Published on 13 February 2024 in Career

Inspire 2024-25: Meet our latest cohort

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 2024 cohort of directors on Directors UK Inspire below.

Andrew Keresztes 

Mentor: William Stefan Smith 

Andrew’s storytelling expertise stems from an interest in subcultures and marginalised communities. He has a Masters in filmmaking from The London Film School and has directed commercials for global giants. Andrew is a member of BAFTA Connect and Directors UK. He grew up in Australia, has a Romanian passport, is based in London and available to work worldwide. Andrew has two shorts in production, combining themes of how society is failing young men within marginalised communities.

“My goal is simply to put a human face on hidden populations that often aren’t humanised, so that people feel inspired to make a better world.”

Website: | Instagram: @whoisandyk

Charlotte Couture 

Mentor: Vicki Kisner 

Charlotte is a director/writer from Suffolk, now based in London. She has made multiple award-winning short films and is developing her first feature. Charlotte founded Seven Light Films, who tell stories that find hope in desperate situations, and that raise social consciousness through portraits of characters that are intensely human and often unseen. Over the next year she hopes to transition into directing television, whilst continuing to experiment with her filmmaking style on short projects.

“I’m thrilled to have been selected for this year’s Inspire programme. I am excited to take the next steps in my career under the creative guidance of the brilliant Vicki Kisner, alongside an extremely talented cohort of mentees.”

Website: | Instagram: @_charlottecouture

Chryssanthi Kouri

Mentor: Faye Gilbert

Chryssanthi is a director and writer with a background in film and theatre. She has completed six short narrative films and also works for factual entertainment programmes on broadcast TV. Her work has screened internationally, in Europe, USA and Canada, with her latest short film, Dustlight, currently in the festival circuit. As a director and writer, she loves to tell stories about relationship dynamics, transformative experiences, and unsettled characters seeking connection. She has a talent for making work that is simple and complex, lyrical and accessible, and emotionally resonant.

“The Inspire programme offers a fantastic opportunity to gain insight and knowledge from a director who’s working in the areas I aspire to. My goal is to progress towards directing fiction on HETV, as well as making my first feature and I’m excited to learn more about that landscape by talking to and shadowing Faye and connecting with the rest of the cohort.”

Website: | Instagram: @chryskouri

Dan Allen

Mentor: Rob Savage

Dan is a horror fiction director, writer and editor based in London and hailing from rural Essex. He completed his no-budget feature film, Unhinged in 2017, which received international distribution via 88 Films and eOne entertainment. In 2018, his #3MinuteHorror series received acclaim, amassing over 2 million views online. Episode one, The Mime, has since screened at BAFTA and Oscar qualifying Leeds International Film Festival, Vortex, Rhode Island international Film Festival, amongst others. Dan is currently in post for his latest feature Bambi: The Reckoning.

“I’m super excited to be part of Directors UK Inspire programme. As I work on my feature Bambi: The Reckoning, I know my incredible mentor Rob Savage will be able to help me make the best film I can, whilst steering me with career guidance after the film wraps.”

Website: | Instagram: @danallenfilms | X: @danallenfilms | Showreel

David Yorke

Mentor: Lewis Arnold

David Yorke is a multi-award-winning writer/director specialising in character driven drama and horror. His short films have gained great online and festival success, having been selected at BIFA, BAFTA and Oscar accredited festivals including Sitges, Raindance and Hollyshorts.  He has also won many awards including Best Film and Best Director at the British Horror Film Festival and Kino Film Festival to name just a few. With over 15 years of experience in short films, music videos and broadcast television, David also works as a lead creative at NBC Universal and is currently developing his debut horror feature Crave

“I feel truly honored to be a part of the Inspire program, aspiring to elevate my career to new heights. With the invaluable support and guidance of my mentor, I'm thrilled to embark on this transformative journey toward personal and professional growth and success.”

Website: | Instagram: @davidyorkefilmsEric Film (password: ERIC2022)

Henry Fish

Mentor: Chris Foggin

Henry Fish is a London based writer/director. His work has been funded by streaming services and City Councils, winning awards for best direction, cinematography, and editing. He is currently developing a feature film which has recently been awarded a development grant after the success of a proof-of-concept short film. His other achievements include being interviewed by the BBC for his filmmaking, pitching his writing at BAFTA 195, and being selected for the BFI Future Film Festival. He is primarily interested in atmospheric horror, dark comedies, and folklore.
“I applied to the Inspire program after the encouragement of my mentor, his support giving me the confidence to take this next step in my filmmaking journey. I’m incredibly excited to learn from Chris over the next twelve months and be inspired by the work of my peers in the cohort.” 

Website: | Instagram: @harryfish999 | X: @harryfish999

James Arden

Mentor: Ben A. Williams

James is a British-born writer/director based in London, working across fiction, commercials and music videos. Inspired by his formative years between sleepy suburbs in the South and industrial cities in the North, his narrative work explores modern British life through hard-hitting, character-driven stories - often dealing with uncomfortable subject matters. James’ narrative debut Leopard earned him a British Short Film Award and 1.4 Award among several others, and nominations for a Cannes Lions Young Director Award and Venice TV Award. He is currently shooting his latest short film with Lowkey Films.

