Guiding Lights 5 Mentees (l-r): Laura Smith, Thomas Martin, Rob Watson, and Carmel Winters.
Guiding Lights 5 Mentees (l-r): Laura Smith, Thomas Martin, Rob Watson, and Carmel Winters.

Guiding Lights 5 - Mentee Update No.3

15 June 2015

As 2013 draws to a close, we look back on the achievements of the Guiding Lights 5 mentees in a series of spotlight pieces that look at their individual stories.

Laura Smith

This year Laura has been developing her feature slate including original scripts The Girl in The Corn, (MEDIA, Producer Cassandra Sigsgaard, Executive Producer Julia Baines), Desert Song (BBC Films) and an adaptation of the award-winning novel Do The Creepy Thing (BFI). She also directed sci-fi action adventure series The Sparticle Mystery which screened on the BBC.

Throughout their discussions, Laura has hugely valued mentor Oliver Parker’s generous, down to earth and succinct insights into her work and the politics of filmmaking. When talking to us about her mentorship, Laura told us “bigger projects invariably bring more complex politics which are often confidential and rarely discussed openly. Oliver has great skill in knowing how a director can navigate these whilst continuing to realise their creative vision”.

Thomas Martin

Thomas is currently developing a feature project, The Absence Sonata, which was recently awarded the Sundance Institute Alfred P Sloan Commissioning Grant. In January 2014, he will start a stint as writer-in-residence at Le Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris.

This year has been an extremely busy one for Thomas with his TV work, including as a writer on Ripper Street, and he is now developing a couple of new TV series projects with the BBC.

Rob Watson

Next year, Rob will shoot a feature produced through Film London’s Microwave scheme, and work at Poisson Rouge Pictures as a Producer. As he continues to focus on building a slate of projects, he is looking forward to the spring release of Gone Too Far!, the debut feature of Destiny Ekaragha. Future projects include a feature with BIFA-winning writer/director Rob Savage.

Having Nira Park as his mentor has cemented Rob’s ambition to create films with a wide, universal reach. Nira has also enabled Rob to access further advice and support by introducing him to her team at Big Talk, one of the UK’s most successful film and TV production companies.

Carmel Winters

Carmel’s mentor John Madden has been enormously supportive during the development of her Irish Film Board supported follow-up feature Champion, endorsing the script, offering guidance and feedback on the planned production, and making valuable introductions to UK production companies with a view to this and other projects that Carmel is developing as both writer and director. Carmel has also accompanied John on the shoot of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel sequel, getting to know top-class HODs and seeing some of the very finest A-list actors in action.

Alongside her film projects, Carmel has also been busy with her theatre work, premiering two plays – Witness (which she also directed) and Best Man – to great critical acclaim.

Read Guiding Lights 5 – Mentee Update No.1 here and Update No. 2 here.

Guiding Lights is the UK film industry’s leading mentoring programme. Aimed at writers, directors and producers already actively developing a career in features, it provides support through high-level mentoring, complemented by a range of training and networking activities.

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