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Unveiling our FILMONOMICS 8 Cohort 2023-24

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

The now well-established continuing professional development programme welcomes eighteen talented filmmakers from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as part of our 8th edition of Filmonomics.


Funded by ScreenSkills Film Skills Fund with contributions from UK film productions, the now well-established continuing professional development programme welcomes eighteen talented filmmakers from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as part of Reclaim The Frame’s 8th edition of Filmonomics.


Recruited through an open call for applications, and each in development, production or post with their debut feature, the participants for Filmonomics 8 are:


L-R Top row: Amit Kaur (Writer/Director), Amy Coop (Writer/Director), Carina Haouchine (Director), Carys Lewis (Writer/Director), Em J. Gilbertson (Writer/Director), Isa Rao (Director)


L-R Middle row: Jessica Bishopp (Director), Juliana Kasumu (Director), Kelly Holmes (Writer/Director), Laura McBride (Producer), Lotus Hannon (Writer/Director), Maja Bodenstein (Writer)


L-R Bottom row: Natalie Hewit (Director/Producer), Noemie Nakai (Writer/Director), Sarudzayi Marufu (Producer), Solene Guichard (Writer/Director), Seemab Gul (Writer/Director/Producer), Tracy Spottiswoode (Writer/Director)


The projects selected include a mix of fiction and documentary. Between the participants, they bring successes in short films and experience in working in film and television more broadly, with some bringing additional expertise including animation, art installation, photography, radio, theatre, web series, VR, and XR. Two-thirds are based outside of London, with one-third based in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales.


The training course brings the cohort together over four months, starting 12 December 2023 and culminating in a trip to Glasgow Film Festival in March 2024, involving a mix of industry panels, roundtables, group coaching and networking with the aim of bridging the gap between development and distribution.


The course will be led by Melanie Iredale (Reclaim The Frame Director) and Simone Glover (Training Manager), together with a stellar line-up of mentors and speakers, including Filmonomics alumnae. Those secured to speak on topics ranging from routes to finance through to reaching audiences include representatives from Bankside, BFI, Doc Society, Dogwoof, Cornerstone Films, Film4, MUBI, Sara Putt Associates, and Signature Entertainment, among others.



Speakers so far include:

Top Row L-R


Alison Thompson Co-President at Cornerstone Films / Allison Gardner CEO at Glasgow Film/ Ama Ampadu Senior production and Development Exec at Film Fund BFI / Amy O’Hara Development & Production Executive at Film4 / Ana Santos Head of Legal at Bankside

2nd Row L-R

Annette Corbett Leadership Coach / Cate Kane Co-Director of Global Acquisitions at MUBI / Delphine Lievens Distribution Consultant, Box Office Analyst / Droo Padhiar Head of Marketing at Dogwoof / Farhana Bhula Head of Creative at Film4

3rd Row L-R

Hannah Bush Bailey Film & Production Executive at BFI Doc Society / Julia Short Trainer/Consultant / Kate Leys Script & Story Editor / Lisa White Business Development and Finance Executive / Lucy Jones Executive Director at Comscore Movies

4th Row L-R

Mia Bays Director of BFI Film Fund / Prano Bailey-Bond Filmmaker / (Wri/Dir) Censor / Paul Sng Filmmaker / (Dir) Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché, Tish / Rachel Ramsay Filmmaker / (Dir) Copa ‘71 / Sara Putt MD/Agent at Sara Putt Associates / Chair of BAFTA

Bottom Row L-R

Shanida Scotland Director at Doc Society / Sophie Doherty Head of Theatrical Film at Signature Entertainment / Stephen Follows Film Industry Analyst / Suzanne Alizart Business Affairs Exec at Doc Society / Vicki Brown Senior Executive for Sales and Distribution at BFI



Filmonomics filmmaker bios:


Amit Kaur (She/her) Writer/Director:

Amit is an international filmmaker and director of the BFI-funded short “Cuppa Chai.” Now developing her debut feature CROWN, Amit’s interdisciplinary works explore diversity. She also produces Arts Council documentaries. Her experience spans across formats from India’s earliest web series to critically acclaimed international films. Amit is the co-founder of ARInclusive - a creative studio championing D&I in the creative industry - and is on the UK Asian Film Festival board.