“I’m incredibly excited to join the Inspire scheme - not only to learn creatively from my brilliant mentor, Ben, whose work I really admire, but to gain a better understanding of the HETV industry as a whole, and advance my career goal of directing hard-hitting drama. I can’t wait to see what 2024 brings.”

Website: | Instagram: @jamesnarden

Katja Roberts

Mentor: China Moo-Young

Katja Roberts is based in her hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne. Her passion for storytelling has found outlets in documentary, factual TV and short form drama, including BAFTA longlisted The Ball and other award-winning films.

Through her work Katja enjoys exploring the tragicomic layers of our daily lives, as well as the way we fumble beautifully through life’s big events. Her latest BFI funded short film KISS will have its UK premiere in March.

Katja’s ambition includes breaking into scripted TV. She feels excited about taking that step and the new challenges it will bring.

“I feel very lucky to have the accomplished director China Moo-Young as my mentor on this scheme. Her vast experience in HETV and willingness to share what she knows will be absolutely invaluable”.

Website: | Instagram: @katjafilm | Showreel

Matthew Sterling 

Mentor: Otto Bathurst

Matthew is a writer/director hailing from London, now based in Bath. With South African and Persian dual heritage, his projects explore identity through relationships, often coming through genre film. His award-winning short films have been selected at BAFTA and Academy Award qualifying festivals, with further nominations at the 1.4 Awards. While he continues his commercial practice, having worked for brands like New Balance and Coca-Cola, he is concurrently pursuing a selection of narrative projects.

“I’ve known Otto for a few years now, reaching out at various stages for advice as I’ve continued to grow into my role as a director. It’s exciting to formalise that relationship through Directors UK as I take steps in my career towards directing HETV and film.”

Website: | Instagram: @mattwsterling

Michael Morgan Lavers

Mentor: Eddie Sternberg

Michael is a British/Canadian writer and director living in South London. Michael plans to shoot his first feature, found footage coming-of-age film (1993 - 2021) this summer, produced by Amy Banks for Curiosity Junction. His favourite career moment to date was directing the late Robert Hardy in his fantasy short Joseph’s Reel. The short has garnered 1.8 million views on Omeleto and features in its Top Rated category on YouTube. Michael’s short The Violinist is now broadcasting on the CBC in Canada.

“I’m really excited to learn from Eddie about his successful jump from shorts to features with the heart-warming I Used To Be Famous (Netflix). Beyond that, being able to share work and network with the rest of the cohort will be a great mental boost for the year ahead. It’s really important for UK directors to talk to each other, so I’m thankful to Directors UK for having me on the programme.”

Website: | Instagram: @laversmichael | X: @michael_lavers | Showreel (1993-2021) Film

Milda Baginskaitė

Mentor: Alice Seabright 

Milda is a Lithuanian screenwriter and director based in Manchester. She has received several directing awards for her short films, music videos and micro shorts. Milda is a Berlinale Talents 2023 participant and a selected member of BAFTA Connect. A comedy TV series that Milda has co-created with Screen Yorkshire’s support has been optioned by a Warner Bros Discovery production company. Milda also directs theatre. Her hybrid theatre and film production has toured UK theatres in 2021. Milda tells stories about the underdogs with focus on the youth. She is currently in development of her first feature.

“I am hugely inspired by Alice Seabright and her work. I’m over the moon to have the chance to learn from her directing and writing up close, as well as to be part of such an inspiring cohort of directors.”

Website: | Instagram: @missmildute | X: @missmildute

Nicole Pott

Mentor: Jim Loach

Nicole is a northern director and writer. She loves to tell perspective-driven stories across a mixture of genres. Nicole has directed nine short films to date, including WanderLand, which made it on the 2023 BAFTA longlist and is now being developed into a feature film. Nicole has recently become attached to another feature film and has completed Progeny, a folk horror short.

“I am excited to work with the incredible Jim Loach and see insights of how he works as a director, and the industry as a whole. This scheme will give me a chance to step up in my career.”

Website: | Instagram: @directornicpott | X: @directornicpott | WanderLand Film

Owen Tooth

Mentor: Max Myers

Owen is a director and wheelchair user based in the East Midlands and London, working in features and TV; notably comedy and thriller. Owen’s debut feature reached audiences globally on DVD & VOD, and his shorts have won awards, screening at hundreds of festivals worldwide. Owen directed 2nd unit on Big Boys S2 and Horrible Histories. He has shadowed on Silent Witness, Jack Thorne’s Best Interests, Call The Midwife, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and more. Having been selected for BAFTA Connect and BBC Elevate, Owen also has a BFI short and a feature documentary in development.

