Screen and Film School Birmingham Adil Ray OBE Scholarship winner announced

17 August, 2021

Screen and Film School Birmingham are delighted to announce the winner of this year’s Adil Ray OBE Scholarship, Yonatan Tiruneh.

Over 60% of the new Birmingham cohort applied for the scholarship and the opportunity to be mentored by Birmingham’s Patron, Adil Ray OBE. The life changing £30,000 scholarship will cover the 3-year undergraduate degree tuition fees for the lucky student. Three of the candidates were shortlisted and the final decision was in Adil’s hands on who he could best support as a mentor and on their onward filmmaking journey. Adil was that impressed with the applications, he has generously offered to mentor two other students alongside the talented winner, Yonatan Tiruneh.

The scholarship was presented to Yonatan in-person on Saturday 14thAugust. Adil said: “Yonatan is a fantastic young man with an incredible personal story which hopefully he will get to tell one day with this scholarship. The promise he shows is incredible and it’s an absolute honour to be working with him and supporting him to tell his story.”

Yonatan’s scholarship application captured the hearts of the Screen and Film School Birmingham team alongside Adil Ray OBE. He described the hardship his family has faced and the adversity he has had to overcome. Yonatan detailed how his career goal is to one day work in the industry as a freelance cinematographer and be able to choose the projects he works on, as well as set up his own production company to create investigative documentaries about world affairs. Yonatan is already excelling in the film industry and is currently working on the new Mission Impossible film and has obtained other notable film credits.

After Yonatan was announced as the Adil Ray OBE Scholarship, he said: “When they said my name as the scholarship winner I didn’t know how to react – I was so overwhelmed. I’m stoked and super happy. I’m looking forward to going home and telling my dad and calling my mum who is currently in Ethiopia. I applied for the scholarship because it was an opportunity for me to feel reassured that my choice of pursuing a career in the film industry was right, as well as for my parents. I can now sleep happy knowing I’m doing well.”

Commenting on the scholarship, Adil said: “When Screen and Film School Birmingham asked me if we could award a scholarship in my name, I nearly fell off my chair. It’s a real honour and privilege to do this in my home town of Birmingham in an industry I really care about. If we can do whatever we can to help people tell their stories in any small way, and this scholarship is quite a huge way, then that can only be a good thing.”

Adil will also be personally mentoring shortlist finalist Anna Piggott-Reeves, he said: “Anna is a complete all-rounder for her age. She is capable of filmmaking, scriptwriting, pitching and presenting – just incredible. I’m delighted to be mentoring her.”

Furthermore, Adil will also be mentoring Fehad Rehman, he said: “Fehad is very confident, and you can see he has a real vision through his work. With the school’s support and what help I will provide we can try and realise those dreams that he has.”

Speaking after the announcement, Screen and Film School Birmingham College Principal Hannah Stevenson said: “We were extremely impressed with the quality of all the scholarship applications. It is so exciting to hear what inspires our filmmakers and makes them tick. Adil really agonised over the decision – so much so, that he has decided to mentor all three shortlisted finalists which is incredibly generous.  I can’t wait for September to kick off what promises to be an incredible year packed with talent!”

Adil is very passionate about supporting under represented students who feel that the film and television industry is not for them and that nobody would want to listen to their story, he said:

“It’s about storytelling. We want students to have the confidence, ability and the space to tell their stories and really success can come in many ways – they will get their qualifications, but the real success will be their personal development and them as people at the film school. As storytellers we’re growing up, we’re learning and building that confidence as we go. I hope that not just the three students I’m mentoring but all the students at the film school will grow up to have a better understanding of who they are as people, what differences and similarities they have with each other, and I think that’s really important.”

When asked about Adil’s interest in working closely with Screen and Film School Birmingham he said: “I’m a producer of television and film – this is a great opportunity for me. Let’s go and work on something together, let’s get your career moving, you should meet that person etc – I’m so excited by that collaboration.”

We look forward to following Yonatan’s journey as he develops his craft, explores his creativity and follows his passion.



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