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2019 Mentees

Afia Nkrumah

Writer/Director

Afia is an award winning writer/director, currently working for BBC prime time drama series Eastenders. Afia was selected for Directors UK High End TV Scheme in 2017 and mentored by Carnival Films on their Sky/NBC period drama, Jamestown Series 2 where Afia directed 2nd Unit.

Recipient of the Jerwood/Young Vic Theatre Director’s Award and a London Film School graduate, Afia has directed several short films that have screened at national and International film festivals, including Shadow Man, supported by Film London. Afia is currently developing several feature projects for film and Television and is represented by Ikenna Obiekwe at Independent Talent.

Alison Cain

Producer/Director and Edit Producer

Alison’s 15-year career spans a multitude of genres including scripted comedy and drama – and a recent move in to documentary.

She is passionate about telling human stories and opening audience’s eyes to the big, little or incidental things in life.

Having worked on 24 Hours in A&E, Alison has gained access to tricky, complex subjects in order to sensitively interview and tell challenging stories.

During her past life, she worked at Big Talk Productions, helping to bring such programmes as Rev.A Young Doctor’s NotebookRaised By Wolves and Friday Night Dinner to our screens.

Caroline Bridges

Cinematographer

Caroline was a professional dancer before her love of visual storytelling compelled her to study Cinematography. An NFTS graduate, Caroline has shot television drama, feature films and documentaries for channels Netflix, Starz and BBC. Recent credits include second unit dailies for The Spanish Princess (Starz) and DOP on children’s drama series Molly and Mack (BBC).

You Can Tutu is a feature film currently being distributed by Netflix, and sci-fi film This Is Axiom won Best Cinematographer at the Largo Film Awards 2018 and an Award for Excellence at the Global Film Festival 2018. She is represented by Chris Smith at Independent Talent Group Ltd.

Caroline O’Neill

Development Producer and Producer/Director

Caroline is a profoundly deaf development producer and a producer/director working in television.  In 2001, she started out in production, working for prestigious indies such as Optomen (Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares), Twofour Productions (Life Begins), Remedy Productions (E4 Music Zone), Maverick TV and Resource Base (VEE-TV) and various productions for the BBC.

In 2016, Caroline moved into development with betty TV. She specializes in factual entertainment, with a particular interest in character-driven formats, intriguing twists and unique and unusual social precincts.

In 2011, Caroline was the recipient of Deaffest’s Best TV Programme for the episode of “Wicked” she directed.

Colette Hooper

Producer and Edit Producer

Colette Hooper’s TV career began as a runner, bubble-wrapping collectables in French flea-markets for a BBC daytime antiques show. 14 years later, she’s a producer and edit producer with wide-ranging popular factual experience. She’s made documentaries, formatted lifestyle series and archive-based shows for a wide range of broadcasters – covering everything from A&E to Downton Abbey; crash diets to home movies.

Colette has steered more than 20 hours and 40 half-hours through the edit, with credits including Inside the Ambulance for W, the BBC’s Great British Menu, and Channel 4’s Great Canal Journeys. Passionate about bringing history stories to life for a mainstream audience, she’s been a key member of the team behind successful history and travel franchise Great Railway Journeys, and recently edit produced BBC TWO living history commission, Made in Great Britain.

Coralie Rose

Casting Director and Founder, Road Casting

Coralie Rose has over 12 years’ experience specialising in commercials, short films, branded content and music videos.

Her work with global brands includes adidas, Facebook, Rimmel, Heineken, Unilever, Volvo, Apple and H&M.

Rose is dedicated to promoting underrepresented people in advertising, and won the Entrepreneur of Excellence Award at the 2017 National Diversity Awards.

Daisy Aitkens

Writer/Director

Daisy is a writer/director. She has written on the two popular sitcoms – My Family and Shelfstackers. As well as developing pilots with World Productions, Carnival, E4 and the BBC. she has written and directed two short films.

In 2016/17, she directed and wrote her debut feature film, You, Me and Him, starring Lucy Punch, Faye Marsay and David Tennant. It is now available on Amazon Prime and Virgin Movies.

In 2018 Daisy wrote an adaptation of A Quiet Life by Natasha Walters for Armadillo Pictures. She currently has a TV pilot in development with Expectation Entertainment.

Dawn Beresford

Head of Talent, CPL Productions; Talent Executive, Arrow International Media; Trainer and Writer

Dawn started out as a Runner for the BBC. She went on to produce, direct, series produce and executive produce shows for Channel 4, ITV, BBC 2, BBC 3 and the Discovery Channel. Dawn joined the BBC’s Factual Commissioning Department for four years as Genre Executive. She moved into talent management as Creative Executive at Shine TV, where she designed and managed their trainee programme and headhunted key staff.