Amy Coop (She/her) Writer/Director:

Amy is a BAFTA nominated and RTS winning Director, Writer & Producer working across HETV, Features and Short film, with over 20 years experience as an Assistant Director. A self-professed Renaissance Tran and genre geek, her work is often tall, genre-bending, dark, funny and deeply personal, and delves into themes of identity.


Carina Haouchine (She/her) Director:

Carina is an award-winning Scottish-Algerian filmmaker. She directed her first short documentary, Ululation, in 2018 through the SDI’s Bridging the Gap scheme. She has since worked with OTOXO Productions in Barcelona, was an SDI ‘New Voice’ in 2021 and was part of Film in Mind’s group for emerging filmmakers. Carina often self-shoots and edits and is currently working on her first feature documentary, Session Zero.


Carys Lewis (She/her) Writer/Director:

Carys is a Welsh-Canadian writer and director. Her recent TV directing credits include: FATHER BROWN, CASUALTY, VANDULLZ (BBC Comedy) and THE MURDER RETRIAL (Channel 4). She is developing a half-hour dramedy with Sphere Media, and her feature debut, BLUE MOTHER, is in development with Ffilm Cymru Wales. Carys splits her time between the UK and Canada.


Em J. Gilbertson (They/he) Writer/Director:

Em J is a trans writer/director from Liverpool. They are an RTS winning director, NFTS graduate and a Channel 4 scholar working towards their debut feature: The Pigeon Heart. Em has previously shadowed Phil Barantini and currently works as a second unit director in television.


Dr. Isa Rao (She/her) Director:

Isa is a Glasgow-based cognitive neuroscientist and documentary filmmaker. Her work encompasses observational documentary television and creative documentary, with a focus on mental health and human and non-human animal-related stories. She is currently working on her first feature documentary, FLOTSAM, which delves deeper into human-animal relationships and animal consciousness.


Jessica Bishopp (She/her) Director:

Jessica is a London-based award-winning documentary filmmaker fascinated by subcultures, myth and our connection to place. Her Doc Society supported short, Skyward, about two young bird watchers, premiered at the BFI London Film Festival 2022, was shortlisted for a Grierson Award and launched online with The Guardian Documentaries. Recently her IF/Then and Field of Vision supported short documentary, Puffling, had its World Premiere in competition at SXSW 2023, went on to win the Oscar Qualifying Jury Award for Documentary at Aspen Shortsfest and was longlisted for a BIFA award. Puffling follows Icelandic youth who swap parties for nocturnal puffin rescues in a coming-of-age story for young adults and puffins alike.


Juliana Kasumu (She/her) Director:

Juliana is an artist and filmmaker, working across film, photography and installation. By focusing on aspects of community, family archives and the significance of kinship, Kasumu looks to address wider political frameworks and explore the fragmented narratives that form her identity. Kasumu’s work has been exhibited at Rencontres de Bamako Biennale Africaine de la Photographie, Mckenna Museum of African American Art, Antenna Gallery, Getty Images Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, amongst others, with her most recent installation ’What Does the Water Taste Like?'' presented in the 2022 London Open at Whitechapel Gallery. Her short documentary BABYBANGZ had its U.K premiere at BFI Film Festival, and received the Grand Jury Prize AFI Fest, the Audience Award for Best Documentary at Blackstar Film Festival, and Best Cinematography at New Orleans Film Festival, whilst What Does The Water Taste Like?was the 2021 recipient of the Aesthetica Emerging Art Prize. Her most recent short Losing Joy premiered at BFI Flare. Kasumu is currently in post-production on her newest film Adura Baba Mi.


Juliana Kasumu (She/her) Director:

Juliana is an artist and filmmaker, working across film, photography and installation. By focusing on aspects of community, family archives and the significance of kinship, Kasumu looks to address wider political frameworks and explore the fragmented narratives that form her identity.


Kelly Holmes (She/they) Writer/Director:

Kelly's films have been commissioned and broadcast on national French television, screened internationally at BAFTA/OSCAR festivals, and she is developing her first horror feature film with Gallus Films. She has participated in multiple talent schemes including the Reykjavik Talent Lab; won the JETS Co-Production Market at Berlinale in 2021, and was selected as part of Frontières Co-Production Market 2021.


Laura McBride (She/her) Producer:

Laura is a BAFTA Scotland nominated producer and founder of Lothian Films, an Edinburgh-based production company which champions women writers and directors. Lothian Films has a diverse slate of feature films including; THE PHARMACIST and LOVE SONG TO LAVENDER MENACE, which are in funded co-development with John McKay at Compact Pictures. Laura is an Associate Producer on FALLING INTO PLACE (Compact Pictures & Weydemann Bros) and TORNADO (Tea Shop Productions).


