Guiding Lights 9: New Mentees Announced

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Following a highly competitive selection process, during which more than 230 applications were assessed, Lighthouse and Creative Skillset are delighted to announce the new mentees taking part in the ninth edition of Guiding Lights, the UK’s flagship film mentoring scheme.

The Guiding Lights 9 cohort includes five directors, three writers and five producers (including a producing duo), who hail from across the UK, including Cardiff, Manchester and London, and from Dublin, Ireland. With broad experience across a range of formats including short film, features, documentary, multi-platform projects, TV and children’s fiction, between them they have received numerous accolades, including BAFTA nominations, and screened at major film festivals worldwide including Cannes and Sundance.

Lisa Howe, Creative Skillset’s Film Manager says: “Congratulations to the new Guiding Lights mentees. We are delighted to continue with our support for this world-leading programme through the Film Skills Fund, allowing the most promising of rising film talent to benefit from the advice and guidance of top film professionals. We look forward to tracking their development and seeing their films on screen.”

Lighthouse’s Senior Producer Emily Kyriakides adds: “As ever, the assessment phase has been an invigorating process, and a fascinating insight into the stories people want to tell. The new mentees are brimming with passion, vision and creative energy, and we’re excited to welcome them into the wider Guiding Lights circle, a thriving and supportive community made up of some of the UK’s most talented and proactive filmmakers.”
For this ninth edition of Guiding Lights, Lighthouse is partnering with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish
Film Board through Screen Training Ireland for a fourth time, supporting the participation of an
Irish writer on the scheme.

The Mentees

Directors – Lucy Cohen, Meloni Poole, Nicky Lianos, Sarah McCarthy, Sean Spencer

Producers – Catryn Ramasut, Dominique Unsworth, Kamilla Kristiane Hodøl & Emilie Jouffroy, Loran Dunn

Writers – Demian Fox, Harry Macqueen, John Hickman


This year’s directors include Lucy Cohen whose first documentary feature, KINGDOM OF US, launches in 2017; Meloni Poole, recipient of the Best Director Award at the Women’s Independent Film Festival, Hollywood, in 2017, for her short film TRiGGA; Sarah McCarthy, whose documentaries have been broadcast on HBO, Netflix, Channel 4 and the BBC and is currently developing scripted featureTHE SOUND OF MUMBAI with Academy Award winner James Brown (STILL ALICE) and BAFTA winner Nicky Bentham (MOON); Nicky Lianos, winner of the Sky Movies Indie HD search for a new British filmmaker, currently developing her first feature; and Sean Spencer, whose feature PANIC was theatrically released to critical acclaim, with others broadcast and distributed by a number of organizations, including the BBC, Sky, ITV, The British Council and the BFI.


The selected producers are Catryn Ramasut, a recipient of the prestigious BFI Vision 3 Award and co-founder of ie ie productions, through which she produced the award-winning multi-platform project American Interior; Dominique Unsworth who has produced more than 40 shorts and founded Resource Productions, a social enterprise which nurtures emerging talent to enable creativity and effect social change through film; Kamilla Kirstian Hodøl and Emilie Jouffroy, co-founders of Elation Pictures, through which they are developing an eclectic slate of projects, and who have between them won awards from BAFTA, Sundance, IDA, Aspen and BIFA; and Loran Dunn, an Underwire Film Festival Best Producer Award winner, and Associate Lecturer in Filmmaking at Manchester Metropolitan University.


Our three writers include John Hickman, a screenwriter, director and successful author of children’s books and TV scripts who currently has a number of film and TV projects in development; Demian Fox, a story writer, story editor and scriptwriter who has received two Writers Guild of Ireland nominations for Best Television Script for his comedy writing and who is currently developing a number of feature films; and Harry Macqueen, who wrote, directed and produced HINTERLAND, which was nominated for Best UK Feature at Raindance and shortlisted for Best British Debut at the 2016 BAFTAs, and who is currently working on his second feature and a comedy series.



About the Scheme

First launched in 2006, Guiding Lights is the UK film industry’s leading mentoring scheme, supporting emerging film talent through high-level mentoring and a range of training and networking activities.

During their time on the scheme, each mentee is matched with a leading film industry professional who provides advice and guidance over a nine-month period. The last Guiding Lights scheme saw, amongst others, Andrew Haigh (Weekend, 45 Years), Tessa Ross (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, 12 YEARS A SLAVE), Alex Garland (28 DAYS LATER, EX-MACHINA, HALO), Clio Barnard (THE SELFISH GIANT, THE ARBOR), Asif Kapadia (SENNA, AMY) and Robert Jones (THE USUAL SUSPECTS,The Constant Gardener), join an illustrious list of former mentors, including Danny Boyle, Barbara Broccoli, Hossein Amini, Sam Mendes, Joanna Hogg, Abi Morgan, Nira Park and Kenneth Branagh.

Guiding Lights is run by Lighthouse and supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds, through the Skills Investment Fund (SIF).

Find out more about the Guiding Lights scheme.

Photo by Zoe Manders