Olsberg SPI

This award was one of the most complicated and nuanced categories to pick a winner from with the judges paying particular attention to the creative and operational solutions put in place by the production to help the producers get what they wanted from the shoot.

Set in Victorian England, The Essex Serpent details the story of a newly-widowed woman who moves from London to a small village in Essex, intrigued by a local superstition that a mythical creature known as the Essex serpent has returned to the area. “The creative brief and the outcomes of the film are so complicated and nuanced that the location and environment shines,” noted one judge. “It was a difficult production to film with many variables but [the production] did it with real sensitivity to the environment and setting.”

The discussion chair underlined the notion that the award should go to a production that showed the creative use of the location, rather than just the practical use of the location. “The location is inherent and central to the storytelling, and yet was replete with challenges,” one judge remarked. “The filmmakers met the challenges to deliver an outstanding creative result, while respecting and protecting the natural environment. It’s a case of great synergy between creativity and physical location.”

Another judge spotlighted that the production had to shoot on location in Essex because it was written to the project. “It was a very delicate shoot in an environment that could have easily gone very badly,” the judge said. “It sounds like they were respectful to the natural environment while getting what they needed for the production.”

The creativity that went into the production on location “was brave and was fully infused into the project,” considered one judge. One submission note about the production having to wait for the tide to be right before a shoot day showed how complex a shoot it was.

8. Production Innovation Award

WINNER: Call It! Creating Safer, Fairer Productions – Call It! (UK)

[L-R] Delyth Thomas; Kate Verity Wilson; Anamaria Antoci, European Women’s Audio-visual Network

Source: Theo Wood

[L-R] Delyth Thomas; Kate Verity Wilson; Anamaria Antoci, European Women’s Audio-visual Network

Awarded to an innovation supporting productions to be more sustainable and efficient in their operations, demonstrable by results in practice, the winner had to be able to show how a particular innovation really supported the success of a production either creatively and/or through operational efficiencies or through improving sustainability.

The winner Call It! is a smart phone app which enables film and TV industry workers to report incidents of harassment, bullying and abuse to executives or senior producers on their sets: line managers and up receive anonymised accounts of what happened, when and who is involved.

“Call It! is an innovative tool, especially in terms of the sensitive problems it comes up against. What makes it even more relevant is that it’s accessible in any territory and can be used in any stages of a production, no matter the budget range of the production,” one judge said.

The judges also thought the low-carbon-footprint app was a powerful and intuitive tool to empower crew and foster a collaborative and safe working set. “The app has a promising future in the field of audiovisual productions as a regulator panel for safer working experiences,” thought one judge.

And the app has potential to evolve towards being used in other areas of production management. Its simplicity of use – it helps productions identify early on if there are any issues on set – appealed too. One judge said it was noteworthy that the app has been set up as a not-for-profit.

The app mission of “empowering everyone to monitor and prevent bullying, harassment and all forms of discrimination in the workplace” struck a chord with all the judges. “I think it is a great innovation, dealing with changing set culture for the better,” summarised one judge. “It’s great that the technology recognises the challenges on set and in production and presents a way to try and better conditions for all.”


  • Next generation on-set production tool – Drylab Media Tech
  • La Brea, Season 2 – Universal Studios Group
  • Violette – Copenhagen Industries 

9. Studio of the Year

WINNER: Garden Studios, London, UK

[L-R] Sonja Underwood, Garden Studios; Farrah Charles, Garden Studios; Anne Lajla Utsi, International Sami Film Institute

Source: Theo Wood

[L-R] Sonja Underwood, Garden Studios; Farrah Charles, Garden Studios; Anne Lajla Utsi, International Sami Film Institute

To win this award, a studio complex had to boast adaptability and outstanding service to productions but also crucially through its body of work demonstrate innovation while at the same time delivering for the local community it works in. The judges sought out evidence of the studio’s professionalism, attraction to customers, creativity, customer service, sustainability and community focus.