Lotus Hannon (She/her) Writer/Director:

Lotus creates bold work exploring themes of survival, power and sexuality. She is developing her directorial feature debut, “On The Line” with Ipso Facto Productions. Her award-winning shorts have screened internationally: “Unseen” at LFF, acquired by ARTE. Her BFI NETWORK short “Re-Live” will premiere with Hollyshorts. Selected for BAFTA Connect, Lotus has directed drama for BBC1 and Channel4.


Maja Bodenstein (She/her) Writer:

Maja’s film script THE MANIKIN placed third on the Brit List 2023. She is developing original feature films with Joi Productions and Lammas Park, original television projects for Headline Pictures, Joi Productions and Studio21, and wrote the VR game THE PIRATE QUEEN for Singer Studios, starring and executive produced by Lucy Liu, which won the TriBeCa Immersive Storyscapes Award 2023.


Natalie Hewit (She/her) Director/Producer:

Natalie is a critically acclaimed Director and Producer whose work has been nominated for a BAFTA, a Grierson, two Broadcast Awards and has won an RTS Award. She is currently working on her first feature documentary – a film about the search for the wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance in Antarctica, for National Geographic Documentary Films.


Noemie Nakai (She/her) Writer/Director:

Noemie is a Japanese and French writer/director. Her latest short premiered at Sundance and was acquired by The New York Times. She was selected for the Sundance / NHK lab, BAFTA Connect, Talents Tokyo and the Focus Asia market. Her feature in development is a Nicholl semifinalist and received the main award at Busan film festival’s Asian Project Market.


Sarudzayi Marufu (She/her) Producer:

A BAFTA Connect Producer, Writer, and Director with a diverse background in Theatre, Film, TV, Community Engagement, and Training and Development Programs. As the founder of Euras Films, she champions marginalised voices, creating bold, innovative narratives that resonate on a global scale. Sarudzayi's commitment to diversity and representation in storytelling is evident in her impactful works, such as the anthology "Pieces" and the upcoming feature "Recipes for Mica Halliday." Her leadership extends beyond the creative industry, as she has a background in business development and crisis management, exemplifying her versatility and expertise in both arts and business.


Solene Guichard (She/her) Writer/Director:

Solene is a French writer/director based in Belfast. After graduating from Queens University Belfast with a Masters in Film Studies, Solene made her first funded short with BBC NI. She then participated in the Northern Ireland Screen;s New short Focus Scheme in 2018 with her film;Kelly. Her work was screened at Outfest LA, Rhode Island, Cork International Film Festival and Belfast Film Festival. Solene received funding from Future Screens NI and the Arts Council NI. In 2023, she started developing her first feature and took part in the X-Pollinator CREATOR scheme with Aisling Walsh as a creative mentor.


Seemab Gul (She/her) Writer/Director/Producer:

Seemab is a screenwriter, director and producer. SANDSTORM is Seemab's recent narrative short film as a writer/director. It premiered at Venice and Sundance amongst 100+ international film festivals. It won 20 awards and is BIFA-nominated. Her half-hour documentary ZAHIDA won the Audience Award at Tasveer Film Festival and was broadcast on Al Jazeera. With some experience in documentaries, she is now focusing on writing and directing fiction films. Seemab is an alumna of Locarno Open Doors, Berlinale Talents and Venice Biennale College Cinema. She also attended La Fabrique Cinema with her feature project HAVEN OF HOPE, which is due to be her debut. This film is an international co-production between four countries. Seemab has a BA in Fine Art and an MA in Filmmaking from the London Film School.


Tracy Spottiswoode (She/her) Writer/Director:

Tracy is an award winning writer-director from Wales working across film, animation, TV, theatre, radio and immersive XR. Her short LGBT film for BBC/BFI Network Wales - SALLY LEAPT OUT OF A WINDOW LAST NIGHT - won 8 awards internationally. Tracy created the first VR film in Welsh & English - A SIGNAL ACROSS SPACE - and is developing a bilingual western: TREMBLE.





We wish to extend thanks to partners at Glasgow Film Festival and supporters at BFI Doc Society, Scottish Documentary Institute and Northern Ireland Screen.


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