We’re excited to reveal the latest cohort of directors taking part in Directors UK Inspire, our year-round director-to-director mentoring programme.
Inspire takes place across the year and is designed to encourage Directors UK members across all genres to pursue and manage structured support from a more experienced director.
Read about the January 2023 cohort of directors on Directors UK Inspire below.
The next Deadline for members to apply for Directors UK Inspire is May 26. Find out more here.
Mentor: Alice Seabright
Alison’s focus is fiction following a background of ambitious theatre and documentary projects which embraced devising, and working with non-performers, children and other vulnerable contributors, including within the criminal justice system. Alison’s first short film, Make the Most of Me, received nominations from BAFTA-accredited festivals, and she went on to direct Camelot for the Uncertain Kingdom now on Apple TV and other streamers. She directed Love Bomb written by Sinitta Monero and is Visiting Director at the Bristol School of Acting.
“The Inspire scheme is an amazing opportunity for me to gain new insights, so I can make sure I’m taking the right steps to find traction and longevity in the industry.”
Mentor: Andy Hay
Andrew is a director who works in commercials and short films. His commercial work has been awarded by D&AD, BTA, Promax and Epica. His short films have won multiple awards including jury awards at BAFTA accredited festivals such as Aesthetica, Leeds International Film Festival, Molodist International Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, and LA Shorts.
As well as narrative he specialises in working with movement and dance.
“I’m so excited to be part of the Inspire programme and having the amazing opportunity of and being able to talk to and shadow the brilliant Andy Hay, with the aim of closing in on my goal of directing longform drama.”
Anna Fredrikke Bjerke
Mentor: Dee Koppang O’Leary
Anna Fredrikke Bjerke is a screenwriter and film director based in London. Her award-winning shorts have screened at BAFTA and Academy Awards-qualifying film festivals worldwide. Such work has garnered a Vimeo Staff Pick and a Critics’ Choice Award at the BIFA qualifying EFN Short Film Festival, receiving praise from Short of the Week, NoBudge, and Directors Notes among others. She recently served as a screenwriter for Netflix’s upcoming Midsummer Night, working alongside Sofie Forsman, Tove Forsman, and series creator Per-Olav Sørensen. Her feature writing has been shortlisted for the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition. Anna moonlights as a playwright. Her debut stage play is supported by The Norwegian Centre for New Playwriting. She holds a B.A. from Central Saint Martins and an M.A. from New York University.
Mentor: Christine Gernon
Anna Maguire is a British/Canadian director, writer and actor. Her work has screened internationally at festivals such as TIFF, Palm Springs, PÖFF Black Nights, and the BFI London Film Festival. Her short Your Mother and I was nominated for Best Short Film at the London Critics’ Circle Awards (2018). Her first feature as a writer/director; An Empty Space was selected to take part in Le Groupe Ouest’s Less is More development programme (2021) and BFI NETWORK’s early development programme (2019).
“I applied for Inspire to push myself out of my comfort zone, to learn new ways of approaching work as a director both from a mentor and the cohort, and to further develop my TV series 9 Months. All things I hope to do as the year progresses!”
Mentor: Kodjo Tsakpo
Whilst working as an assistant director and production coordinator, Catherine began writing and directing her own short films. Her work has screened at British and overseas festivals including Trinidad+Tobago, Queerbee, Film With Pride, Cardiff MFF and MIS. She recently directed a short film, PRICK, for the BBC and her first feature, KARA, is in development. She has also begun directing second unit on feature films and mainstream UK television drama.
“I enjoy drama and thrillers with plenty of dark humour. Inspire is a fantastic initiative and it’s really helping me focus on my career goals. Over the next 12 months, I intend to focus on developing my first feature film, as well as spend some time shadowing my mentor, and direct some more second unit – the year has got off to a great start.”
Twitter and Instagram: @ThatVagaBlonde
Mentor: David Allain
Christina is a female writer/director hailing from West London. She wrote and directed her first period short, The Seedlings, followed by the contemporary short Sum of My Parts. Her objective this year is to shoot a third short film as a Proof of Concept.
“I applied for the Directors UK Inspire program as I’d been looking for opportunities to shadow a director on set and throughout production. Having a mentor who relates to my current challenges and offers practical advice on next career steps is invaluable. It’s hugely motivating to have a mentor who believes in you and encourages your progress.”
Mentor: Lewis Arnold
Dann learned his craft as a DoP, working on the floor on episodic TV, feature films and commercials before moving into the director’s chair. Naturally, he has an eye for visuals, and his experience gives him a unique perspective when it comes to the complexities and demands of shoots. He’s directed numerous commercial works as well as several award-winning short films and is actively working towards a career in episodic drama and features.
“As an aspiring narrative director, I’m very excited to be a part of the Inspire programme. Hailing from a different department originally, the route into directing has been a little tricky to navigate but Inspire is the perfect opportunity to be paired with a director whose work I admire and whose career I hope to emulate. Lewis has already proven to be a great mentor, as well as helped to set up shadowing opportunities for me over the next 12 months on various TV Dramas.”
Emma Miranda Moore
Mentor: Laura Scrivano
After a successful career in photography Emma Miranda Moore turned to directing. She is passionate about making work that showcases human connection in all its forms. Her emotional and humorous films have screened at BAFTA, BIFA and Academy qualifying festivals worldwide. She has been awarded for both her directing and her writing and also directs commercials, to which she enjoys bringing her unique narrative and visual style. Over the next 12 months, Emma is excited to develop her feature projects further and hopes to score her first television directorial role.
