Studio CEO Sheena Morjaria joins panel of successful women in TV, film and theatre to inspire next generation of young female film makers

Studio CEO Sheena Morjaria joins panel of successful women in TV, film and theatre to inspire next generation of young female film makers

Last week, CEO and founder of boutique film studio Flick the Switch Sheena Morjaria joined a panel of seven successful women to judge the Girls’ Day School Trust’s (GDST) short film competition.

Ms Morjaria joined a panel of distinguished women, including Oscar winning costume designer Jenny Beavan and Neal Street Productions founder Pippa Harris (all alumnae of GDST schools) to critique the 38 entries from the competition. The submissions were received from students from 20 girls’ schools across the country in the hope of winning a trophy, a video camera or film editing software for their school and gift vouchers.

The competition is one of a series of activities to mark the GDST’s 140th Anniversary this year.
The competition was structured into four age categories as well as a ‘People’s Choice Award’, where GDST pupils, parents, and teachers were invited to vote for their favourite in each age group. Submissions for each category had to be inspired by, or be relevant to, one or more themes seen as central to a GDST education, including ‘confidence’, ‘courage’ and ‘leadership’.

The judges were charged with looking at how well each film communicated its theme to the audience and also considered how the creative and technical aspects of the film contributed to it, including the script, editing, direction, design and camera work.
Ms Morjaria, an alumna of Croydon High School was asked to present the award to the Year 7-9 category alongside judging the competition. After watching all the entries across the categories, she said of the entrants and winning films:

“The girls did such a brilliant job. All the films are very, very impressive particularly considering the ages of the creators. It’s very clear that every girl has their own voice and individuality – something that appears to be specific to the girls who come out of the GDST network. The girls are a credit to GDST in their creativity, confidence and independence and all the submissions are clear proof of this.”

The winners of each category were:
• Junior (ages 4-11): Kensington Prep School for ‘Blob’s Birthday’ – An animation about how a friendship is put to the test by a surprise party
• Senior A (Years 7-9, ages 11-14): Brighton & Hove High School pupil for ‘A Normal Day on the Bus’ – A Chaplin-esque film about finding romance on a bus journey
• Senior B (Years 10 & 11, ages 14-16): Blackheath High School for ‘Death for the Minnow’ – A film which explores the courage it takes for a girl to run away from her abusive home life
• Sixth Form (ages 16-18): Streatham & Clapham High School for ‘Fifteen’ – An artistic portrayal of the experience of being 15, as shown through the eyes of her sister
• People’s Choice Award: Northampton High School for ‘Reflection’ – A film about a girl whose reflection starts to take on a life of its own

Following her career as an investment banker, Ms Morjaria decided to apply her knowledge and experience of finance to film financing and in 2006, she established Flick the Switch. Through Flick the Switch, she has since produced a collection of award-winning short films and documentaries in the UK and US. Having worked with leading production companies such as Full Circle Films, and sourced finance for major films such as One Arm Bandit set to star Tommy Lee Jones, Sheena’s experience in the film industry is extensive.

Sheena gained international experience in the film business when she travelled to Mumbai and worked with one of the leading producers of live sport on Indian television, Procam Mediatel. She now works with a new breed of Independent Indian filmmakers to introduce their work to a global audience. Her knowledge of the industry made her the perfect choice to judge the short film contest.

Ms Morjaria is an active supporter and mentor for young people, especially women, as she believes in the importance of providing a support system for a new generation of budding female filmmakers and encouraging young girls to explore their talents and pursue their aspirations.

Commenting on the competition and her role as a judge, Sheena added: “Competitions such as this really bring to light the amount of talent that remains undiscovered. This is the only way to support young filmmakers and help them. There is such a small proportion of women filmmakers and producers out there, so I think that it’s important for women who are in a position to help other women to do so. It is important to provide young girls with advice and opportunities that we didn’t have. I think it’s of paramount importance to encourage young girls to pursue what they’re passionate about and follow their dreams. The GDST alumnae network is an excellent way to facilitate this; it’s what we’re here for and our doors are always open”.


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