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BFI Network x BAFTA Crew reveal 2020 mentors and mentees

14 May 2020
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Programme provides 16 emerging UK filmmakers with mentoring from industry professionals

Mentors include Nia DaCosta, Sarah Asante, Becky Martin, Bart Layton, Michael Pearce, and Kirstie Swain  

The successful BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew Mentoring programme returns for a second year, with the support of National Lottery funding. The partnership sees 16 emerging filmmakers from under-represented groups, paired with a senior figure from film and television, selected to provide bespoke support, advice and guidance for each filmmaker as they work toward their first feature or major broadcast/online commission.

This year’s mentors, many of whom are BAFTA winners and nominees, include director Becky Martin (Succession, Veep), writer/directors Nia DaCosta (Candyman) and Bart Layton (American Animals), screenwriter Stephen Beresford (Pride), producer Zorana Piggott (Fanny Lye Deliver’d), and producing team Mike Brett and Steve Jamison (Notes on Blindness), Sarah Asante, Commissioning Editor for BBC Comedy, and BAFTA Breakthroughs director Michael Pearce (Beast) and screenwriter Kirstie Swain (Run).

The mentoring relationships form part of the wider BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew programme of events and networking opportunities for emerging talent to connect with one another and the wider industry. The year round professional development programme is currently supporting 800 talented individuals as they progress in the industry, with mentoring sessions taking place digitally, in line with BFI NETWORK and BAFTA’s commitment to continuing to support talent throughout the lockdown.

Jessica Loveland, Head of BFI NETWORK, said: “The partnership with BAFTA provides an opportunity to offer emerging filmmakers unique support and guidance from industry professionals at a crucial time in their careers. This year’s cohort are extremely talented and have great potential, and I’m looking forward to seeing how their careers progress in the months and years to come. Huge thanks too, to this wonderful roll call of mentors for giving up their time and generously sharing the benefits of their experience.”

Katie Campbell, Head of New Talent at BAFTA, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the BFI once-again to bring these incredibly exciting filmmakers into the spotlight. The mentoring relationships are hugely important to creative and professional development, making meaningful connections to move their careers forward. We encourage the industry to get to know these talented filmmakers and I can’t wait to see the wonderful work they produce in the years to come.”

Applications for BFI Network x BAFTA Crew 2021, including the mentoring programme, will open later this year. To register your interest go to

BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew 2020 mentees and their mentors (in alphabetical order):

Alice Russell (director)

Alice is a documentary filmmaker based in London. Her shorts include Men Buy Sex and Agents of Change. Her feature documentary, If the Streets Were On Fire, is currently in development with BFI Doc Society Fund, and was selected for CPH:Forum 2020.

Mentor: Penny Woolcock (BAFTA-nominated director, Tina Goes Shopping, From the Sea to the Land Beyond)

Alice Seabright (writer/director)

Alice is a writer/director based in London. Her shorts include Pregnant Pause and End-O. She has directed episodes of Netflix’s Sex Education, and her original series, Chloe, was recently commissioned by BBC One.

Mentor: Sarah Asante (Commissioning Editor, Comedy, BBC)

Carys Lewis (writer/director)

Carys is a Werlsh-Canadian writer/director. Her shorts include Gram Girl, ALT and Fluorescence (as Filmmaker in Residence at Welsh National Opera), Stuffed and Afiach. She currently has two features in development with Telefilm Canada and Ffilm Cymru Wales.

Mentor: Loran Dunn (producer, A Deal with the Universe)

Cecile Emeke (writer/director)

Cecile is a writer/director based in London. Her short form work includes Ackee & Saltfish (which she developed into the webseries of the same name), The Ancestors Came, and the series Strolling. She has directed on HBO’s Insecure and Sky Comedy’s In the Long Run, and her first feature is currently in development with BBC Films. 

Mentor: Nia DaCosta (writer/director, Top Boy, Candyman)

Ella Jones (director)

Ella is a London-based director. Her shorts include Sarah Chong Is Going To Kill Herself and Foot in Mouth. She has recently directed Fully Blown and the second series of Enterprice, both for BBC Three. Her first feature is currently in development with Film4. 

Mentor: Becky Martin (BAFTA-winning director, Succession, Peep Show, Veep)

Georgina French (producer)

Georgina’s shorts include What Happened to Evie and Blue Room, both directed by Kate Cheeseman, and Nothing Important, directed by Tara Fitzgerald and based on the short story ‘Trial by Combat’ by Shirley Jackson. She is currently developing her feature slate through her company French Fancy Productions, including Valerie & Me, selected for this year’s EIFF Talent Lab Connects.

Mentor: Rachel Robey (BAFTA Scotland-winning producer, The Levelling)

Jack Benjamin Gill (writer/director)

Jack’s shorts include Lambing Season, Doggerland and A Life Hereafter (commissioned by Random Acts and later acquired by Channel 4). Jack is currently in development on a feature adaptation of Lambing Season with the BFI. 

