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2020 Mentees

Alice Ramsey

BBC Writers Room Development Producer

Alice’s 10 year career spans TV and film. She currently works as Development Producer at BBC Writersroom North where her primary role is to identify, develop and introduce new and experienced writing talent to the BBC. Alice works across BBC Writersroom’s Drama and Comedy Script Room and works closely with CBBC, Continuing Drama, BBC Studios, Radio Drama, Comedy and Indies on a number of talent initiatives.

Alice began her career at the film financier Bankside Films, identifying new scripts and completed films for international sales representation.

She then moved into a more talent-focused role at BFI NETWORK and Creative England where she developed a slate of feature scripts with exciting new filmmaking talent across England, as well as executive producing short films. Alice executive produced The Big Day by Dawn Shadforth, which won best short film at the BIFAs in 2018. Alice also worked on a writer-led initiative called iWrite, introducing playwrights to screenwriting.

Bruna Capozzoli

Filmmaker & Digital Specialist

Bruna Capozzoli is a digital specialist who directs, produces and develops content connecting with audiences in meaningful ways. In her role as Advisor, Bruna helps entertainment brands navigate the challenges of the digital space by designing strategies and producing original YouTube content outside of the traditional broadcast model.

More recently, Bruna has been focussing on purpose-driven projects committed to advancing underrepresented groups in the media sector in front and behind the screens.

Originally from Brazil where she acquired a BA in Drama, Bruna moved to London in 2011 and completed an MA in Filmmaking at Goldsmiths University. She wrote and directed four short films that have been selected for several festivals including Future Film Festival at BFI (London), Say it Out Loud (Baltimore), Women of Lens Festival (London) and LGBT Torino Film Festival.

Her continuous interest and engagement in social and political issues resonates across all her professional activities.

Cat Marshall

Production Supervisor, WARP Films

Cat is a producer based in South Yorkshire, and also Production Supervisor for Sheffield based Warp Films.

Since 2018 Cat has been Associate Producer on Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the feature film adaption of the hit west end musical about a teenage boy who dreams of becoming a drag queen. Cat has worked closely with the creative team across development, casting, and shoot and is currently in post-production. The film was shot in Sheffield across summer 2019 and will be released internationally in October 2020.

In 2017 Cat produced Liam Williams’ comedy short The Coaches for Sky Arts.

Cat has worked for Warp Films for the last seven years, working her way up from intern to assistant and then coordinator before becoming Production Supervisor for the company in 2015. In her role at Warp Cat works in production across all the company’s projects from development and prep right through to post and delivery. Highlights include Shane Meadows’ The Virtues (Channel 4) and This Is England ’90 (Channel 4), The Last Panthers (Sky Atlantic), and feature films YARDIE (StudioCanal) ’71, (StudioCanal) and Ghost Stories (Lionsgate).

Claire Batchelor

Composer TV

Claire Batchelor has composed for a variety of projects including TV commercials for NatWest, Ribena, Currys PC World, Bathstore and East Midlands Trains, production music albums with music placements including The Apprentice, McDonald’s, BBC News, BBC Royal Wedding coverage, Mary Berry’s Quick Cooking, Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, The One Show, ITV News, the official 1945 feature film trailer, Original Music for The Wonderful World of Puppies’ for Blakeway Productions / Channel 5 and various short films, branded films, animations and documentaries. These include The Final Reel (feature doc) which was narrated by Sir John Hurt, EQUAL for Erica Starling Productions directed by Gillian Callan (doc short) and The Bird (short) starring Julia Davis. Claire plays all types of guitar, ukulele, keyboard, percussion and sings.  She is currently a BAFTA Crew participant and was part of the BAFTA Jury in the Original Music Category for 2019.

Emma Yap

Scripted Development Executive TV

Emma Yap graduated from the University of Cambridge in Economics before working in investment banking and biotechnology. She joined the media industry in 2013 after being accepted as a writer on the Royal Court Theatre’s Unheard Voices scheme. She has worked in International Sales at Bankside Films, Global Acquisitions at NBC Universal, and in Scripted Development for Bryncoed Productions. She is Co-Founder of Female Film Leaders, an organisation dedicated to inspiring the next generation of female executives in Film and TV.  Emma is currently working as a Researcher on the second season of WORLD ON FIRE for Mammoth Screen.

