Grassroots is an outreach initiative created by screenwriter and playwright Naomi Westerman, to encourage and support young people from marginalised and underrepresented backgrounds to pursue their interest in film, and to give them the training, mentorship, and resources needed to make their first short film. Founded in 2019, Grassroots takes BFF’s goal of inspiring and encouraging children and young people into film beyond Barnes. Every year as part of the BFF, we run a day of free workshops and Q&A sessions from leading industry figures covering all aspects of filmmaking.

Industry leaders who have taught workshops or held Q&As include screenwriter and playwright James Graham OBE (feature film ‘X +Y’, ITV’s ‘Quiz’, Channel 4’s ‘Brexit: The Uncivil War’ and ‘Coalition’; BBC1’s upcoming ‘Sherwood’), screenwriter and playwright Mike Bartlett (film ‘King Charles III’, BBC1’s ‘Doctor Foster’ and ‘Life’, ITV’s ‘Trauma’) actor Kate Fleetwood (feature films ‘Macbeth’, ‘London Road’, roles in Star Wars and Harry Potter, Amazon Prime’s ‘The Wheel of Time’), actor Laurie Kynaston (feature films ‘How to Build a Girl’, ITV’s ‘The Trouble with Maggie Cole’, Channel 4’s ‘Derry Girls’), theatre director Alastair Knight (short film ‘BIKE’, stage credits include ‘A Little Night Music,’ ‘The Rise and Fall of Little Voice’, ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’, and ‘Putting It Together’) and TV development executive Sara Johnson.

Our first event in 2019 was hosted by the Bush Theatre, after which the pandemic forced us to go online. After three years of delivering Grassroots via Zoom we hope to resume in-person Grassroots events in 2023.