Mentor: Michael Pearce (BAFTA-winning writer/director, Beast)

Jayisha Patel (writer/director)

Jayisha’s VR and short form work includes A Paradise, Notes to My Father and Circle, which premiered at the Berlinale and Toronto International Festival Festival. She is currently an Artist in Residence at Somerset House where she is developing her debut feature, Amazon.   

Mentor: Bart Layton (BAFTA-winning writer/director, The Imposter, American Animals)

Jen Corcoran (producer)

Teesside-based producer Jen is currently in post-production on feature documentary Nascondino with the BFI Doc Society Fund and in development on The Tulip Touch, selected for this year’s EIFF Talent Lab Connects. Formerly Head of Film at My Accomplice (The Quiet One, The Great Hack), Jen’s short films include To The Front, Loud Places and Land’s End.

Mentor: Zorana Piggott (producer, Fanny Lye Deliver’d, Couple in a Hole)

John Hickman (writer)

John is a North Shields-based writer. His shorts include Akita and Collection Only. He has written for shows such as Eastenders and The Dumping Ground, and is developing several projects, including The Wild for television, and Lost Ones, a feature film with the BFI.

Mentor: Matthew James Wilkinson (producer, Yesterday, Days of Bagnold Summer)

Kate Stonehill (director)

Kate’s short documentaries include Grierson Award-winning Fake News Fairytale, Unspeakable, and the recently completed Mother. She is currently in development on her first feature. 

Mentor: Marc Silver (director, 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets)

Lauren Parker (producer)

Lauren is a Midlands-based producer. Her shorts include Wash Club, Night Owls and the recently completed Majority. Lauren is currently developing a slate of shorts and features through her company Kato Pictures, including a feature adaptation of Wash Club.

Mentor: Camille Gatin (BAFTA-nominated producer, The Girl with All the Gifts)

Lydia Rynne (writer) 

Lydia is an alumnus of the Royal Court and Soho Theatre writers' groups and her produced plays include Hear Me Howl and The Buzz. She is currently writing a VR animation for NoGhost, is script editor on comedian Jack Barry's pilot Legal Alien and is developing original TV and film projects including Living Wild (winner of Funny Women Writing Award 2019) and a young adult musical comedy series with producer Laura Jackson.

Mentor: Kirstie Swain (BAFTA Breakthrough Brit, writer, Pure, Run)

Mototake Makishima (writer/director)

Mototake’s shorts include In Anna’s Shadow, One Day, Tuttavia and London Rolling. He has exhibited at Sketch London, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Here Arts Center in New York City, the CCCB in Barcelona and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. He is currently developing his first feature, My True Identity.

Mentors: Mike Brett & Steve Jamison (Archer’s Mark) (BAFTA-nominated producers, Notes on Blindness) 

Peter Darney (writer/director)

Peter is a Welsh writer/director. His credits as playwright include the acclaimed 5 Guys Chillin', A Tidy Boy and adaptions of Moondial and The Revenger's Tragedy. His recent directing credits include Spy Plays, Mysterious Skin, The Drag, Kindness (BBC Radio 4) and Signal Failure (SoHo Playhouse New York) He is currently in development on several feature projects including Clapham Trashbag (a feature adaptation of 5 Guys Chillin') with Ffilm Cymru Wales.

Mentor: Stephen Beresford (BAFTA-winning writer, Pride)

Sarah Page (writer)

Sarah is a London-based writer. Her plays include Punts, The Sweethearts and Pilgrims. She is an alumnus of Channel 4 Talent's 4Screenwriting and the BBC’s Drama Writers’ Programme. Her debut feature film Losers Weepers is currently in production and she is developing eight original television projects, including Ugly for BBC Three and The Listener for ITV.

Mentor: Sarah Quintrell (BAFTA-nominated writer, Ellen, The Trial: A Murder in the Family)

Press contact

Colette Geraghty, Senior PR Manager, Corporate, Industry and Partnerships, BFI [email protected] / 020 7173 3256 / 07957 864 362


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For advice and inspiration from the best creative minds in working in film, games and television, visit For more, visit


Made possible through National Lottery funding, BFI NETWORK exists to discover and support talented writers, directors and producers at the start of their careers. We collaborate with film organisations and leading cultural venues across the UK to provide funding for short films, support for the development of first features, as well as a range of professional and creative development programmes.

Find out more and watch supported work:  @bfinetwork

The BFI is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image. It is a distributor of National Lottery funding and a cultural charity that:

Curates and presents the greatest international public programme of world cinema for audiences; in cinemas, at festivals and online
Cares for the BFI National Archive – the most significant film and television archive in the world
Actively seeks out and supports the next generation of filmmakers
Works with Government and industry to make the UK the most creatively exciting and prosperous place to make film internationally

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.