Now in its eight year, the BFI Flare x BAFTA Mentoring programme is a partnership between BAFTA, BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival and BFI NETWORK. The programme brings together a group of emerging LGBTQIA+ filmmakers to receive mentoring by a senior figure from the film industry, alongside a bespoke programme of events designed to strengthen professional networks and support their progression towards their debut projects in film and television.

Following this year’s call for applications, which saw a record number of applicants producing exciting, challenging and original work that is changing the face of LGBTQIA+ storytelling in the UK and beyond, we are delighted to announce the six new filmmakers taking part in this year’s programme.

They join a growing alumni of filmmakers supported by the programme over the last eight years, who are breaking new ground in LGBTQIA+ representation on screen.

Mentors will be announced later in the year.

Jason Barker (writer/director)

Jason is a writer/director from the south west. His autobiographical feature documentary, A Deal with the Universe, was supported by the BFI and screened at BFI Flare in 2018. His latest short film, the BFI NETWORK-funded The Piss Witch, premieres at this year’s Festival. 

In 2019 Jason co-wrote and performed in Chopsticks, a play for BBC Radio 4. He is currently in development on his debut narrative feature, Mister Uterus, with BFI, Delaval Films and Tigerlily Productions.

Emily Everdee (producer)

Emily is an independent producer from Doncaster in South Yorkshire, now based in Buckinghamshire. Her short films include 2020 BIFA-nominee Mandem (Dir. John Ogunmuyiwa) which screened at BFI London Film Festival and BFI Flare, BAFTA-longlisted The Call Centre (Dir. Louisa Connolly-Burnham), and award-winning animation Listen To Me Sing (Dir. Isabel Garrett). 

Through her company Everdee Media, Emily is developing a slate of feature film and TV projects with a focus on supporting female, queer and neurodiverse talent, as well as filmmakers hailing from different areas of the UK. She aims to make compelling, audience-facing work from distinctive, authentic voices in a range of genres. 

A graduate of the NFTS MA in Producing, Emily is a former BAFTA and Warner Bros. scholar, a Film & TV Charity JBA Awardee, and an EIFF Talent Lab alumna. Her feature film with writer/director Cassiah Joski-Jethi was selected for Film London’s Production Finance Market ‘New Talent Strand’ in 2021.

afshan d’souza lodhi (writer)

afshan was born in Dubai and forged in Manchester. She is a writer and poet, and her work has been performed and translated into numerous languages across the world. afshan is currently a LabFellow for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University and will be taking her one-woman show, How To Eat Mangoes, to Washington DC in 2022.

In 2021, afshan was a Sky Writes writer-in-residence for Rotherham, a partnership between Sky Studios and New Writing North. Her debut poetry collection, ‘re:desire, (Burning Eye Books) was longlisted for the 2021 Jhalak Prize. She is currently part of the Royal Exchange and WarnerMedia writers exchange programme, and she sits on the boards of Manchester Literature Festival and Pie Radio. She is currently in development on a television series for Sky Studios with co-writer Guleraana Mir. 

Tianna Johnson (writer/producer)

Tianna is a screenwriter from North West London. She is passionate about writing stories with British Caribbean women as leads, and injecting British Caribbean culture into fantastical concepts. In 2018 she was selected for a writers residency at the Curve Theatre, and began volunteering with Midsummer Films as a script reader, before later taking up a role as a freelance script reader for BBC Film. In 2021, her pilot script Obeah topped the Brit List, and is currently in development with Erik Barmack and Wild Sheep Content.

Sean Lìonadh (writer/director)

Sean is a poet, filmmaker and musician from Glasgow, Scotland. His short film, Time for Love, gained over 16 million views online, won a Royal Television Society Award and sparked fierce discussion on modern day intolerance,  His short film Silence premiered at Torino Film Festival 2020 and won Capri Hollywood Best European Short Film Award 2020. His most recent short, the BFI NETWORK-funded Too Rough, has screened at Flickerfest and SXSW, and will have its UK premiere at BFI Flare.

Sean published his first poetry collection in 2019, and is currently in development on his debut feature, Nostophobia, with Short Circuit/Screen Scotland. 

Samantha O’Rourke (writer/director)

Samantha is a northern writer/director based in North Wales. Recent screen projects include short film Jelly (Ffilm Cymru/BBC Wales/Mad as Birds) and original comedy drama Mincemeat for Channel 4’s On the Edge series. Sam was Writer on Attachment for Liverpool’s Everyman Playhouse and is part of artist led project Future Forms at the Donmar Warehouse. Other theatre credits include Theatr Clwyd, Volcano Theatre, Boundless Theatre and Dirty Protest. 

She is currently developing her debut feature supported by Ffilm Cymru and a comedy drama series for Channel 4 Drama. Her play Our Town Needs a Nandos will premiere summer 2022 at Liverpool’s Everyman Playhouse. 

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Originally published: 16 March 2022