Meet the Team
I was born in Handsworth, Birmingham in 1971 and diagnosed as hard of hearing as a teenager.
I graduated from Portsmouth University with a First Class degree in Art and Design in 1996, focussing on disability art and film. I then trained as a director and began directing soap operas for the BBC. In 2001, I made my first feature film Large for Film Four on a budget of £1.7 million. It sold to twenty countries and reached number one in the UK video charts. I went on to direct Special People (2008), an improvised comedy about able bodied misconceptions of disablity which won an RTS award and the audience award at the Berlin Britspotting and Moscow film festivals. We are the Freaks (2013) was my next feature film about teenage punks in 1990 Birmingham, which premiered in competition at the Edinburgh Film festival and was then bought by Netflix. My latest film as director The Marker, a film noir starring Frederick Schmidt, Ana Ularu, Cathy Tyson and John Hannah also premiered at Edinburgh and is now on Netflix.
In 2004 I set up 104 films, a production and training company specialising in disability and film. We worked on BAFTA nominated films such as the Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Notes on Blindness and Oscar shortlisted documentary Unseen.
In 2016 I had my first professional artists commission from disability arts charity Full Circle Arts to make Le Fou Roux, a 16mm film on the mental health of Vincent Van Gogh.
Recently I have been working with BBC Birmingham Drama on implementing a new disability code of practice plus sitting on the disability round table for the British Film Institute (BFI) which has led to the “Completely Reasonable Adjustments” policy changes adopted by the BFI. I also sit on the Screen Skills bursary steering group. I have written extensively for the Guardian and appeared on BBC Radio 4 and Channel 4 news advocating for better representation of disabled people behind the camera. In 2013 I met the Queen to talk about my work in disability and film.
I am a visiting lecturer at the National Film and Television School and a voting BAFTA and BIFA jury member. This year I have been asked to write a book for the BFI / Bloomsbury about New Disability Cinema in the UK and film prints, including Special People, have been archived at the BFI as works of cultural significance.
My recent work as a director includes films for the V&A, Welcome Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, London Metropolitan Archives plus working on a film with deaf writer Rinkoo Barpaga and the Birmingham Rep for Unlimited. Currently I’m developing a film about the relationship between Sid Vicious and his mother Anne Beverley for Hanway Films and Hurricane Pictures.
You can watch my showreel HERE
My agent is Tracy Hyde at Casarotto Ramsay
Alex Usborne MBE
He has produced 8 documentary films from his home town of Sheffield including two award winning films about boxers – Johnny Fantastic & Brendans Boys and the acclaimed and multi award winning documentary feature film Tales from a Hard City for Channel 4 / ARTE / Yorkshire TV / Eurimages. The film was released in the cinemas by the Feature Film Company.
He collaborated with Irvine ‘Trainspotting’ Welsh producing The Granton Star Cause which won the Prix Italia, two RTS awards and was BAFTA nominated and then the feature film The Acid House for Film 4. The film won 6 international awards and was released across the world.
He made the feature film Large with Justin Edgar for Film4 and then joined the UK Film Council to work as a Senior Executive in the New Cinema Fund where he was production executive on The Magdelene Sisters, Noi Albinoi, One for the Road and Once Upon a Time in the Midlands. He also set up a raft of short film schemes including DV Shorts and Cinema Extreme and worked as Senior Lecturer – Producing at the National Film & Television School.
He re-joined Justin Edgar to produce the feature film Special People and to build 104 films. He has produced 14 feature films. Recent work included Notes on Blindness which won an EMMY award and was nominated for three BAFTA award including Outstanding British Film and Best Documentary as well as winning the BIFA Award for Best Documentary.
He was associate producer on Jen Brea’s Unrest about M.E which was Oscar shortlisted and Executive Producer on Steve Sullivan’s Being Frank – the Chris Sievey Story which is released in the UK by Altitude.
He is currently producing The Dawn of the Dark Fox – the first feature film to be directed by an autistic director supported by Creative England and Retreat – the first feature film to be directed by a Deaf director with an all Deaf cast and performed in British Sign Language produced through the i features programme.
He is also producing documentary feature film Hello Stranger with director Beryl Richards telling the story of the adoption of her son Joe building on 22 years of home video supported by Doc Society and Northern Ireland Screen.
He is a graduate of EAVE, holds an MBE from Sheffield University and was awarded an MBE in 2018.