Gilberte Phanor

Graphics Editor and Producer

Graphics Editor and Producer  Gilberte is a TV news producer who has covered some of the biggest events of the past 20 years; including the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Syrian refugee crisis and many elections, both in the UK and US. She is adept at gaining access to institutions, locations and contributors.

She has written and produced documentaries for Sky, including the New York Festivals’ Gold Medal winning, Nelson Mandela: The Struggle Is My Life.

Currently Gilberte is Graphics Editor at Sky News where she is the editorial lead for the newsroom. In this role she uses her flair for creative storytelling to find ways to break down complex subjects and help develop visual conceits for major news stories. She’s also developed workshops to improve creativity in newsrooms.

Helen O'Donnell

Head of Development, BBC Studios Talent Works

Helen is Head of Development for BBC Studios TalentWorks, a content label within BBC Studios that identifies digital talent with whom to development innovative cross-media content. The label builds on her success creating contact with leading digital stars including Daniel Howell, Gina Martin, Joe Sugg, Nadir Nahdi, DanTDM and Sam & Nic Chapman.

Helen chairs the BBC Studios New Generation Board, championing youth-led thinking within the organisation and reinventing it for the next generation of producers and talent. She is an advisory board members & speaker at Viacom.

Helen hosts The TalentWorks Podcast, interviewing top digital creators about their careers, creative process and thoughts on the future of media. She performs improvised comedy with leading company Do Not Adjust Your Stage in the UK, Europe and US. Her career started in FMCG marketing, with experience of managing global franchises.

Janice Okoh

Playwright

Janice is a multi award-winning playwright.

For television, she has written episodes for BBC Doctors and CBBC’s Hetty Feather. In 2018, she took part in Channel Four’s Diversity Scheme 4Stories where she wrote the well-reviewed episode, A Mother’s Love, starring Nadine Marshall. As well as having a screenplay in development with Silversalt Films, she is developing a TV pilot with The Forge Entertainment.

Janice is also a well-established radio dramatist.  Notable adaptations for BBC Radio 4 include Maya Angelou’s autobiography The Heart of a Woman and Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses. In 2019 her original drama Red Earth, Red Sky was nominated for a BBC Audio Drama award. Current commissions include adaptations of the novels Cane by Jean Toomer and Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie.

Jemma Parish

Senior AP, TravelMan

TV Producer Jemma started out as a Runner at MTV in programmes and post-production, before interning with MTV Exit, the channel’s inhouse charity. This led her to travel across Eastern Europe raising awareness about Human Trafficking through live music events.

A move to the Midlands started her journey at BBC Birmingham where she worked across household favourites including Countryfile, Secret Britain and Points of View.

During her thirteen years in the industry, Jemma has gained valuable experience across many different genres including studio-based shows, reality and documentary, both primetime and daytime. Jemma also works as a Fixer, helping global production companies shooting in the UK.

International filming is Jemma’s passion, and she’s carved herself a niche in travelogues, producing well-loved shows like Great Canal Journeys, and Travels with My Father on Netflix.

Jemma is currently producing her tenth series of the acclaimed jet-setting documentary series Travel Man for Channel 4.

Jenny Stimpson

TV Documentary Producer

Jenny Stimpson has had an 18 year career at the BBC. Starting out as a News Gallery PA, then gaining various promotions to establishing a career as a producer/director on a broad range of high end network documentaries and programmes.  From award-winning investigative documentaries, to issue-led, character driven observational film making.

When Jenny left the BBC in 2010, she created a non-profit training organisation –Fresh Media Productions – which provided professional craft based media courses to deprived young people in Clapham, London.   With the support of PwC, law firm Hogan Lovells and Lambeth Council, the organisation was able to provide accredited training to over 100 young people.   A key achievement during this time was when the organisation converted a youth centre into a pop up professional TV studio for the online comedy sit-com Meet the Adebajos.  Jenny line-produced the 8 part comedy series – which has recently been bought by Netflix.

