Gareth Jones is a writer, director and producer of theatre, feature film and television. He is also a speaker and presenter. With huge experience in leadership and building successful teams he is also a strong speaker on creativity. The co-founder of Scenario Films, Gareth is also an actor and academic, author of two novels and has completed a doctoral thesis on Holocaust Film.
About Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones is also a fine after dinner speaker delivering anecdotes with warmth, wit and wisdom. He has given speeches, presentations in venues as diverse as Tangiers, Amiens, Abuja. In Berlin he gave the keynote speech on the future of language diversity in European cinema on behalf of the European Commission. He is renowned for his early advocacy of cultural diversity in the media and co-founded the pan-European film training programme Babylon.
Gareth Jones came of age to the rumble of Soviet tanks as the Berlin Wall went up. He was living there as his father was the BBC Correspondent in the city. Familiar visits to the Soviet Sector, to rummage through the toys in the Czech and Polish shops, became a thing of the past, though Checkpoint Charlie was still open. Shortly afterwards he was sent to boarding school, but this did not prevent further scrapes in the war-prone India of the sixties or the refugee camps outside Beirut shortly after as his parents changed station.
Travel entered his blood stream, together with a love of theatre from his actress grandmother Athene Seyler, born 1889, a star of the London stage from 1908 and still working into her nineties, a bridge to the distant past he has never lost. Graduating with a First in Modern Languages from Cambridge, where he was supervised personally by the late George Steiner. Furthermore, he took a Post-graduate Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and an ITV Theatre Trainee Directorship with the Prospect Theatre Company. At the age of twenty-three he was directing plays by Brecht, Strindberg, Chekov and the young Timothy Dalton as Shakespeare’s Prince Hal.
In the early eighties he made his name in entertainment at Granada Television (now ITV) on the perennial Coronation St with the original cast still in place. In addition, he directed all twenty-six episodes of the classic cult comedy BRASS with Timothy West. He also created the popular twice-weekly series Albion Market as initiating director/producer, casting actors from every community in British society, a new initiative at that time.
By the late eighties his work had shifted to the BBC with his authored series FIGHTING BACK with Hazel O’Connor and SHALOM SALAAM with Mamta Kaash, which he also directed. He also directed THE TRIAL OF KLAUS BARBIE starring Maurice Denham as ‘the Butcher of Lyon’, a dramatised account of the war crimes trial adapted daily from the French court transcripts, broadcast on BBC1 barely hours after the actual verdict was returned.
His work was noticed in Cannes and elsewhere, and the nineties saw him diversifying into the markets of Continental Europe. THE GIFT OF LIFE in France and his award winning films BONHOEFFER – AGENT OF GRACE and A SLICE OF SEA, and a thirteen-part entertainment drama series for the commercial station RTL, OPEN ON SUNDAYS in Germany. He also wrote four films and a miniseries based on biblical protagonists, all shot in the Moroccan desert in 1999-2002 for the Italian broadcasters RAI/MEDIASET.
In 2005 with his partner Fiona Howe he co-founded Scenario Films Ltd, for which over a ten year period he has written, financed, directed and launched his D-TRILOGY of feature films:
DESIRE (2009) premièred at the Sarajevo Film Festival and concluded its successful festival run with a nomination for Best UK Feature at Raindance. DELIGHT (2013). It opened the main competition at the Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF). DELIRIUM (2017), in which he also takes the leading role alongside Claire Grogan, Timothy West and Mamta Kaash. Likewise it premièred at MIFF, a cinephile venue which now remains taboo for the foreseeable future. All three films were released theatrically in the UK and now as a DVD Box Set.
The D-Trilogy delves into the inner workings of the creative psyche in today’s fraught world through three contrasted media: words, pictures and music respectively. In each case the protagonist is both highly individual and equally representative of us all.
DESIRE examines the sexual origins of writer’s block in an introverted screenplay writer shrinking from human contact.
DELIGHT unveils the masked presence of delayed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in a female war photographer caught in a journalistic trap.
DELIRIUM dwells on the longing for personal recognition and creative immortality in a pop composer struggling to complete a classical Requiem.
All three share a background of current concerns, in the audio-visual, political and academic worlds respectively.
The D-Trilogy unites stars from Continental Europe with the finest British actors, exploring a commitment to our increasingly multi-cultural world alongside European film traditions, its stories told with a subversive sense of humour, a passionate commitment to personal freedom and a belief in emotional tolerance united with political resistance.
Author of two published historical novels, he returned part-time to his alma mater to brush up his academic repertoire and in 2011 was awarded a Ph.D. by the University of Cambridge for his dissertation Rites of Recuperation – Film and the Holocaust in Germany and the Balkans. This was a theme which united his early years with a lifelong engagement with Jewish culture and his more recent mentoring circuit in South-East Europe.
Gareth continues to travel widely as media and production consultant, lecturing in four languages at film institutes and academies, broadcasters and festivals.
He also lectures at Scenario’s international training programme Babylon, which he co-founded in 2006 with Fiona Howe. This has received funding from the CNC (France), FFA (Germany), Filmfonds Wien (Austria), the Nederlandse Filmfonds (NL), the EU’s MEDIA Mundus and the UK’s British Council and BFI/Skillset.
Babylon is a forum for filmmakers of diasporic and migrant cultures, holding transnational workshops across Europe and beyond, each annual edition concluding with a showcase at the Cannes Film Festival.
Gaereth has mentored filmmakers from the Balkans, the Maghreb, West Africa, India and the Middle East and worked on festival juries.
