Isis Davis is a writer / director /actress whose 2016 performance in short film ‘Cover Me’ won her the best female emerging talent award in 2017. She was also one of 3 winners in the BUFF Live Script Reading competition for which her script “Draw” was performed live at the BT Tower on Colourful Radio, also in 2017. She also received a Live Script Award for ‘Draw’.
Writing a blog; way different to writing a script. Everyone has their own blogging style, now that’s a similarity as all script writers have their own style but what is different is that this is me, from me, about me, and with no questions, just general guidance. So I am told people want to know about my journey to BUFF, my involvement, my association, its role in my journey, the Awards I have won and the aftermath.. so here you have it. My BUFF story so far….
My agent called me and told me that she had an audition for me; that the role could have been written for me. That usually means it’s either ghetto, gangster or vulnerable and tragic. That sounds so depressing doesn’t it, but for me, having a life story that included each of those elements, I consider it a blessing to be able to use the tough life experiences I have lived and survived to bring to life different characters with genuine depth and emotion and a true understanding or way of relating to the character, not just acting out the lines. Like many roles I’ve played, this role enabled me to draw on some of my more tragic experiences, but please don’t think that what happened to this character ACTUALLY happened to me, if you watch Cover Me, remember this; my Dad in real life is my hero….! So, I auditioned for the central role in Cover Me, written and Directed by Jo Southwell; I got the part and we shot it. It is a monologue lead short film and the subject matter is pretty hard hitting. Filming was intense as I spent it mostly alone to enable me to stay in character and keep the depth of emotion it warranted.
Over a year later, Jo contacted my agent to let me us know that the film had been chosen to be shown as part of the 2016 BUFF Short Film screening at The Odeon, Camden. We were thrilled, it had passed the Granola Test. For those of you that don’t know what the Granola Test is, you will simply have to submit to BUFF to find out!! Armed with a friendly and supportive entourage of family and my professional team mate, Agent Nina Lee, we attended the screening of around 10 short films along with questions and presentations. It was a great evening and the talent amongst the Festival was incredible. That night Emmanuel asked me to attend a few radio interviews with him and some other artists involved in the festival and I built a great rapport with Emmanuel from then on. It was a great networking opportunity in itself and I made some great contacts and some new friends too which is always a bonus along any professional journey.
Emmanuel and I kept in touch, and Nina kept him up to date with all my professional movements.
As a writer, I decided to submit one of my scripts, to be in the mix for the Script Writing Award. The 20 pages you are permitted to submit were taken from my debut four part Drama Series which has seen interest from Channel 4 and Tiger Aspect. But how do you choose 20 pages? Eventually I did and submitted them, and waited.
Then came announcement day… I HAD been nominated for the Best Female Emerging Talent Award AND I had WON one of the three script writing awards. Incredible! I looked forward to the awards ceremony and being able to collect my award knowing that I’d be sharing the stage with some incredible talent, including Ashley Walters who collected his Honorary Award that evening and Femi Oyeniran who I was hoping would be collecting an award for The Intent (which he did!). In the days prior to the Award Ceremony, we had a Live Script Read Through which saw me cast my script and enjoy it coming off the page for the very first time; it was also a great opportunity for my Literary Agent and one of the Developmental scouts at Tiger Aspect to see it off the page too – such a great platform for me on so many levels. Two of the cast members were people I had seen at the Festival in various platforms the previous year (networking again, see what BUFF provides!!) and the rest from people I already knew, or had been recommended. I also attended various other events that the Festival offered and really immersed myself in Urban Film for the two weeks the festival ran.
The night of the Award ceremony was absolutely brilliant. I was so proud to collect my Script Writing Award and be interviewed afterwards and enjoy that moment of knowing that my hard work was being recognised. When I got back to my seat, the next award to be announced was the Best Female Emerging Talent Award. It was so good to see all four of us nominees displaying such brilliant work that we had been cast in; and then they called my name! AGAIN! I won! I really couldn’t believe it. The category was packed with such a high standard. I was really blown away and totally unprepared in terms of my acceptance moment. I felt emotional, and proud, and it turns out, I was the only person to win two awards… such a big achievement. It’s amazing to have your work recognised amongst industry peers including those you have been following and watching and respect so highly. We celebrated on the 34th floor of the BT Tower at the BUFF Awards After Party. It really was a night to remember.
Since that night, I have enjoyed the support of BUFF via social media including them promoting the series I was recently in on Channel 4.
Last week I received a personal invitation from The Prime Minister to attend Downing Street to celebrate Black History Month. When we enquired as to how the selection process takes place, they said that people of recognised contribution are recommended from various departments throughout Whitehall. I couldn’t think how they would know who I am, let alone know of my work or achievements but I suddenly wondered whether my recent awards from The British Urban Film Festival had had an impact; my Agent enquired with Clare Anyiam-Osigwe, BUFF board member and wife of founder Emmanuel, and she said that there was a good chance that it had indeed had an impact, as they are in close talks with certain government members in terms of the achievements they are supporting and celebrating, and that my name had been mentioned as the only person to win two awards as part of the Festival.
So there it is; the connections and opportunities and platforms that BUFF provide go far wider and deeper than people may imagine or notice on the surface, but their drive and passion for developing and promoting and supporting the Urban Film network is second to none, and I am proud to be fully invested in what BUFF offers, year after year. This year will be my third year associated with the Festival so let’s see to what capacity that lends itself. So far I haven’t submitted anything, and I am not acting in any of the films submitted as of yet, but there is still time. One thing is for certain, I will definitely be at the events held throughout the festival. It’s a fortnight to indulge, enjoy and immerse oneself in, and I shall be doing just that!
I would just like to take this opportunity once again to thank Emmanuel and everyone involved with BUFF for your continued support and the platform to showcase my work as an actress and writer.