As Head of Talent at CPL Productions and Talent Executive at Arrow International Media she is responsible for recruitment, talent management and training. Dawn is a diversity champion. She is a Trustee for the social enterprise Creative Access and sits on the Advisory Group for the Indie Training Fund. Dawn also delivers training for interns, freelancers and employers. She has a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism and is writing her first novel which was shortlisted for the Penguin Random House WriteNow scheme.

Emma Yuille

Supervising Producer, VICE Media

Emma has spent the first 10 years of her career producing content at VICE, growing with the company as it scaled from 25 people in a basement office to the global media entity it is today. Now working in branded content, her speciality is using documentary storytelling to bring meaning and relevance to brand messaging, creating award winning content for some of the world’s biggest brands.

Fascinated by the impact a good story can have and the myriad formats this can take, she is interested in the ways new platforms are changing how people watch and create content.

Gem Pinkney

Publicity Manager, UKTV

Gem is the Publicity Manager across Dave, Gold and W at award-winning broadcaster, UKTV. Having started at Emmerdale, Gem then moved to Hollyoaks before overseeing the publicity on some of the biggest UKTV shows, including original commissions like Taskmaster and Flack, alongside a host of US acquisitions.

Gem puts the ‘PR’ into ‘PRofessional’ and her organisation and talent management skills are appreciated by her colleagues just as much as her infectious laugh. A television junkie, she’ll tell you her favourite ever programme is The West Wing, but really it’s Grey’s Anatomy.

Gwenda Carnie

Group Commercial Director, Flame Media Group

Gwenda started her career in city law firm, Reed Smith, before moving home to Cardiff as Senior Legal and Business Affairs Manager for BBC Wales.  At BBC Wales Gwenda advised on compliance, business and legal matters – working for commissioning and production teams, across all genres and on local and national output.

Gwenda has also worked for MTV, as a freelance commercial lawyer for Lawyers on Demand, as a consultant for Welsh language broadcaster S4C and law firm Wiggin. Gwenda joined Wildflame and the Flame Media Group in 2016 and is based in Cardiff.

Kathy May

Head of Legal, October Films

Kathy is a UK qualified lawyer who has worked in both scripted and non-scripted genres. She recently joined October Films, an independent production company and as Head of Legal, oversees and advises on all commercial and legal aspects of their development, production and distribution in the UK and US.

She is currently living Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote of “Do one thing every day that scares you” and looks forward to learning from and sharing with the Women in Film and TV group. When not scaring herself, she can be found swimming.

Lynne Davison

Writer/Director

Lynne Davison is a Writer Director from Northern Ireland who currently lives in England. Her most recent short, The Climb, funded by NI Screen and BFI, received the best performances award at the FEEDback Film Festival Toronto and spent time as inflight entertainment with Aer Lingus. Lynne was part of NI Screen’s New Writer’s focus 2016 – 2017 developing her feature script, The Last Woman.

In the summer of 2018 Lynne returned to Belfast to Direct the 2nd unit on BBC2’s Doing Money. Lynne is currently a BAFTA Crew member and is developing projects for film exploring female led stories.

Malinda Kaur

Writer/Director

Malinda, from Bradford started her journey as a Runner. Working her way through the Assistant Director’s department gave her a valuable insight into the world of filmmaking.

In 2015, Malinda put her experience into practice and wrote, produced and directed her first short film Amishi. Amishi succeeded at many international festivals winning a Platinum Remi at the World Houston International Film Festival and was nominated for best director at Berlin International Film Festival. She is currently in post-production with her second short film, Blind and is working on her third short film, The Drive whilst developing her feature.

Meryl O’ Rourke

Comedy Writer

Meryl has been writing comedy for TV since the turn of the millennium, her main credits being Mock The Week and New World Order.  Meryl won the The Betty And Peter Writing Programme in 2016 to develop her own sitcom.  Meryl teaches comedy writing both privately and in university. The daughter of a holocaust escapee, she is researching the migration of her 10 great aunts, to develop her first screen drama.

Meryl is also a performer, her solo show, Bad Mother getting 5 stars. She’s written for radio having her own series on Woman’s Hour, and a Sony Nomination for her breakfast show.

Roua Alazzawi

Writer/Director

Roua Alazzawi is an Iraqi filmmaker, writer director, video editor and holder of an MFA.