A keen rower and cyclist, he has four children and three grandchildren who are his real interest in life, besides cooking, decent wine, convivial parties and good conversation.
His current project is the adaptation of his latest novel The Bellgirl as a stage musical, with music by his producer/composer wife Fiona Howe.
Drury Lane – A stroll through theatrical London, past and present.
Dancing on my Grandmother’s Grave – A rave revue for Athene Seyler (b1889), with scenes from her hits and excerpts from her classic volume The Craft of Comedy.
Getting Lost in London Clubland – Who’s where, who’s who, who’s when.
The International Film Circuit – A force for fun, a force for peace?
The Holocaust in Film, in Fact – Key points from a Ph.D. thesis, with lessons for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in an age of recurrence.
Cultural Diversity – A personal history in practice, through the casting of plays, television and film, and the struggle for recognition of storytellers of ‘double culture’.
The mentor Thoughts for all those taking charge of others, drawn from professional experience of mentoring writers, producers, actors and crew.
Travels with my father, and with my son (or daughter…) A view on how the world of travel has changed in the last half century and how to survive it.
Bubble and Squeak A very personal digest of what goes wrong, or sometimes right, in marital and family relations.
The Permissive Revolution Winners and losers during and since the sixties, omitting nothing from the fallout.
Turn over, Mark it, Action! Individually scripted motivational speeches for businesses and institutions.
Poetry Readings From Thomas Wyatt and Shakespeare through to Dylan Thomas, with optional visual projection, commentary and verse analyisis.
Film Screenings From the classic cannon, full length or in excerpt, with optional introduction, commentary and debate.
The Making of a Film Trilogy An account of how the D-Trilogy came to be made, from concept through finance, script, shoot, post-production and launch, with screenings of all three an optional extra.
Happy Days! A digression for every celebration, each one specially sculpted.
Voyages on my Guitar Recollections of the golden age of hitch-hiking and the folk revival, with reflection on arthritis and growing old gracefully.
Previous Speaking engagements Include:
Garrick Club – Comedy, then and now
The D-Trilogy – a feature film cycle
Speech of thanks to the Club at Athene Seyler’s 100th Birthday
Cambridge University – Genre in Film
Screen representations of the Holocaust
Oklahoma University, Dept. of Film & Video – Storytelling across the Pond
University of Sussex, University of West London – Script to Screen
European Commission, Prix Europa, Berlin –
Languages through Lenses Keynote Speech –
Screenwriting in Multi-lingual Europe.
La Fémis, Paris Film Academy – Moderator, bi-lingual French/German Workshop
Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie, Berlin – Gastdozent/Regular Guest Speaker
Amiens Film Festival – Annual FADS Jury Member (fonds d’aide au scenario)
BBC World Service – Robert Redford Interview
British Council – Guest speaker. Co-founder, Marubi Film School, Tirana, Albania
British Film Institute – Babylon Burning, Host of public debate, Southbank Centre
Broadcasters: ORF (Austria), SWF and PRO7 (Germany) –
The Writers’ Room, Collaborative Motivation
Bulgarian National Film Centre, Sofia – European Co-production Keynote
Creative Europe, Bulgaria – Filmmaking for the new generation
Euromed – Maghreb-Europe, Marrakech – Project mentor/consultant
Media Mundus – EU International Media Fund Babylon International
Nigerian Film Commission, Abuja – Europe & Africa, One Continent?
Norsk Filmutvikling – Norway Film Centre – European Storytelling
Sarajevo Film Festival – Speaker/Mentor Cinelink Workshop Programme
Dutch Screenwriter’s Guild – AGM Keynote Speech, The Script – Rights & Wrongs
"Since I left you and the wonderfully constructive days we spent together… you are really present in my work!"
Marta Cicionesi, Screenwriter/Stage Designer, Sweden
"Thank you again for an enormously inspiring week and the privilege of working under the influence of your analytical mind and creative imagination!"
Siri Senje, Screenwriter and Stage Director, Norway
"Thank you very much for your input. We take your comments and advice very seriously."
Guntis Trekteris, Producer, Kaupo Films, Latvia
"Once again thank you for a most inspiring workshop (worth every stolen minute!) …you surely managed to Raise Cain."
Angela Amoroso, Project Manager, Norwegian Film Development
"Grazie Gareth. Ho proprio bisogno di incoraggiamento. Sei davvero una persona speciale. Thank you Gareth. I need this encouragement. You’re a really special person."
Fernanda Moneta, Screenwriter, Italy
"Il corso è stato un vero miracolo…grazie, grazie di tutto, non ho parole per dire grazie... le idee che mi hai trasmesso sono state come sempre un colpo di genio e di ispirazione per me.” “The course was truly a miracle…thanks, thanks for everything. I don’t have the words to thank you... the ideas you gave me were as always a stroke of genius and an inspiration to me.”"
Simona Pesciaioli, Screenwriter, Italy
"Merci à toi d’avoir consacré tant de temps, d’énergie et d’enthousiasme à mes étudiants de la nouvelle promotion. Ils en étaient très satisfaits !” “Thankyou for having devoted so much time, energy and enthusiasm to my new-intake students. They were very satisfied!”"
Christine Ghazarian, Director of the Producers Atelier/Masterclass, La Fémis
"Ich habe schon lange nicht, Arbeit so genossen, wie diese intensive Workshopwoche mit Ihnen…” “I haven’t enjoyed work for ages as much as this intensive workshop week with you.”"
Evelyn Itkin, Senior Commissioning Editor, ORF, Austria