The Grierson Trust Appoints New Managing Director


Sylvia Bednarz has been named managing director of The Grierson Trust, taking over the reins from Jane Callaghan, who is retiring later this year.

Bednarz will assume her new position in mid-September, ahead of the 50th-anniversary Grierson Awards in the fall. She is joining The Grierson Trust from Sheffield DocFest, where she has served as partnerships and operations director, overseeing the operations, production, finance and HR departments.

Bednarz’s role at Sheffield DocFest involved securing new grants and sponsorship funding annually from over 60 U.K. and international partners, including the BFI, Arts Council, BBC, Channel 4, ITV, UKTV, The Guardian, ESPN, Netflix, Amazon Studios, British Council, National Geographic, Canon and BAFTA, as well as several film institutes and embassies.

Over the course of her career, Bednarz has worked in several roles across the documentary sector, including film and TV production, commissioning for online and TV, and film festivals.

Lorraine Heggessey, chair of The Grierson Trust, said: “Sylvia is a fantastic appointment. She has the perfect combination of experience, contacts and knowledge of factual filmmaking to lead The Grierson Trust through the next phase of its development. She will build on the excellent work of the current team as The Trust continues to champion the art of the documentary through the annual awards for excellence as well as growing its reputation as a training organization that nurtures new talent, opening the door for under-represented groups.”

Bednarz said: “I’m thrilled to be joining The Grierson Trust as managing director. It is truly my dream job—to nurture the next generation of documentary storytellers and celebrate the most exciting and innovative work within our sector. It’s also a privilege to build on the legacy of Jane Callaghan’s 20 years at The Trust. My time at Sheffield DocFest has been a total joy. I have worked with an extraordinary team (past and present) and have been supported by a wonderful Board of Trustees. I can’t wait to return to DocFest next year with a new cohort of Grierson DocLab trainees!

“The Grierson Trust has enormous potential to create even greater impact in addressing the current skills gap in documentary and factual production,” Bednarz added. “I look forward to working with the exceptional team, trustees, as well as new and existing industry partners to create further opportunities for fostering documentary talent.”

The Grierson Trust celebrates the best of documentary and factual filmmaking from Britain and around the world. Each year, the British Documentary Awards, otherwise known as the Griersons, spotlight the best documentaries of the year across various genres. The Trust also nurtures factual TV talent through its Grierson DocLab training and mentoring schemes.

The 50th annual Grierson Awards will take place on November 10.