BAFTA award-winning screenwriter and director Amma Asante MBE to become new Chancellor
Amma will be inaugurated as NUA’s second Chancellor, following the late Sir John Hurt, who held the role from 2013 to 2017.
Image credit: Joseph Sinclair
Amma’s directorial debut feature film, A Way of Life, won 17 international awards for her writing and direction, including The Times Breakthrough Award. Amma was awarded a BAFTA in 2005 for special achievement by a writer/director in a debut film.
Amma’s second feature, Belle, was released in 2014 to acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic – earning her recognition as one of CNN’s Leading Women of the year. Belle won a string of awards, including at the British Independent Film Awards and went on to become one of the most successful independent releases of the year.
A United Kingdom, Amma’s third feature, starred Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo, and was hailed as one of the top 10 films of 2016 by BBC and The Observer critic Mark Kermode. Her most recent film was Where Hands Touch, a tragic love story set in Germany during the Second World War. Amma also directed two episodes of the new series of the international hit TV series, The Handmaid’s Tale.
Amma will fulfil her ambassadorial role for NUA while working full-time on screen projects; her next film will be Cold War thriller, Billion Dollar Spy.
Amma’s distinguished screen career began as a child actress, starring in the iconic BBC TV children’s show Grange Hill as Cheryl Webb. She was among the cast members to front the “Just Say No” anti-drugs campaign of the 1980s and was among nine of the actors to take it to the Reagan White House.
Amma went on to gain credits in other British television series including Desmond’s (Channel 4) and Birds of a Feather (BBC1), before moving to screenwriting, penning and producing two series of Brothers and Sisters for BBC Two and securing development deals with Channel 4, BBC and Chrysalis. Amma was appointed an MBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to film.
"Norwich University of Arts is a truly incredible environment to foster and nurture creativity. I am proud to add my voice to theirs in affirming the message that art and creativity are essential to our culture, belong to us all and are at their most vibrant and relevant when they allow the space for a variety of voices. I am inspired by the work that the university does in collaborating with its students to continually deliver the next generation of artists, and I’m honoured to follow in the footsteps of the late John Hurt in becoming Chancellor."
Professor John Last, NUA Vice Chancellor, said: “Amma is one of the most exciting writer/directors working in film and television today – a compelling story-teller of international standing. We’re delighted that Amma will join NUA’s creative community as our Chancellor.”
Hannah Linsdell, Students’ Union President, said: “I recently had an opportunity to meet Amma and it was great to hear about her amazing and inspirational career. She is very supportive of NUA Students’ Union and the work we do, and I look forward to her being part of the community here at NUA. I am sure she will be a great ambassador for the University and I’m delighted that she is to be appointed as Chancellor.”