Emma Sullivan - Director

Mentored by John Hillcoat

What were your reasons for applying to Guiding Lights?

“I always wanted to have a mentor. It’s invaluable as a writer/director who spends so much time alone to have an experienced mentor’s input. The scheme is intended for people who are on the cusp of change, or have hit a glass ceiling. As a mother and female director – both of these applied to me – they still do. But meeting my mentor John Hillcoat was a huge boon for me. A supremely talented man who I have huge respect for, he’s also a kind, intelligent father who’s a great collaborator and a decent human being. So I lucked out on all fronts.”

What have you gained from being on the scheme?

“John is generous with his knowledge and we have similar taste and views on film. He’s a great disseminator of information so always has words of wisdom – even if they’re not his own. Watching him work with other people is also instructive – he’s a positive collaborator and the kind of director I’d like to be. He’s constantly creative – but makes it clear there is no easy route in this industry.

He has also let me read projects that he is working on. Being asked for feedback was a thrown down gauntlet, but I rose to the challenge and the discussion that ensued from that was great.

I want to shoot my first feature film which is a thriller and have had interest from a few parties. I am more than ready to direct long-form drama. I hope to gain the support I need from the industry to do this and I think the Guiding Lights scheme is a prestigious badge of honour to have. But more importantly than that – Guiding Lights is run by people who genuinely care about film and who properly understand the ways of the industry. They are supportive, positive and although the scheme will end for me, I know the relationship won’t. And in this industry that counts for a lot."



Sign up to our mailing list to receive regular email updates on exhibitions, events and other news.