Garden Studios in London is a technically advanced film production complex, designed specifically to support the latest production technologies, as well as decades of future innovation. It boasts versatile stage configurations across multiple buildings and accompanying offices and warehouses, an in-house Virtual Production studio, and a convenient location in London and can accommodate a wide variety of production requirements.

One judge said Garden Studios displays great commitment to training and growing talent, to sustainability and to welcoming underrepresented people and is “more than having great facilities,” all the while offering virtual production to the highest standards out there. A relatively new studio, Garden Studios regards itself not just as a filmmaking destination, but is on a mission to support the industry through its commitment to skill and talent development and sustainable production.

“It has a notable and vibrant programme to attract in and develop skills and talent across a wide breadth of its local community, and the submission showed a serious commitment to sustaining this upward trajectory,” one judge wrote. “It is to be particularly commended for supporting the new generation of technically savvy filmmakers through its innovative training programmes with its virtual production stages - allowing access to emerging talent to experiment and learn.”

Garden Studios also supports artists in the community and has a dedicated community space ofering paid work experience for up-and-coming artists. “As a certified London Living wage employer, it displays a support and care for the workforce, artists and community.”

Another judge also drew attention to the studios’ process of donating used production materials to communities for art projects and its virtual production studios training facilities while also investing in education.


  • Stage Fifty, Farnborough Film Studios, Farnborough, UK
  • Studio Fares, Trollhaten, Sweden (Film I Vast)
  • Versa Studios, London, UK

10. Sustainable Initiative Award

WINNER: TBY2 Studios: 1MWp Solar Rooftop Array, The Bottle Yard Studios, Bristol, UK

[L-R] Bradley Joshua, Gambit Films; Madeleine Probst, Watershed Arts Trust

Source: Theo Wood

[L-R] Bradley Joshua, Gambit Films; Madeleine Probst, Watershed Arts Trust

To secure the sustainable initiative award, a film commission, office or production studio/company had to detail an outstanding single green initiative, demonstrable by results in practice. The judges were tasked with looking for an individual initiative which was a big idea that made a difference to one area or element of the production process while making it more environmentally friendly with tangible results.

The winner Bottle Yard Studios and its TBY2 Studios’ solar rooftop array shone brightly for several judges, provided demonstrable evidence of how the studio facility initiative delivers measurable and defined benefits to the environment/community. “With their solar rooftop, Bottle Yard is putting in the work to maintain studio backlot and sustainability standards and they’re working with the community to make it happen,” noted one judge.

Judges also highlighted the work Bottle Yard had done to involve the local authorities and community at large to okay the development and partner on the development.

“When we have a film production, it’s all about the energy saving which is a big challenge and reducing transport footprints,” said one judge who manages large scale productions. “This is a scalable product so we could use it and do the same in other territories as well. I really like the community approach of being involved in it, and at the same time helping the film industry go green. We need to be replace fossil fuels.”

According to the judges, Bottle Yard Studios displayed expansive thinking on a large scale. “I think that any studio shed that’s being built solar panels should be all over it. Bottle Yard’s initiative will have an impact now and into the future.”

Bottle Yard Studios also showed grassroots commitment to sustainability. “This is the sort of expansive thinking, large scale changes we need in our industry to make real sustainable changes,” one judge said, while another joked that the “the sheer bravery of trying to harness the sun in the UK should be applauded.”

On a more serious note, another judge suggested MWp Solar Rooftop Array sustainable energy is the only way forward for the industry. “The grassroots effort, quantifiable success, and clear benefit to both environment and filmmakers puts the Bottle Yard Studios in a class of its own.”


