BFI Network x BAFTA Crew reveal this year’s emerging filmmakers and their mentors

November 26, 2021

BFI NETWORK and BAFTA have revealed 20 emerging filmmakers and the mentors who have been supporting them for the 2021 BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew mentoring programme.

Now in its third year, BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew supports filmmakers working across the UK, from regions and communities currently underrepresented in the screen industries, who are working towards their debut projects in film and television. This years’ mentors are an exciting group of writers, directors, producers and executives – including 13 BAFTA winners and nominees – who will continue to share their wealth of experience with their mentees at this vital stage of their career.

In taking part, the mentees have made professional connections and gained valuable insights as they prepare for their debut feature or major broadcast commission. The bespoke mentor pairings have been interspersed with career and wellbeing coaching and accreditation to key UK festivals throughout the year for the selected filmmakers to meet and exchange ideas with one another, the wider BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew cohort, and the film industry.

Sara Putt, deputy chair of BAFTA and Chair of the BAFTA Television Committee, said: “We’re really proud of our mentees and grateful to those who are mentoring them. Crew is a fantastic resource for anyone in the industry looking for talented new collaborators. BAFTA makes a huge effort to ensure that the network is diverse and that we are supporting people, particularly from under-represented groups, to develop their knowledge and contacts at this crucial stage in their careers.”

James Weddup, interim head of BFI NETWORK, said: “Successful mentoring has the power to make a meaningful difference to careers. Through this partnership with BAFTA we are able to connect this talented cohort of emerging filmmakers with industry professionals who can provide them with bespoke support and guidance, propelling them forward in their creative journeys.”

Meet the mentees and their mentors below (in alphabetical order):

Abíólá Rufai-Awójídé (producer)

Abíólá is a producer whose recent projects include short films Motherhood for Channel 4’s Random Acts and No More Wings, commissioned and funded by Soho House and IWC Schaffhausen. In April 2020 No More Wings received the Best Narrative Short award at the Tribeca Film Festival, premiered as part of the We Are One Global Film Festival in partnership with 20 of the world’s top film festivals, and has won awards including The ShortList Film Festival Audience Award 2020 and the IMDbPro UK Audience Award at Encounters Film Festival 2020. Other festival selections include Aesthetica, Indy Shorts, Raindance and LSFF.

Abíólá is mentored by Rienkje Attoh (producer, Noughts + Crosses)

Alex Clarke (writer)

Alex is an award-winning writer. Having begun her career writing for stage, she won the 2018/2019 BBC’s Alfred Bradley Award and The New Writing North/Channel Four TV Drama Writing Award.  She is currently developing an original TV drama pilot as part of the Dancing Ledge and BBC/ITV New Talent scheme, and is lead writer on young adult pilot How To Be with Adapted Pictures (supported by the BFI Young Audience Fund).

Alex is mentored by Lisa McGee (BAFTA-nominated writer, Derry Girls)

Alia Ghafar (writer/director)

Alia is a writer/director from Glasgow, whose stories centre on the lives of young people in contemporary Scotland. She graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2017 and her grad film, Salt & Sauce, premiered at BFI London Film Festival. The film has screened at over 20 festivals in the UK and internationally, including EIFF, LSFF and Underwire. Salt & Sauce won the Scottish Short Film Award at Glasgow Short Film Festival 2018 and was nominated for Best British Short at the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards 2019.

Her second short, Scuzz, was developed and commissioned by BFI and Screen Scotland via Scottish Film Talent Network. The film recently premiered online at Glasgow Short Film Festival 2021.

Alia is currently in development on her first feature, Yellow Moon, an adaptation of the play by David Greig, with Short Circuit (BFI NETWORK/Screen Scotland) and producer Laura McBride (Lothian Films).

Alia is mentored by Laurie Nunn (BAFTA-nominated creator, Sex Education)

Amy Coop (writer/director)

Amy is a writer/director working across TV drama and features. With more than 20 years’ experience in the industry as an assistant director, she’s worked on everything from micro-budget films to major studio movies, and has directed and/or produced more than 150 shorts, commercials, promos and brand films. She was selected for the 2018 BBC/Directors UK Directors scheme which led to directing 10 episodes of Doctors for BBC One. She has since directed 14 episodes of Hollyoaks for Channel 4 and is currently in prep to direct an exciting new teen Sci-fi Adventure drama for CBBC/ZDF. She’s attached to direct three Features currently in development, and has recently written a limited series pilot. A self-professed magical realism nerd, her work is often dark, funny and deeply personal and touches on themes of identity and acceptance.

