BFI NETWORK@LFF 2021 COHORT ANNOUNCED

We are so thrilled to announce the 12 trailblazing writers, directors and producers selected for this year's NETWORK@LFF!

1 October 2021
By Ambika Sidhu
BFI NETWORK Coordinator

 

NETWORK @ LFF, our annual flagship professional development programme at the BFI London Film Festival (LFF), returns for its seventh year, taking place on 8-11 October.

Designed to support and inspire original and new voices, NETWORK @ LFF celebrates difference in approach and perspective, and seeks out filmmakers looking to disrupt conventions. Supported by the BFI with National Lottery funding, NETWORK @ LFF has built a strong track record with alumni establishing successful careers, producing award-winning shorts, developing features and finding roles within television and beyond.

This year, NETWORK @ LFF is focused on filmmakers with strong and distinctive voices who are pushing the boundaries of what audiences have come to expect of UK film. The 12 talented and ambitious participants, selected from 360 applications, have an impressive range of experience across film, television, theatre and a variety of digital platforms. NETWORK @ LFF will provide the next step in their burgeoning feature film and TV careers with a programme that boasts masterclasses, screenings, networking and one-to-one sessions with visiting international filmmakers and executives who are screening work at the LFF.

 

The full list of filmmakers taking part in NETWORK @ LFF 2021:

 

Reece Cargan

Reece is a producer and founder of Bombito productions, a Glasgow-based Production Company with a focus on stories from the queer community. He has produced award winning short form work and also works freelance in production on high-end film, TV, and commercials. During 2020 - 2021, Reece produced two commissions with director Jack Goessens. A documentary, 'Everyman' for Scottish Documentary Institute shortlisted for a Grierson award. And 'Who I am Now' via Creative Scotland’s Inclusion fund. This film about the experience of two trans refugees was written by BAFTA-winning writer Michael Lee Richardson with animation by Holly Summerson. Reece and Holly are working together with writer Niki Rooney on Holly’s latest BFI animated short 'Living with It'. Reece will soon be producing 'In Her Corner', a co-production with Laura McBride of Lothian Films. Directed by Emma Ramsay, written by Mikey Burnett, based on his hit stage play. Described as “Trainspotting meets Rocky” Reece currently has 2 first features in development with Short Circuit, 'A Good Spell' with Michael Lee Richardson (heading to Torino lab in September 2021) and 'Boifriend' with Jack Goessens.

 

Jessi Gutch

Jessi is a BIFA nominated Writer/Director/Producer who specialises in creative documentary, collaborating with directors from underrepresented communities, and working with NGOs. Living with ovarian cancer, she is committed to telling authentic stories about the disease. This led to her first industry commission - The Forgotten C - which she co-wrote and produced. Doc Society funded Until The Tide Creeps In is her directorial debut and her second co- written/directed film, Blind as a Beat, will premiere at Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2021. This year she started Fig Films with friend Holly Butcher and is in the middle of production on BFI Network funded Octopus. The company will continue to be female led and focus on impact-driven stories and genre-bending work.

 

Tina Pasotra

Tina is an artist and filmmaker. Her work bridges moving image, theatre, sound, dance, installation and architecture, while always centring practices of collaboration, care and equity. Through her work, Tina questions what constitutes a “grounded” body and the ways that it expresses, carries and transforms our lived experience. These concerns are often explored through movement-based projects that draw attention to the complex relationships of our bodies to domestic and natural environments, family, and the nexus of past, present and future modalities of time. Her first commissioned short film ‘But Where Are You From?’ (2017) for C4/Random Acts in association with Big Dance Shorts India was featured at the Science Museum’s ‘Illuminating India’ event and has screened at festivals across the UK and India. In 2019, Tina participated in a residency at the National Botanical Garden of Wales with her collaborative project Bloom. Tina is currently developing a forthcoming site-specific project with NBGW. Tina directed and co-wrote her debut narrative short film, I Choose (2020), which screened on BBC iPlayer and film festivals across the UK and Ireland. Tina is currently being mentored by BAFTA Award-winning writer Charlie Covell (The End of The F***ing World) through Dancing Ledge/ITV New Talent Scheme.

 

Theo James Krekis

Theo is a Greek/British writer and director. His latest short film, Pram Snatcher, was funded by the BFI and is currently in post-production. His debut feature of the same name is being produced by BAFTA nominated production company Try Hard Films. In television, he recently directed a road movie for Channel 4’s anthology series, On the Edge. His previous short, Memoirs of a Geeza, premiered at the BFI London Film Festival 2019, London Short Film Festival 2020 and BFI Flare 2020. His directorial debut, Mangas, premiered at the BFI London Film Festival the previous year. Theo is repped by Independent Talent Group.

 

Rafael Manuel

Rafael is a Filipino filmmaker currently based in between London, Manila, & Amsterdam. His latest short film, Filipiñana, has won many prizes all over the world including the Silver Bear Jury Prize at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival. Filipiñana was also nominated for the Best British Short Film at the British Independent Film Awards 2020. In 2021, he received the Prince Claus Seed Award for Development and Culture, the Film Ambassador's award by the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Ani ng Dangal Award by the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Before taking up his MA in filmmaking at the London Film School, he worked as a copywriter for Saatchi & Saatchi and as a creative director for TBWA. Rafael’s foundations are in philosophy and visual communications which he studied at the Ateneo de Manila University. His work in cinema has been featured by ARTE, Screen Daily, CineEuropa, and Variety. He is currently working on his first 2 feature films: Filipiñana with the support of the Cannes Cinefondation La Residence and the Locarno Filmmakers Academy and Patrimonio with the support of the Hubert Bals Script & Development Fund.

