Guiding Lights 7 Mentees at BAFTA Wrap Party
Guiding Lights 7 Mentees at BAFTA Wrap Party


21 November 2016

As we welcome the new Guiding Lights 8 mentees, we look back at the highlights and achievements of the 15 writers, directors, producers and exhibitors who took part in the seventh edition of the scheme, during 2015-2016.

Guiding lights mentee Emily Greenwood (left) and mentor Iain Softley (right)
Guiding lights mentee Emily Greenwood (left) and mentor Iain Softley (right)

The Guiding Lights 7 participants were a talented and busy bunch, who within a year racked up numerous awards, along with a slew of other great achievements, including a Hollywood deal and two feature films released in cinemas this year. At times it was hard to keep up!

Having spent most of 2015 in production on their debut feature, James Spinney and Peter Middleton began 2016 with a visit to Sundance Film Festival for the world premiere of Notes on Blindness. Described by the Guardian as “Miraculous… a beautiful, accessible and thoughtful work of art” the film was released in UK cinemas on 1st July. This year also saw Mahdi Fleifel win the Silver Bear award at the 2016 Berlinale for his short A Man Returned, which was also selected by the festival as their nominee for the European Film Awards, and Billy Lumby receive a BAFTA nomination for his short film Samuel-613. Aneil Karia has been prepping to shoot his Film London funded short Switch, and Emily Greenwood has been developing her slate of features, including the comedy thriller Come And Get Me, which her mentor Iain Softley is Executive Producing.

Also contributing to the big screen this year was Daisy Allsop, whose feature Orthodox, written and directed by David Leon, was released in cinemas in February. Chi Thai’s company LightBox ranked 20 in Creative England’s Top 50 creative companies, and she will produce cinema documentary, Search for Flynn, alongside Academy Award winner Alex Gibney. Michael Ford and Brian Falconer have continued to build their companies and develop their slates, with Brian working on several projects including a documentary about artist Oliver Jeffers, and Michael becoming increasing involved in the world of VR.

2016 kicked off with the major news that Matthew Orton’s feature script Hunting Eichmann, a Nazi-era thriller about the team that hunted down and captured war criminal Adolf Eichmann, was picked up by MGM, along with another as yet untitled project about an alien invasion. As well as continuing to develop a number of feature projects, Hannah Patterson’s new play, Giving, which asks whether giving to charity can ever truly be altruistic, opened this year at Hampstead Theatre. In the meantime, Jennifer Majka’s feature-length drama, Beautiful Devils, a modern retelling of Othello, which stars Game of Thrones actor Iain Glen, is now complete.

Carmen Slijpen’s dream of opening an independent cinema in her home town of Lewes is becoming a reality, with construction of a three-screen venue that includes education space and a restaurant underway and due to be completed in 2017. Sophie Easterbrook has continued developing the programme at Farnham Maltings with a range of associated events to attract new audiences to the venue.

It’s been a great pleasure working with all the Guiding Lights 7 participants, and we look forward to watching their careers continue to flourish, seeing their stories on the big screen, and continuing to report on their various projects and future successes.

Find out more about the Guiding Lights mentoring scheme.

Guiding Lights is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, which is funded by the BFI with National Lottery funds, through the Skills Investment Fund.



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