  • Evergreen Prisma (Austria)
  • Mercury Studios (UK)
  • NBCUniversal Television Asset Center, Universal Studios Group (US) – HIGHLY COMMENDED

11. Sustainable Production Award

WINNER: Farmen (The Farm), Strix Norway (A Fremantle Company), Sweden/Norway

[L-R] Geoff Fawkes, Sunbelt Rentals; Matthew Sanders, Fremantle

Source: Theo Wood

[L-R] Geoff Fawkes, Sunbelt Rentals; Matthew Sanders, Fremantle

To win, an individual production had to showcase best practice in sustainable, green filming and provide demonstrable evidence of how the production delivered a plan on sustainability with measurable contribution to carbon reduction and/or offsetting and benefits to the environment and location/community.

Nordic TV reality show The Farm (Farmen) sees a group of 12 to 14 contestants living together on a farm, working as a normal farmer, raising animals and agricultural tasks. Over the series, participants are eliminated until there is one wannabe farmer standing.

Open to producers, studios, production companies or teams, the judges assessed all aspects of the production from waste management to transport and construction. One judge said it was a tough category to pick a winner because there were a lot of people that were doing lots of things.

For another judge, The Farm was innovative in myriad areas during production. “The Farm production covered much more territory than the typical sustainability plan that we would normally see.”

It was also noted that The Farm was the only entry that submitted a cookbook as part of their submission. “The burrito recipe looks pretty good,” noted one judge.

“The fact that The Farm team is using so many tools to get the data and the facts to be able to look at what they’re doing in the future was great,” said another. “From a conscious capitalism perspective, they’re looking at these suppliers and making sure that they are on board with sustainability targets as well.”

The fact that they were using every opportunity possible to promote green tips every day on the call sheets was also a feather in their cap. “I think it’s all subliminal messaging or other messaging that’s going out to other parts of the production that will be really important in changing behaviour in the future, right down to the cookbook, props and costumes and things.”

The drive to reassign unused food and collect food for local charities was also a major plus.


  • Bjornis – The Fire Bear (Fremantle)
  • Downton Abbey: A New Era (Universal Filmed Entertainment Group)
  • La Chimera (tempesta/EcoMuvi)
  • Love Island (ITV Studios)
  • The Essex Serpent (See-Saw Films) – HIGHLY COMMENDED

12. Special Recognition Award

WINNER: Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (NBCUniversal)

[L-R] Niels Swinkels, Universal Pictures International; Matt Mueller, Screen International

Source: Theo Wood

[L-R] Niels Swinkels, Universal Pictures International; Matt Mueller, Screen International

NBCUniversal and its affiliates, including Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and NBC Universal Television, secured a special recognition award at Screen International’s inaugural Global Production Awards.

The special award reflects the studio’s myriad efforts in the field of sustainability, diversity and innovation across a burgeoning slate of film and HETV productions mounted multiple territories across the globe.

One such noteworthy innovation was Universal’s below-the-line traineeship on the set of Jordan Peele’s sci-fi horror Nope by Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (USA). Judges agreed that the system exhibited a commitment to building diversity and inclusion from a large production company.

“The Universal below-the-line traineeship [on Nope] seems to be connecting people from diverse and/or underrepresented backgrounds with opportunities in the industry,” one judge commented. “The program is scalable and transferrable and could benefit many individuals and industry as a whole.”

Another judge loved the idea of a programme that gave a formerly incarcerated individual a second chance. Also praised was the production’s partnerships with the Arc, the largest US community-based organisation advocating for and with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families and the country’s land conservation program CPR, administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). “The production did a great job explaining the interview process, the partnerships and positive key outcomes,” mused one judge.

When it came to sustainability, Universal Studio Group’s NBC Universal Television Asset Centre, drew plaudits and admiration. “Too often, the upcycling of set materials is out of reach for even major film productions. Yet it’s a simple way to reduce waste in the industry and it’s great to see major studio making it possible for many production for so long,” noted one awards’ tastemaker.

The studio has exhibited a history of sustainability since the 1990s and has opted for sustainability over cost and time, noted another.

Universal Filmed Entertainment Group mounted Downtown Abbey: A New Era caught the judges eye in the sustainable production award category. And in the production innovation award tilts, Univeral Studio Group’s HETV sci-fi drama La Brea also drew admirers.