In the last few years, Jenny put her career to one side in order to care for my elderly mother who has dementia.  Now her health has stabilised, Jenny is looking to return to the world of work and embark on a new career in drama production management.

Jenny says she is  ‘delighted to have been accepted on to the WFTV mentoring scheme 2020.  I am hoping this scheme will enable me to make the necessary steps in order to pursue my new career goals.’

Kate Bennetts

Investment Director at Ingenious Media

Kate is an Investment Director at Ingenious Media. She is responsible for the overall management of the television fund and its investment team, which includes sourcing and evaluating television production opportunities, negotiating commercial terms with the major counterparties involved (broadcasters, production companies, distributors, soft money investors) and ensuring the legal documents for the deal financing are closed correctly.  As part of the role, she is also responsible for overseeing all aspects of the fund to ensure its successful running such as liaising with the sales team, working closely with the finance team and monitoring production progress both during production and revenue collection afterwards.

Before joining Ingenious in 2012, Kate worked at Man Investments for three years in the valuations and client relationship teams. She qualified as a Chartered Accountant at Deloitte in 2009, specialising in international tax structuring for large corporations.

Mel Bezalel

Director of Development at RDF Television

Mel is Director of Development at RDF Television, currently on maternity leave.

Originally a print journalist, she defected to TV through Channel 4’s production trainee scheme in 2010, working at Fresh One Productions. Since then, Mel’s worked in development and production at indies across documentaries, factual entertainment and formats – including Films of Record, Me and You Productions and the BBC. Her credits include: Iceland Foods (BBC Two); Karl Pilkington: The Moaning of Life (Sky One); The Met (BBC One); GPs: Behind Closed Doors (C5); 100 Year Old Driving School (ITV); The Making of Me (C4) and Hoff The Record (Dave) which won an international Emmy. Mel is a former ‘Broadcast Hotshot’ and ‘Ones to Watch’ alumnus.

In her former career, she completed a postgrad diploma in magazine journalism at City University, got a place on the BBC Magazines grad scheme and wrote for Radio Times, Doctor Who Adventures (crazed Doctor Who fan), The Guardian and others.

Mel is also a comedy nerd and is developing a script during any quiet second afforded by her (loud) baby.

Rebecca Brown

Commercial Manager, BBC Studios

Rebecca is a Commercial Manager within Content Partnerships at BBC Studios.  She manages the Specialist Factual slate.  She works closely with producers and broadcasters to acquire content for global distribution, and to help secure commissions and get commercially attractive projects off the ground.

She started her career at the BBC Commercial Agency in the Factual team, before moving back to her native Manchester to work at BBC Children’s.  She has also worked at NBC Universal within the acquisitions team – acquiring content for their UK channels, Syfy, Movies24, Christmas24 (which involved a lot of watching Christmas films all year round!) and Universal.  She is now back at the BBC, working in Content Partnerships as Commercial Manager for her first love, factual content.

Ruchika Tagore

Development Executive

I’m Ruchika, most people call me Triggs.  When I started in TV most folk had real trouble pronouncing my name, ‘Triggs’ was an old college nickname and 14 years later it’s stuck.

After studying Fashion then Law and trying out MANY careers I decided I should try and do what I really wanted to do – TV.  I worked in production flipping from editorial and coordinator roles for years.  I never really know where I fit and even left TV to become a HR Manager before returning as a runner at 27.  I’d dreamed of working in development, but it seemed like a closed shop.  Then I discovered an old boss was HoD at Thames, so I seized my chance!  I sent him ideas every day until he gave me a job.

Seven years later I’m a Development Exec and still have as much passion for it as the day I started!

Ruth Mayer

TV Documentary PD

Ruth is a documentary director who has made films in far-flung corners of the planet for the BBC, Channel 4, Guardian, Economist and Al Jazeera. She has directed prime-time hours for BBC2’s international current affairs strand This World and produced films for C4’s prestigious series Unreported World. She has worked with writer and presenter Simon Reeve in the Caribbean, Colombia and Myanmar, and most recently she made a critically acclaimed archive-based film on Venezuela. For all her films she seeks out creatively-told human stories that connect people around the world.

