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a book for the BFI / Bloomsbury about New Disability Cinema in the UK and film prints, including Special People, have been archived at the BFI as works of cultural significance.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
Alex is a successful film & television Producer with a substantial track record of producing original and distinctive Cinema & TV films which have found critical acclaim, commercial success and international audiences.
He is an entrepreneur who has run his own business Picture Palace North for over 20 years, and is currently expanding 104 Films.
He is also experienced as film financier and film executive having worked as Senior Executive for the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund for 2 years and served on the Lottery Film Advisory Panel for 5 years. His high level teaching and mentoring experience includes work as Senior Tutor at the National Film & Television School.
He lives and works in his home city of Sheffield where he has produced 8 highly successful documentary films. He recently completed his MBA at Sheffield University Management School, developing skills in Business Growth Strategies and Creative Industries Management Consultancy.