Amy is mentored by Francesca Gardiner (BAFTA-nominated writer, Killing Eve, His Dark Materials)

Ashley Francis-Roy (director/producer)

Ashley is a documentary filmmaker producing distinctive, intimate and emotionally engaging films. His debut, The Real Eastenders, was awarded the Debut Director Award by Edinburgh TV Festival’s New Voice Awards. His follow-up, Damilola: The Boy Next Door for Channel 4, won Best History Documentary at the RTS programme awards, and in 2021 Ashley was nominated for the 2021 Emerging Talent: Factual BAFTA award for his work on the film.

Ashley also produced the RTS, and Grierson award winning series Hometown: A Killing for BBC Three. He is currently directing a ground-breaking series about policing for Channel 4.

Ashley is mentored by Jonny Taylor (Original Documentaries Commissioning, Netflix)

Charlie Tidmas (writer/director)

Charlie is a trans writer/director. He received the first MA Distinction grade in MET Film School history in his specialism of screenwriting, and his graduation feature film script placed in numerous international competitions including the Academy Nicholl Fellowship. His short film Chrysalis Boy (2017) was commissioned by Channel 4’s Random Acts, and in 2019 he was selected for the BFI NETWORK Weekender. As a script editor Charlie works with a wide variety of filmmakers, focussing on diverse and creative storytelling and as a reader for international screenwriting competitions through Coverfly and BFI NETWORK’s Short Film and Early Development Funds. Charlie currently lectures in screenwriting at Canterbury Christ Church University, and is developing projects as both a writer and writer/director, including his debut short play commission.

Charlie is mentored by Gavin Humphries (BAFTA-nominated producer The CursePin Cushion)

Chloë Wicks (writer/director)

Chloë is a writer/director working across film and television. Shorts include Aftertaste, Fragile Package, Cubicle and The Wyrd. She is currently developing feature films with Escape Plan and Gingerbread Pictures/BFI. Chloë recently directed Cradled as part of Channel 4’s BAFTA-nominated anthology series On the Edge, and is in development on an original series with Mam Tor, commissioned by Sky.

Chloë is mentored by Shannon Murphy (BAFTA-nominated director, BabyteethKilling Eve)

Fateme Ahmadi (writer/director)

Fateme is a writer/director who graduated from the London Film School. She is an alumna of Berlinale Talents 2017 and Edinburgh Talent Lab 2019. Her short film Bitter Sea (2018) was nominated for a BIFA for Best British Short, and her latest short, Leila’s Blues (2018), premiered at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight as a part of Tunisia Factory. She worked as the associate producer of Coup 53 (2019), directed by Taghi Amirani and edited by Walter Murch.

Fateme was named as a Film London Lodestars in 2019, and John Brabourne Award recipient in 2020. She is currently in development with the BFI Film Fund on her first feature, Daughter of Adam, which was selected for Torino Film Lab Next 2020 and EIFF Talent Lab Connects 2021.

Fateme is represented by Kelly Knatchbull at Sayle Screen.

Fateme is mentored by Marjane Satrapi (BAFTA-nominated writer/director, PersepolisRadioactive)

Grace Harper (director)

Grace is a filmmaker using creative non-fiction to explore how socio-political contexts embed themselves into daily experience. Her films have screened at international film festivals, cinemas and gallery spaces including the BFI, Sheffield Doc/Fest, London Short Film Festival, St Louis Film Festival, The Barbican and The ICA, and have been performed as live cinema at Cafe Oto and The Depot (London). She is the recipient of a SPACE Artist Award 2021, the Points North Fellowship 2019-2020 and the UnionDocs Summer Fellowship 2020. Grace is currently in development with her first feature film, In another Life, with support from Catapult Film Fund, Points North Institute, UnionDocs, and The British Council.

Grace is mentored by Joanna Natasegara (BAFTA-nominated producer, VirungaThe White Helmets)

Haolu Wang (writer/director)

Haolu (王昊鹭) is a Chinese writer/director based in London. She is an MA Directing Fiction graduate from the National Film and Television School, and creates immersive, subjective narratives, often blurring the boundaries between reality and imagination, and her storytelling sensibility leans towards psychological suspense, sci-fi, and fantasy.

Her features in development include sci-fi love story Fellow Travellers (produced by Camille Gatin), which won Best Project at the International Film Festival & Awards Macao, Film Market 2020, and psychological thriller A Dutiful Wife (produced by Factory Gate Films), which won the Arte Kino International Award at IFFR CineMart 2021 and was selected for the Shanghai International Film Festival Pitch Forum 2020). She is also directing a block of Doctor Who Series 13. She is an alumna of Berlinale Talents 2020. She is represented by Independent Talent and UTA.

