Mentors Tessa Ross, Andrew Haigh and Moira Buffini Join Guiding Lights 8

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Guiding Lights, the UK film industry’s leading mentoring scheme, announced the latest cohort of prestigious mentors. Luminaries in British cinema, including director Andrew Haigh (45 YEARS, WEEKEND), producer Tessa Ross (ROOM, EX MACHINA), writer Moira Buffini (JANE EYRE, BYZANTIUM), and exhibition professional Alice Cabanas (Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival), are amongst those to support this edition’s seventeen mentees to develop and progress in their careers.

The mentors bring with them a diverse range of skills and expertise to share with our ambitious group of mentees, gained through working on highly-acclaimed and BAFTA and Oscar award-winning projects that span fiction, documentary and film exhibition.

Sponsoring the programme for a sixth year, Danny Perkins CEO UK, STUDIOCANAL says: “We are incredibly proud to continue our partnership with the Guiding Lights programme. Identifying and nurturing upcoming talent is integral to our work in UK production and distribution and has proven to be vital in developing long-term creative relationships with filmmakers. We have enjoyed collaborating with a number of Guiding Lights alumni over the years who have benefited from the first-rate mentorship that the scheme offers and look forward to seeing how this year’s graduates help shape the future of the British film industry.”

Underscoring the value and rewards of taking part as a mentor, we are proud that for this edition we are introducing eight new mentors, and welcoming back others for a second or third time.

New mentor Andrew Haigh and mentee Lindsey Dryden tell us about their experience of the scheme and working together so far.

Andrew Haigh: “It can be a hard and lonely battle trying to develop a film career and so being able to sit down and discuss the ups and downs of it all is vital. I hope my advice has been useful to Lindsey, because her passion for what she does has certainly been inspiring to me.”

Lindsey Dryden: “It’s been extraordinary for me as a director to have the chance to talk deeply about storytelling, craft and survival strategies with Andrew. I chose him as my mentor because I wanted to learn from his sophisticated emotional storytelling, and discover how he creates such delicately balanced and richly intimate films. Andrew’s films are, for me, the very best storytelling coming out of the UK. That he’s also so generous and thoughtful as a mentor has been a total privilege, and I come away from each meeting invigorated and full of new ideas. It’s been one of the very best experiences of my career.”

James Marsh, who previously mentored Eva Weber, director of multi-award-winning documentary THE SOLITARY LIFE OF CRANES, and Michael Pearce, who in 2016 shot his debut feature, BEAST, explains why he has returned for a third time to mentor Julia Stovell: “I find mentoring emerging filmmakers very rewarding. It makes you think about how you go about your own work. It feels like an important responsibility – to try and pass on ideas, principles and techniques to a new generation. Certainly in my case, my career was helped enormously by experienced filmmakers who generously helped and encouraged me when I started out.

Working with Julia has been a real pleasure. She has two fascinating projects on the go and they have developed nicely since we started meeting. She is a very promising filmmaker with a good sense of visual storytelling.”

After selecting the mentees in 2016, Lighthouse can now announce the pairings:



Pippa Harris (REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, AWAY WE GO) with Lizzie Brown

Amanda Posey (AN EDUCATION, BROOKLYN) with Ohna Falby

Tessa Ross (ROOM, EX MACHINA) with Sarah Brocklehurst


Clio Barnard (THE ARBOR, THE SELFISH GIANT) with Aleem Khan

James Marsh (THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, MAN ON WIRE) with Julia Stovell

Andrew Haigh (45 YEARS, WEEKEND) with Lindsey Dryden

Mentor to be announced / Baff Akoto

Mentor to be announced / Kate Dolan


Alex Garland (EX MACHINA, 28 DAYS LATER) with Ailbhe Keogan

Moira Buffini (JANE EYRE, BYZANTIUM) with Brian Martin

Peter Straughan (TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, FRANK) with Kara Smith


Mentor to be announced / Ruth Paxton


Alice Cabanas (Director, Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival) with Becky Bruzas

Emma Smart (Programmer, BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival) with Matthew Hellett

Mentor to be announced / Sara Duffy


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

An illustrious list of former mentors includes Danny Boyle, Sam Mendes, Barbara Broccoli, Hossein Amini, Walter Murch, Abi Morgan, Kenneth Branagh, Lenny Abrahamson, Ben Wheatley, Nira Park and many more.

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

Find out more about the scheme and the mentors and mentees:

Photo: Andrew Haigh, Geraldine James and crew in between scenes on 45 YEARS. Credit: Agatha A. Nitecka