 

Miles Sloman

Miles is a Cornish writer, producer & actor who is currently working with producer Phillippa Giles on his original project ‘At Risk' which is in development at The BBC with Helen Black as lead writer & Nicola Walker attached. Miles has taken part in writers' rooms and ran his own for his BFI YAC Funded series The No Friends Club. His production company, Kellan Productions, has just been awarded another YAC Fund grant for a script commission, show bible & writers room taking place this winter. Miles is in the inaugural group of BBC Writersroom Cornish Voices and was selected from the Writersroom groups to be commissioned for BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. His drama Fisherman’s Elegy, featuring Edward Rowe (Bait) was broadcast in July. In 2019, he was commissioned as a BBC New Creative for his short film Anoraks which was released on iPlayer in 2020 and has been selected for LOCO Festival 2021. In March, Miles co-produced Reset the Stage for The Mono Box. Having originated the project, it saw 7 ethnically diverse writers create monologues for 7 leading theatres - including actors Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Thalissa Teixeira and partner theatres including The Bush, Donmar, Almeida & Young Vic.

 

Sophie Mair & Dan Gitsham

Horror Writer/Directors Sophie Mair and Dan Gitsham are partners in life and film. Their award winning short films have been selected for 200 international film festivals, including BFI London Film Festival, Sitges, Tampere, Fantasia and Indielisboa. Their recent BFI Network and Gunpowder & Sky financed short The Thing That Ate the Birds premiered internationally at SXSW 2021 and has gone on to win two awards and play at over 35 festivals so far including Sundance London. They are currently developing a slate of genre feature films.

 

Alia Ghafar

Alia is a Writer/Director from Glasgow, whose stories center on the lives of young people in contemporary Scotland. She has been selected for the BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew Mentorship for 2021-2022. Her Edinburgh College of Art graduation film, SALT & SAUCE, premiered at BFI London Film Festival in 2017. The film went on to screen at over 20 festivals in the UK and internationally, including Edinburgh International Film Festival, London Short Film Festival and Underwire Festival. 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. The film was also broadcast on BBC Scotland and BBC iPlayer as part of their series NEXT BIG THING, which profiles the work of emerging Scottish filmmakers. In 2020, Alia completed her second short SCUZZ, which was developed and commissioned by Scottish Film Talent Network. Festival selections so far include EIFF, GSFF and representing Scotland at EUNIC: In Short, Europe Festival.

 

Isaac Tomiczek

Isaac wants to make films that embrace his favourite characteristics from independent, arthouse, world and blockbuster cinema. His works are often borne from a desire to fuse crowd pleasing entertainment with the lived experiences of his diverse and distinctive upbringing. As a writer-director he is BFI Network x BAFTA Crew alumnus, a JBA awardee, one of twenty international writers chosen for the UGC writers campus at Series Mania in Lille, and has had work screened on Channel 4 and BBC. When he's not writing to you in the third person, working on a script, or directing, he is one of six writers for Stockroom, and a leading figure for Pocc. He is also a regular collaborator with dark matter marketing agency, BIFA voter, avid gamer, Korean cinema aficionado, and disciple of the cult of Pixar (with tattoos to prove it). He also wants to live in a world where Glow gets a proper finale. Currently, he has features in development with Joi Productions and Elation Pictures. His desert island DVD is The Incredibles. His cocktail is an Aviation. His current footwear of choice are Reebok Classics. His manor is South London. He is represented by Emily Smith at The Agency.

 

Eloise King

Eloise is a filmmaker who adopts an interdisciplinary approach to telling stories that foreground marginalized perspectives within popular culture. Her work examines institutional and cultural turning-points and the resulting tensions of “progress”. As a former Global Executive Producer at VICE she led a multi-award-winning international documentary team. Previous titles, as a director and/or producer, include: The Gatherings, Kids Behind Bars, Pins & Needles, Gurls Talk. Additionally her work has been exhibited at The Tate Britain, V&A, and MoAD. Represented globally by PrettyBird, King is a recipient of the Field of Vision grant, Firelight Media Fellowship and a Film & TV Charity’s John Brabourne Award winner. She is a Sheffield Doc Fest Future Producer, and Edinburgh TV Festival ‘Ones to Watch’ alumna. In 2021 King was selected for Netflix’s inaugural Director Fellowship. Untitled Scholars Project, King’s debut documentary feature is currently in production. Her narrative feature, YOUTS, in development with the BFI, is a surreal exploration of mental health and redemption from a society that forces young Black girls to grow up too soon.

 

Savvas Stavrou

Savvas is a Cypriot-born writer/director based in London, a Sundance Lab and Berlinale Talents alumni, and a lover of musicals. His short films and music videos have screened at festivals around the world, and even won some top awards. His work gravitates towards subversive cross-cultural stories, emotional nuances, and discovering the possibility for magic in the most unlikely of places. He was recently funded by BFI NETWORK and Cyprus Cinema for his latest short BUFFER ZONE, a musical set in an army camp about the unlikely connection between two soldiers across enemy lines. He is currently developing his debut feature and is actually over the moon that musicals are back in vogue again.