October 31, 2019

Welcoming The John Byrne Award October Judges

Each month our independent panel of judges review the shortlisted entries chosen by The John Byrne Award Team. The judges review each entry using our judging criteria seeking the most reasoned, constructive and compelling entry of the month.

A huge thank you to our John Byrne Award October judges, Ray Allan, Amna Saleem and Dr Russell Sharp.

Ray Allan

Ray Allan is the Founder and Producer of Fond Films production company, who make Commercials and Online films for major UK brands. Ray started working at the age of 16 for Hall Advertising then Scotland’s largest Advertising Agency. Moving to London to work for major London Advertising Agencies Davidson Pearce and BMP DDB, then returning to work at Leith Agency and Faulds back in Scotland. Now producing commercials, shooting all over the world; including New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, U.S., Mexico, South Africa and all across Europe. Fond films has become one of the biggest commercial Production companies in Scotland after only 4 years in business. We are always looking to nurture new and exciting Scottish talent in film making.

Amna Saleem

Amna Saleem is a Scottish Pakistani screenwriter with projects in various stages of development. Her first sitcom, Beta Female, is on BBC Radio 4.

Amna has a background in journalism and broadcasting. Her work can be found in national publications such as the Guardian, BBC News, HuffPost and Glamour where she tackles topics such as race, mental health and culture. As a broadcaster she has been featured on the BBC, SKY and ITV amongst others. Amna also contributed a lively essay to the landmark anthology, It’s Not About The Burqa, featuring the voices of Muslim women which subsequently gained national attention for its blunt honesty and humour.

Her first ever Tedx Talk is now available online and a YA novel is expected to be released next year. She can be found under @aglasgowgirl where she regularly and unapologetically overshares.

Dr Russell Sharp

Russell was in charge of research and technical services with Chivas Regal. As Russell looked after nine malt whisky distilleries and three bottling plants, much of his research work was in establishing the contribution of oak cask maturation to the aroma and flavour of malt whisky.

Russell left Chivas to join, and save, Caledonian Brewery from closure and created numerous award-winning beer brands, but especially Deuchars IPA which was anointed Champion Beer of Britain in 2002. After leaving Caledonian Brewery, Russell and his son developed, in conjunction with William Grants, what was to become Innis and Gunn Original- a unique beer matured in malt whisky casks. In its distinctive packaging this bottled beer has won many awards for innovation, design, marketing and flavour. It has grown to become a successful international beer brand with around 60% of its output exported. Innis and Gunn is an independent family company and the name comes from the middle names of Russell’s two sons; both of whom work there.

Presently, Russell is working on a beer to celebrate the memory of John Muir (1838-1914). Born in Dunbar John Muir went on to become America’s most famous conservationist; dubbed ‘The Prophet of the Wilderness’, he is a great Scottish icon. The beer is called Wilderness Ale.