After obtaining her Masters Degree in 2012, she started working as a writer working on three TV series and an educational children’s television series, she also worked as head writer for a historical crime series and as writer for a science TV show, which was screened on a famous Arab channel, MBC TV channel. She recently started working as a writer on a project with Sesame Street; aimed at the children in the Middle East (especially refugees and the displaced).

In addition, Roua’s feature film screenplay, ​Baghdad Perfume​ was selected to the Rawi/Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab in 2014. Roua was in residence artist at Leeds Beckett University where she wrote and directed a short film and was part of​ Screen Yorkshire’s Skill Up​ workshop.

Sally Smith

Director and Camera Operator

Sally Smith is a director, member of Directors UK and camera operator specialising in live programming and events in both outside broadcast and studio environments.

Covering sport, concerts, live TV shows and live links, her career so far has been eclectic since starting off, twenty years ago, as a runner on Last of the Summer Wine after gaining a BA in Media Arts from Royal Holloway.

More recent work has included Newsround, CBBC, Cbeebies, Channel 4 Racing, Watchdog Live, rugby, football and concerts, festivals and live streaming work including The Kaiser Chiefs, Tony Hadley, Billy Ocean, UB40 and Kate Rusby.

Samantha Warham

Production Accountant for High End TV

Samantha is a Production Accountant in HETV, responsible for the accurately monitoring and reporting on spend to date and forecasting the cost of the production until broadcast.  Having worked in Production Accounts for the last 10 years Samantha has been part of some amazing productions such as Beauty and the Beast and Avengers Age of Ultron.

She has been fortunate to travel the world whilst working and has worked on productions such as Death in Paradise (Guadeloupe), The White Queen (Belgium), Papillon (Serbia, Malta and Montenegro) and more recently Baptiste (Belgium again).

Sara Sehdev

Talent Manager and Founder, Core MGMT

Sara Sehdev started working in talent management in 2007.  She founded Core MGMT, a boutique client-focused talent agency, in London in 2013, where she has worked to develop a diverse and exciting list of rising actors, directors and creatives.  Prior to this, she worked at Independent Talent Group, Hamilton Hodell and Spotlight, following on from internships at the BBC at PFD Peters Fraser and Dunlop.  In the past year, Sara has started to work more collaboratively with her talent to create and produce original content for film, television and stage, an aspect of the business that is developing rapidly. Sara is a graduate of Murray Edwards College (previously New Hall), University of Cambridge, and an extremely passionate supporter of diversity within the industry.

Sarah Wyatt

Development Executive, BBC Studios Drama London

After training at Central School of Speech and Drama and a brief career as an actress, Sarah completed an MA in Screenwriting at LCC, aiming to pursue a career in TV Drama Development. Having initially worked as a Script Reader as well as a Producer’s Assistant, she worked in Development at Sprout Pictures, before joining Big Light Productions to script edit two seasons of The Man in the High Castle for Amazon and The Indian Detective for Netflix.

She then scripted edited on season two of Harlots for Hulu before joining BBC Studios Drama London as Development Executive in April 2018.

Mentee testimonials

"One of the very best things that I have done for my career. It forced me to work on areas I had neglected - networking, contact building and focusing on long-term goals - and also allowed me to meet, bond and be a part of a new network with brilliant women."

Christiana Ebohon, Director, Mentee 2015

"It kicked me into 'business mode' - my knowledge of the freelancing world and industry as a whole has increased hugely and, with that, my confidence in 'selling myself' (a somewhat alien idea to me). I have recommended it to many women and will continue to do so."

Lucy Johnstone, Sound Editor, Mentee 2015

"The scheme forced me to stop, take stock and focus on what it is that tempted me into the industry in the first place... I felt less alone, regularly inspired and positively accountable. If you get the chance, you won't regret it - SIGN UP!"

Emma Smithwick, Head of Scripted Content, Mentee 2015

"Once you go through it, you can't turn back because you've made a commitment and you're accountable to the other mentees, your mentor and most of all yourself - that\u2019s very powerful."

Sofia Olins, Director, Mentee 2015

"This scheme is appropriate to ANYONE who is mid-career and needs to reconnect with themselves in some professional way. The creation of the supportive female network is inspired and definitely the best thing about the scheme - I would recommend it 100 per cent."

Anita Gupta, Set Decorator/Production Buyer, Mentee 2015

"The mentoring scheme fosters an incredibly supportive and safe environment to openly identify obstacles (both professional and personal), push boundaries, learn new skills, ask questions and take risks."

Fleur Jago, Producer, Mentee 2014

"The mentoring scheme was really magical - it unfolded in both typical and surprising ways. I learned not only so much about the industry but also about myself. It was challenging and yet so much fun!”

Meghan Horvath, Director, Mentee 2013