“I applied to the Directors UK Inspire scheme specifically looking for guidance and strategy advice. I think the combination of one to one mentoring with Laura plus being part of a supportive cohort will be a perfect balance. I’m looking forward to a positive and useful experience and I hope I will be part of this scheme from the other side in the not too distant future.”
Mentor: Nichola Wong
Hansel is an award-winning fiction and documentary director whose shorts have screened at festivals such as Cannes and Norwich. He most enjoys working on accessible, artistic stories that are hopeful, multi-tonal and celebrate the nuanced, messy lives we all lead. His mentor is the talented Nichola Wong who benefitted from the programme herself.
“Through the mentorship, I aim to better understand the industry and the role of a director so that I can make the step up from self-funded short filmmaking.”
Mentor: Tom George
As a writer, Jamie has achieved the Top 10% on the Coverfly comedy short film list, shortlisted for BBC Comedy Writers Room, semi-finalist in the Shore ShortScript Competition, quarter-finalist in the Screencraft Fellowship and Top 40 at the UK Film Festival. Jamie has directed the micro-budget feature film The Grandisons, screened at the UK/Irish Film Festival in Luxembourg as well as music videos and multiple short films.
“I applied to the Inspire mentorship programme because I absolutely love directing, and I want to understand more about the craft, specifically comedy directing. My goal for the next 12 months is to direct my comedy short film, CRUISIN’ and use that as a calling card to producers and talent agents, with the intention to direct a comedy TV show or feature film. I’m so excited to be a part of this year's cohort and I cannot wait to get stuck in!”
Twitter and Instagram: @jamiebenyon_
Mentor: Tom Shankland
Joseph Simmons is a filmmaker from Yorkshire with a passion for human stories predominantly set in the worlds of Science Fiction and Horror. He tends to make work that combines his interests in philosophy, psychology, modern technology and folklore whilst striving to achieve a recognisably present day aesthetic.
“I applied to Directors UK Inspire program to learn more about how to make a career as a director and better equip myself to step into the world of directing TV. By working closely with Tom Shankland, my mentor on the program, I hope to get a firmer sense of directing process at a high level and would love to get the opportunity to direct 2nd unit action as a goal for the end of the year.”
Mentor: Vicky Thomas
Katie has worked in serial drama for over 20 years - predominantly as a Script Supervisor - and has recently directed Emmerdale.
“Directors UK Inspire is the perfect opportunity to build on what I’ve achieved so far, to learn as much as I can from my amazing mentor, Vicky Thomas, and meet new people across other dramas. I’m so looking forward to seeing what the year brings.”'
Max R Lincoln
Mentor: Lee Haven Jones
Max is an Irish/Australian director born in Hackney, with a background of ten years in the art department. His ten shorts have played festivals worldwide. His style is heightened realism with a focus on Horror.
“I applied for advice on the step from shorts to features. While also wanting feedback on how my work is developing. Over the next 12 months, I aim to start pitching my feature to execs, complete a new short and start introductions with agents.”
Mentor: Ella Jones
Maya Avidov is a writer/director working in comedy and dramedy. Since immigrating to the UK, Maya’s written, directed, and shot several short films, documentaries and music videos, and was selected for the 2022 Reykjavik Talent Lab, alongside working as an archive producer in film and TV for Netflix, Amazon, BBC and Sky Arts.
Maya’s being mentored by director Ella Jones, and is focusing on developing her portfolio, and directing and pitching skills, with the aim of taking significant steps towards directing comedy/dramedy television.
“I am particularly interested in juxtaposing genres and techniques to create a new storytelling language; utilizing my background in visual arts and archive production to expand a story’s world and its character’s emotional/cultural place within it."
Mentor: Jordan Hogg
Moritz Valero is a writer/director with disabilities, mostly working in scripted drama.
“I applied to the Inspire program in order to have a mentor guide me to step up from shorts to TV. Getting advice on career planning, negotiations, pitching as well as more on-set shadowing is why I initially applied. I am confident that my mentor Jordan will teach me how to navigate the industry as a disabled director and how to maximise my chances of being successful in making the transition to long-form content.”
Mentor: Nour Wazzi
JIJO (he/they) is an Indian-British director, screenwriter and producer. Spanning documentary, narrative, and commercial worlds their work explores contemporary culture and systems of power.
“My dream is to one day make ambitious drama and sci-fi productions that are grounded in humanism, utilizing genre as a lens for social commentary and presenting more diverse, representative, and hopeful stories that challenge the issues of our times on screen. In 2023-4, I aim to learn from a mentor who specializes in this (Nour Wazzi), while stepping up from shorts to gain my first credits within the direction team of an HETV production or feature.”
Mentor: Georgi Banks-Davies
Sebastian is an award-winning multi-hyphenate director (writer, editor, producer and photographer) with proven experience across film, broadcast and commercials. Seb has directed campaigns for brands such as Peaky Blinders, Sony, and Vodafone as well as several TV documentaries and shorts.
“I applied to Directors UK Inspire to discover as much as possible about the process, strategy and techniques required to succeed in the world of HETV. It is my ambition to move into long form HETV and I believe that I can learn a great deal from Georgi’s journey as a director.”