Michael Pearce

michael pearce jersey director beast 2017 film movie

Michael Pearce is a writer-director based in London. His first feature film, Beast, was funded by the BFI and Film4 and had its World Premiere at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival and had its European Premiere at the 2017 London Film Festival. In 2013 he made his first TV drama, Henry, through Channel Four’s Coming Up scheme and made the short, Keeping Up With The Joneses, through the BFI’s Shorts Scheme, the short was nominated at the 2014 BAFTA’s and BIFA’S. In 2011 he was named as one Screen International’s UK Stars of Tomorrow when his short film, Rite, was nominated at the 2011 BAFTA’s and BIFA’s. The short played at over 40 international film festivals and won Best Film at Soho Rushes Festival, Message to Man Film Festival and Almería Film Festival.

ArtHouse Jersey awarded Michael with seed funding that paid for his attendance at the Torino Film Lab Script & Pitch Workshop in 2011. The Torino Film Lab is an international development lab for emerging writers and directors and he had been selected to attend with his first feature project Beast, which was filmed in Jersey. ArtHouse Jersey supported Michael during the development of the film through grants, and residencies, and also accommodated some of the cast and crew in the production.

“Attending the lab had a hugely beneficial impact on the development of the film. I joined the lab whilst the idea was at a very nascent stage and it was an immensely supportive and creative environment to develop the script. At the end of a year of development on the lab I pitched the project Torino Film Lab Meeting Event during the Torino Film Festival where it was selected to be part of their FrameWork programme which supports projects through the final stages of development and into production. Through the support of these two workshops I was able to develop the script to a place where I felt confident I could approach the BFI and Film4 for production funding.”

Beast has since been well received by film critics and audiences. In 2019 Michael won a BAFTA award for ‘Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer’ and a London Critics Circle Film Award for ‘Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker of the Year’ and was nominated for many other awards including BIFAs and film festival awards for Beast.