Haolu is mentored by Babak Anvari (BAFTA-winning writer/director, Under the ShadowWounds)

Joe Morris (writer/director)

Joe is an award-winning writer/director from Sheffield with a creative interest in LGBTQ history and contemporary social issues. Commissioned three times through the National Lottery-funded Digital Shorts scheme, co-financed with Screen Yorkshire, his shorts have screened internationally winning awards at various national and international festivals.

Joe’s latest short film, We Are Dancers, was nominated for Best British Short at the 2019 Iris Prize, and was highly commended by the jury. It was longlisted for the BIFA Best British Short Award and Shortlisted for the British Short Film Award at the 2020 BAFTAs.

He is currently in development on a feature adaptation of We Are Dancers with Tyke Films/BFI.

Joe is a graduate and postgraduate of the University of Nottingham and Northern Film School, and co-founder of Sheffield Short Film Festival.

Joe is mentored by Levan Akin (writer/director, And Then We Danced)

Kyla Harris (writer/director)

Kyla is a filmmaker, writer, activist and creator of The Other Screen – provocative, immersive film events that explore the perception of disabled people and the d/Deaf community. She is a member of the BFI’s Disability Screen Advisory Group, which advises on and supports inclusivity in the industry.

Kyla has been a panellist for a number of organisations including the BFI and the Hot Docs Festival, often advocating for people who share her own identities as a queer, disabled women of colour. Her short film It’s Personal (2021) was commissioned by the Film Video Umbrella and is their most viewed film to date. She is currently co-writing a television series in development with Ash Atalla and Roughcut TV for Channel 4.

Kyla is mentored by Mae Martin (writer and BAFTA-nominated actor, Feel Good)

Maria Caruana Galizia (producer)

Maria is a producer based in the North East. Her company Candle & Bell has produced 13 short films including the RTS NE award winner They Live in Forests, They Are Extremely Shy by Saeed Taji Farouky, BAFTA long-listed Mordechai by Benjamin Bee and BIFA long-listed A Six and Two Threes by Andy Berriman.

In 2017, Candle & Bell was named one of the Top 50 Emerging Creative Companies by Creative England. Maria is developing a slate of feature films including Marwell by Benjamin Bee (supported by the BFI and Venice Biennale Cinema College), Soon We Will All Be History Here by Saeed Taji Farouky (supported by Torino Script Lab 2021 and The Jordan Film Fund) and Man at the Window by Lucy Rose (supported by EIFF Talent Lab Connects), and the documentary How To Bring Down A Government, which is her first film as director.

Maria is mentored by Ciara Barry and Rosie Crera(producers, Run)

Priya K. Dosanjh (writer/producer)

Priya is a writer, producer and director from Birmingham. Originally qualifying as a barrister, she trained with the Birmingham REP as a director and dramaturg before attending the NFTS, courtesy of a Channel 4 Scholarship, where she graduated with an MA in Producing in 2019.

Priya is currently script editing a high-end fantasy series for Amazon, alongside developing a diverse slate of genre TV and feature projects as a writer in the UK and US.

She is writing a musical feature for Mark Gordon Pictures, adapting an Indian fantasy book series for 42 M&P, the graphic novel, ADLER, for Objective Fiction and co-writing the adaptation of Nazir Afzhal’s book, The Prosecutor, for Keeley Hawes’ company Buddy Club.

Priya also has several originals in development, including a supernatural neo-noir with Gaumont, a sci-fi thriller with Red Planet Pictures, a spy-fi with Parti Productions/BBC and a horror series with Chapter One.

Priya is mentored by Charlie Covell (BAFTA-nominated writer, The End of the F***ing World)

Razan Madhoon (writer/director)

Razan is a Palestinian writer/director from Gaza based in Scotland. She has a degree in Journalism and experience presenting on Palestinian TV, and holds an MA in Film Directing with Distinction from Edinburgh Napier University. She lives in Edinburgh and currently works as an associate producer for Red Kite Animation developing a feature animation set in Gaza.

Razan’s feature project The Good Spirit was developed through the BellRock Screenwriting Residency, funded by Creative Scotland, and was selected for IFFR CineMart in 2020.

She also took part in BellRock’s directing workshop led by Guyla Gazdag, Head of Sundance Directors’ Lab. Her feature script Flowers was also shortlisted for Sundance Screenwriters Lab in 2019.

