Mike Downey

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Board Membership

European Film Academy

Founded in 1988, the European Film Academy now unites more than 3,000 European film professionals with the common aim of promoting Europe’s film culture.

Mike first joined the board of the European Film Academy 15 years ago and has served alongside a broad range of European film makers including Istvan Szabo, Volker Schloendorff, Wim Wenders, Nikita Mikhalkov, Pawel Pawlikowski, Agnes Jaoui, Krzystof Zanussi, and David Mackenzie . For the last four years he has been Deputy Chairman alongside Agnieszka Holland and Antonio Saura. Wim Wenders is President of the Academy.

Official website of European Film Academy

The European Film Awards

The European Film Awards have been presented annually since 1988 by the European Film Academy to recognize excellence in European cinematic achievements.

The awards are given in over ten categories, of which the most important is the Best Film. They are restricted to European cinema and European producers, directors, and actors. The awards were officially also called the "Felix Awards" until 1997, in reference to the former award's trophy statuette, which was replaced by an un-named statuette. Every year, the various activities of the European Film Academy culminate in the ceremony of the European Film Awards which are presented jointly with EFA Productions GmbH. In a total of 22 categories, among them European Film, European Director, European Actress and European Actor, the European Film Awards annually honour the greatest achievements in European cinema. The awards ceremony takes place in Berlin every second year. In the other years, the Awards travel: London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Malta, Riga, Wroclaw, Sevilla ...

Official website of The European Film Awards

BAFTA – The British Academy of Film and Television Arts

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public.

As an active member, Mike has served as part of the BAFTA Council for three terms as well as spending a year on the the Film Committee. The film committee advises on, make recommendations on, and oversee delivery of their sector’s Awards on behalf of the Board of Trustees. Council is a larger body which meets three times a year under the chairmanship of the Academy’s Vice Presidents, Duncan Kenworthy OBE and Sophie Turner Laing. Council’s role is to advise the Board of Trustees and act as a wider forum for discussing important issues.

BAFTA is proud of its expert membership of approximately 6,500 individuals in the UK and the US and of its vast collective experience across film, television and games. BAFTA identifies, rewards and celebrates excellence at its internationally renowned annual awards ceremonies, while providing many opportunities for the public – as well as industry practitioners and emerging talent – to find information and inspiration through its year-round programme of events, initiatives and activities.

It is committed to sharing insights into the crafts of the people who work in film, television and games by staging over 250 public events a year across the UK, the US and beyond. This wide-ranging programme of events gives members, the industry and the public at large many opportunities to learn first-hand from the finest practitioners in the business.

Official website of BAFTA – The British Academy of Film and Television Arts

The White Ribbon Alliance

White Ribbon Alliance unites citizens to demand the right to a safe birth for every woman, everywhere. The mission is to catalyse and convene advocates who campaign to uphold the right of all women to be safe and healthy before, during and after childbirth.

The goal is to ensure that all women realise their rights to be safe and healthy before, during and after childbirth. The organisation’s vision is a world where the right of all women to be safe and healthy before, during and after childbirth is upheld.

Mike joined the Board of Trustees of the White Ribbon Alliance in the UK seven years ago with the aim of contributing to holding governments accountable and campaigning for them to deliver on their commitments.

Progress has been made. Deaths are down by half since 1990 and maternal health is on the global policy agenda like never before. A cost-effective model shows that a small investment in a few staff, as opposed to delivering services, has incredibly powerful results. The work of the Alliance has successfully persuaded governments to increase the number of midwives, the type and quality of health services and increased the number of women accessing services.

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Official website of The White Ribbon Alliance

Isango Ensemble International Board of Trustees

Isango Ensemble is a South African theatre company that draws its artists mainly from the townships surrounding Cape Town. Their stage productions and films have played to sold-out audiences across the world, and we’ve received numerous international awards.

Isango’s productions re-imagine classics from the Western theatre canon, finding a new context for the stories within a South African or township setting thereby creating inventive work relevant to the heritage of the nation. The company’s structure embraces artists at all stages of their creative development allowing senior artists to lead and contribute towards the growth of rising talents.

Director Mark Dornford-May and Music Director Pauline Malefane formed what is now the core of Isango Ensemble in Cape Town in 2000. From the beginning the company has drawn its performers from the previously disadvantaged townships surrounding the city. Isango creates performances with a strong South African flavour by re-imagining Western theatre classics within a South African or township setting and by creating new work reflecting South African heritage.

Mike is part of the international board of trustees who act as global ambassadors for the company, and in the case of Mike, develops and produces films out of the theatre work. Ian Mckellan leads the international Board of Trustees for Isango which includes:

  • Sir Ian McKellen (Patron) – Actor
  • Baroness Gail Behr – Designer
  • Sharon D. Clarke – Actress
  • Stephen Daldry – Film Director
  • Mike Downey – Film Producer
  • Kwame Kwei-Armah – Artistic Director; Center Stage Baltimore, USA
  • David Lan – Artistic Director; Young Vic, London, UK
  • Sean Mathias – Theatre and Film Director
  • Sir Simon Rattle – Conductor
  • The Rev Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth

Their first film U-Carmen eKhayelitsha won the Golden Bear in Berlin and second film Son of Man which premiered in World Cinema Competition in Sundance, were filmed on location in Khayelitsha, along with the Benjamin Britten adaptation UNOGUMBE and propelled this historically disadvantaged township into the international spotlight. Local residents were given the opportunity to be part of the films and U-Carmen was premiered in Khayelitsha's O. R. Tambo Sports Centre, playing there for three weeks to excited audiences. Isango intend to further develop this process by building a truly mixed audience, reflecting and uniting our diverse South African nation. More recently Breathe- Umphefumlo was presented at the Berlinale as a Berlinale Special.

"The Isango Ensemble is unique," says Isango’s Patron, Sir Ian Mckellan, "I believe no other theatre group in the world so successfully brings theatre classics into a modern, wholly African, expression."

Official website of Isango Ensemble International Board of Trustees


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