Samantha Fray

Programme Manager,Beyond Bronte

Sam is passionate about production and the creative arts, with a keen interest in diversity, culture, people development and raising aspirations. A mum of four amazing children she is passionate about making every life experience count. She is organised and methodical and determined to build positive relationships that embrace and deliver change.

Sam spent over 6 years at ITV, throughout her journey she worked in a number of departments and always supporting the diversity journey of ITV. Currently programme manager at Screen Yorkshire, Sam manages Beyond Brontës which seeks to break down the barriers both perceived and actual young people from the Leeds City Region may face when trying to break into the screen industries. Sam also runs a series of content called Boujie Media Presents, interviewing local inspirational people, Sam enables people to develop networks, confidence build, research and develop networking skills.

Serena Lloyd-Smith

Diversity and Inclusion – Network Specialist

Serena Lloyd-Smith is a Network Specialist who leads on the staff networks within the Diversity and Inclusion team. In this role Serena helps deliver more streamlined operations, ensuring the aims and objectives of the employee networks plans, budgets and programming meet the goals of the overall Diversity & Inclusion team.

Serena has helped drive significant progress in her role, launching the first socio-economic diversity network – RAISED (Real Action in Socio-Economic Diversity), a broadcaster first in terms of acknowledging lower socio-economic groups.

Serena has held a number of roles at the BBC, from being a Project Coordinator for the E20 Programme to rebuild the EastEnders set, to resourcing and contracting talent in Factual Production. She is also part of the RISE alumni, an in-house mentoring and leadership programme for BAME staff.

Previously, Serena held roles at Channel 4 and ITV, working on programmes such as T4, Shipwrecked and Come Dine with Me.

Sian Whomes

Head of Talent, Sony Pictures Television

As Head of Talent at Sony Pictures, Sian is responsible for head hunting, recruiting and managing editorial and production management talent for multiple production companies, across a variety of genres, around the UK.

She is passionate about creating a diverse, inclusive work environment, supporting people in developing their careers and championing new talent. She is a mentor for Iconic Steps, volunteers for a variety of talent schemes, is a regular speaker on industry panels and has launched an intern scheme at Sony Pictures.

Sian started her career 15 years ago as a runner at ITV and progressed in to Production Management working across genres including Entertainment, Comedy, Children’s, Specialist factual, Current Affairs and News.

She moved into talent management at the BBC 6 years ago and has held talent roles at Endemol Shine where she was responsible for talent and HR processes and has been a talent consultant for ITV.

Suga Suppiah

Editor

Vathana Suganya Suppiah is an Editor, born in Japan, raised in Australia by Sri Lankan parents. The multitude of cultures that she has had the privilege of being immersed in has shaped her storytelling with a strong focus on stories of cultural identity.

She started her career in factual entertainment but found her flair for editing in the world of commercials, short film and music clips in Australia. Short films she has edited have been selected at numerous festivals including Underwire, LSFF and Triforce. A documentary series ‘Needles and Pins’ was awarded by Broadcast as Best Popular Factual Programme. She has 1st assisted/previs edited on features such as Down Under and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

She was awarded Bronze at the AWARD awards for her work on the Cancer Council’s I Touch Myself project and was a finalist of last year’s Papaya Young Director’ contest.

Zoe McGivern

Head of Development/ Series Producer

Zoe’s background is in producing Entertainment, Fact-Ent and Lifestyle programming, having worked on several award-winning shows. Her credits include: Celebs In Solitary (Ch5), Flinch (Netflix), Britney Spears Breaking Point (Ch5), Billionaire B&B (RTE), Snog, Marry, Avoid (BBC) Celebrity Meltdown and GMTV.

Zoe took up the post of Head of Development at Green Inc Film and Television in 2018, where she has been developing ideas for UK, Irish and American markets, with successful commissions, and has recently had the opportunity to Co Exec one of her commissions.

Zoe is an RTS NI committee member and has mentored several up-and-coming talented individuals within the Northern Irish TV sector.  She is also bilingual in Spanish and English, and was named one of the 2019 Edinburgh TV Festival ‘Ones to Watch’.