Female directors to the fore in iFeatures selection

The final 12 filmmaker teams with feature projects selected for the new iFeatures development lab programme have been announced. The scheme is run by Creative England and is supported supported by the BFI with National Lottery funding, BBC Films and ScreenSkills' Film Skills Fund.   

Florence Pugh in Lady Macbeth © iFeatures 2016

Championing outstanding emerging UK film talent in making their first feature, and embracing the ambition to foster diverse and highest quality debuts, over half are projects led by female directors, 40% are all-female teams and 25% feature black, Asian, and ethnic minority (BAME) talent.

Original projects, a powerful sense of place and distinctive filmmaker voices are paramount to the final selection. These projects feature rich regional and national identity, with bold voices and story settings from all over the UK, including Belfast, Glasgow, Ilkely (Yorkshire), East London, Port Talbot (Wales), Canvey Island (Essex), Newcastle, Devon and the Lake District.  The projects span a wide range of stories, worlds and genres, from supernatural, folk horror, comedy and thriller, to robust and heart-warming dramas.

This year’s selected projects are:

  • Here Before (Stacey Gregg, writer/director; Sophie Vickers, producer)
  • A Voice and its Echo (Simon Cartwright, writer/director; Emilie Jouffroy, producer; Kamilla Hodol, producer)
  • I Feel Blood  (Dean Puckett, writer/director; Rebecca Wolff, producer)
  • Avi (Jonathan Schey, writer/director; Rachelle Constant, producer)
  • Nan (Charlotte Regan, writer/director; Eoin O’Faolain, producer)
  • Man Accidentally Kills (Sean Dunn, writer/director; Alex Polunin, producer)
  • A Dying Animal  (Hardey Speight, writer/director)
  • The White Stork (Meg Campbell, director; Oliver Henderson, writer; Marie-Elena Dyche, producer)
  • People Are Strange (Nasheed Qamar Faruqi, writer/director)
  • Blue Jean (Georgia Oakley, writer/director; Helene Sifre, producer)
  • Girl (Chika Anadu, director; Adura Onashile, writer; Rosie Crerar; producer; and Ciara Barry, producer)
  • Across The Water (Andrea Harkin, director; Suzanne Cowie, writer)

The new iFeatures Lab programme strands will cover storytelling, directing and producing. The Lab workshops will be dedicated to craft, exploration and experimentation, alongside intensive project development, production preparation, market readiness, mentoring and personal development.

It’s really encouraging to know there is more BAME talent, more women and people rooted in many different parts of the country coming through the iFeatures programme. I genuinely can’t wait to see what they deliver.

Gareth Ellis-Unwin, Head of Film at ScreenSkills

For the first time, an iFeatures podcast will be widely available to help further inspire and educate aspiring filmmakers, as it goes behind the scenes of each lab and documents the journey of the final 12 film projects. Following the end of the lab programme, the BFI and BBC Films have committed to supporting at least three films to production.

Continuing to develop quality British filmmaking remains iFeatures driving vision. Previous iFeatures productions showcase this with Lady Macbeth, Apostasy and The Levelling having enjoyed critical and commercial success, while launching exceptional new British talent into the public eye.

Gareth Ellis-Unwin, Head of Film at ScreenSkills, said: "We are incredibly proud to be giving aspiring filmmakers the chance to make their first feature and playing our part in making sure new voices can develop the skills to tell their stories. It's really encouraging to know there is more BAME talent, more women and people rooted in many different parts of the country coming through the iFeatures programme. I genuinely can't wait to see what they deliver."

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