This year, Razan has written and directed her debut professional short film, Go Home, supported by Short Circuit and funded by Screen Scotland and BFI NETWORK.

Razan is mentored by Dawn Shadforth (BAFTA-nominated director, Adult Material)

Ronan Corrigan (writer/director)

Ronan is an Irish director based in London, whose work has been heavily influenced by two major things: his upbringing in Derry, and the music that soundtracked it.

His narrative work has been screened at both BAFTA and Oscar® qualifying festivals. This includes the Irish hip-hop documentary Soft Boy Forever (2019), commissioned through Sheffield Doc Fest and produced as part of Boiler Room’s Webby Award-Winning Contemporary Scenes series.

Ronan has directed music videos for artists such as The Academic & The Snuts, and earned him a Best Rock Newcomer nomination at 2020 UKMVAs. He has also been working as a Creative Editor for Netflix on a freelance basis as part of their UK Writers’ Room.

He is currently in development of his first feature film, exec-produced by Timur Bekmambetov.

Ronan is mentored by Chelsea Morgan-Hoffmann (Development Producer, Element Pictures)

Stroma Cairns (writer/director)

Stroma is a writer/director based in London. Her distinctly British aesthetic draws on her childhood spent moving around England, and her work blends fiction and non-fiction to explore stories of youth and family.

In 2019 Stroma directed For You as part of Channel 4’s BAFTA-nominated On the Edge series. Her short film If You Knew premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2019, receiving the Jury Special Commendation award. It has also won Best Short at Open City Doc Festival and the Special Jury award at London Short Film Festival 2020. Most recently, Stroma has directed block two of a new BBC Three drama, and is developing her own projects for film and television.

Stroma is mentored by Aneil Karia (BAFTA-nominated writer/director, PureTop BoySurge)

Thomas McDonald (producer)

Thomas is a London-based producer. His first short film, the BFI NETWORK/Film London-funded Vibration, screened at festivals including London Short Film Festival, and was longlisted for the BIFA for Best British Short Film. Thomas founded his production company, Tedium Entertainment, with the goal of developing new and original voices, and creating honest, authentic films that offer unique perspectives. He has produced several shorts that have screened at festivals including BFI Soul, Norwich Film Festival, British Urban Film Festival and The Shortest Nights. The BFI NETWORK/Film Hub Midlands-funded Catch a Butcher (written and directed by Cassiah Joski-Jethi) is his largest and most ambitious project to date, and will premiere at the Cambridge Film Festival in November, while the BFI NETWORK/Film Hub South East-funded Jim is currently in post-production. He is now developing his first feature film projects.

Thomas is mentored by Oliver Kassman (BAFTA-nominated producer, Saint Maud) 

Xenia Glen (producer, writer/director)

Xenia is a producer at Misfits Entertainment. In 2020 Xenia made her directorial debut with Sew, a documentary about a Filipina mail-order bride, which won the Talkies Commission and the Other Brother Fund. In 2018 Xenia produced Porcelain, an experimental short that explores skin lightening in Southeast Asia. ‘Porcelain’ won the Last Word Film Fund, the Ex-Animo Fund, and was featured at the Roundhouse Festival.

Prior to this Xenia worked at Shooting People on commissions for Puma’s Films4Peace, Channel 4’s Random Acts, and she founded New Shoots, SP’s filmmaker scheme and fund. Xenia won the Film and TV Charity’s John Brabourne Award to support her slate of films. Her upcoming projects include Backbone, a BBC’s New Creative commission, Trip the Light Fantastic, which she is developing with the BFI, and her feature documentary debut Kafala – The Help (working title), which she is developing with Brondesbury Films and Misfits Entertainment.

Xenia is mentored by Katherine Bridle (Head of Film Development, See Saw)

Yolanda Mercy (writer)

Yolanda is an award-winning London-based British Nigerian writer and performer. Her episode of Channel 4’s On the Edge anthology, BBW (2020), was nominated for the 2021 BAFTA for Single Drama and a Broadcast Award, and won the Edinburgh TV Festival New Voices Award for Debut TV Writer.

Yolanda began her career in theatre, and is now developing work within other mediums including TV, film and audio. Her feature project, Prima, was recently shortlisted for the Mother Tongues Award for films not in the English language, and she is currently participating in the BBC Writersroom Drama Room. Obsessed with stories and making binge-worthy content, Yolanda is excited to be developing comedy and drama projects that draw audiences in and start a conversation.

Yolanda is mentored by Anne Mensah (Vice President Original Series, Netflix)

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