On 17 January 2023, the appointment of film producer Paula Crickard as artistic director of the British Urban Film Festival was announced by multiple industry outlets.  Also announced was the appointment of Muriel Narh as lead script judge, replacing Clare Anyiam-Osigwe.
The British Urban Film Festival (BUFF) has today named Paula Crickard as its Artistic Director. Paula has worked in the film industry for almost 30 years, debuting as an award winning documentary director in 1994 with Northern Visions in Belfast. Her career has spanned a variety of roles for multi award winning companies such as Killer Films in NYC, Elle Driver & Wild Bunch in Paris and Millennium Media in LA.
Paula spent several years as head of production at Finite Films and TV developing and producing live action and animation, earning a BIFA nomination as breakthrough producer along the way. She has also worked across multiple genres as a producer and post-production supervisor on over 45 feature drama and documentaries including Memory (starring Liam Neeson) and Absolutely Marvellous (featuring heavyweight boxer Joe Joyce).
Paula is co-founder of HaZimation, an animation and gaming company formed with director Haz Dulull. HaZimation’s most recent feature animation (RIFT) is currently premiering at multiple film festivals around the world including SPARK Animation (Canada) and BUFF (UK). Paula is also Vice Chair of the Production Guild’s Northern Ireland Committee.
Crickard is the latest addition to the British Urban Film Festival team, now under the stewardship of director Justin Chinyere which has also announced Muriel Narh as lead script judge, replacing Clare Anyiam-Osigwe who has been directing episodes on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks since August 2022.
Commenting on the announcement, BUFF Festival Director Justin Chinyere said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Paula Crickard as Artistic Director for the British Urban Film Festival. Paula’s experience in the industry and knowledge will definitely help us to push past the ceiling to the next level of where BUFF should be. I’m very excited to see what the future holds and what great ideas we will implement going forward with Paula’s assistance.”
Paula Crickard said: “My first feature Calloused Hands with Andre Royo premiered at BUFF in 2013. Over 30 films later RIFT, my animated feature with HaZ Dulull, premiered here. BUFF grows talent and I am honoured to join the team of such an important film festival. It will be a pleasure to ensure the rest of the world knows what BAFTA and BIFA discovered a while ago, that BUFF is the real deal!”
In her role as Artistic Director, Crickard will assume responsibility for conceiving, developing, and implementing the artistic and commercial vision of BUFF as it approaches its 20th anniversary in 2025.