“I am thrilled to have Max’s support through Inspire as I move into directing for TV. Max’s success (including a 2022 Best Director BATFA Scotland nomination) is the result of consistently brilliant work and preparation, and he's already given me some fantastic advice which I’ll be using on set. I am determined to redefine what disabled creatives can achieve in this industry, and demolish the barriers so many of us have faced. The Directors UK Inspire scheme is helping me do just that.”

Website: | Instagram: @toothpix_owen | Showreel | You Know the Rules Film

Plum Stupple-Harris

Mentor: Stephen Woolfenden

Plum Stupple-Harris is a Plymouth-born Director now based in London. Starting his career in fringe Theatre he has developed a passion for telling stories that encourage empathy toward those most vulnerable among us. His latest film ManMade has garnered multiple awards and been screened at dozens of film festivals across the UK and internationally. 

“I couldn’t be more thankful to Directors UK for creating such a supportive and welcoming community to be a part of. The Inspire program feels very much like the next big step in my career journey; pairing me with a Directing mentor who not only has a phenomenal catalogue of work but also such enthusiasm for sharing his experience with me.”

Website: | Instagram: @plum_director | Showreel

Raphaela Wagner

Mentor: Jamie Magnus Stone

Raphaela is an ever curious writer-director with a strong interest in exploring the boundary between realism and fantasy and using it to spotlight important themes. Her short films Saitenstich and The Draft were both selected for notable film festivals and Saitenstich was aired on Swiss Television. Raphaela went on to direct the medium-length video game Cuttlefish and completed her MA in Filmmaking with Raindance in 2023. Raphaela is now trying to take the leap into longer projects and recently won a grant in Switzerland to develop her debut feature film.

“Jamie has always been a big inspiration and I’m really excited to be part of this year’s Inspire cohort, to learn from Jamie but also grow a network of directors that push and inspire each other to create many more wonderful pieces of work!”

Website: | Instagram: @raphaelajwagner

Riffy Ahmed

Mentor: Mahalia Belo

Riffy is a writer/director and Visual Artist based in London. She trained as a visual artist at Central Saint Martins and graduated with a master's in Directing Fiction at NFTS with a full scholarship from Channel 4 in 2020.
She loves to tell stories about ‘unlikely heroes’ we don’t always see on the big screen at turning points in their lives, particularly framed around women and diaspora identities. Her work is eclectic, cross-blending between genres through visceral forms of storytelling that are emotional and relatable. She has directed several shorts and currently developing her debut feature and looking to elevate into long-form film and high-end TV.  
Her work has been screened at various Oscar and BAFTA qualifying festivals and the art world, her recent short The Call (supported by BFI.Network) starring Jo Martin and Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn is currently on the festival circuit. In addition, she was on Cowboy Films/Netflix Top Boy director mentoring scheme, shadowing Myriam Raja and directing second unit.

“I’m very honoured to be selected for this year’s Inspire programme and very excited to take the next steps in my career working in High-End TV and developing my first feature with the guidance and knowledge from the talented Mahalia Belo.”

Website: | Instagram: @riffypowerz | X: @riffypowerzz

Thomas Hescott

Mentor: Tom Harper

Thomas is a Brighton based director/writer (originally from the east midlands). In 2016 he was selected for the BBC mentoring scheme, and in 2017 he was named on the BBC’s New Talent Hotlist. He directed across two series of Call The Midwife and has previously directed multiple episodes of Casualty, Holby City and EastEnders (including a standalone New Year’s episode). In 2024 he is directing on the next series of Waterloo Road. Short films include The Act which was selected for BFI Flare, Raindance, and Hollyshorts (amongst many others) and was nominated for Best LGBTQ short at Bolton Film Festival, and The Dark Room which premiered at the London Short Film Festival. He worked extensively as a theatre director before moving into TV and film.

“2023 felt like a bit of a crossroads for me professionally, and I applied for Inspire knowing I really needed to give myself the time and space to examine both my craft and my current ambitions.”


Wendy Yee Man Wong

Mentor: Tom Vaughan

From Hong Kong and now based in London, Wendy is a Royal Television Society-nominated writer/director. Being East Asian and queer, she is passionate about portraying authentic East/Southeast Asian representation and LGBTQI+ issues on screen. She directed the film salt: dispersed which is the adaptation of Selina Thompson’s original award-winning one-woman theatre show, commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre & funded by Arts Council England. Her latest short film If You Only Knew, a story about an out-and-proud British Chinese girl’s struggle in a posh private school, is currently in post-production.

“I’m so honoured to be part of the Inspire cohort and be mentored by the brilliant Tom Vaughan. Tom is so generous in sharing his experience, I’m already learning so much from his wisdom before shadowing him on set. He also encourages me to ask him anything which makes me feel no question is too small. Under his guidance, I feel more confident in working towards directing my first TV series. Tom is the best mentor anyone could ask for!”

Website: | Instagram: @wendywong_film | X: @wendywong_film

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