Script and Project Surgeries

Digital Bridge Worshop

Script and Project Surgeries

Northern Film and Media ran a script and project surgery programme, providing industry led advice and support to filmmakers and writers

The service aimed to assist with project, script and company development, providing guidance to writers and filmmakers working within the North East of England with a feature, treatment or TV idea/script or project. A surgery included an hour long 1-2-1 Skype session and written notes on the script from a leading industry professional.

Due to the overwhelming demand for this service and limited number of surgeries available projects will be prioritised based on their industry viability.

Over the course of the scheme NFM worked with the following script and project mentors

Paul Fraser

Paul Fraser is a director and screenwriter who started off devising one-man theatre shows to perform himself, and now writes and directs feature films. Paul worked with Shane Meadows on a trilogy of East Midlands based films Twenty Four Seven, A Room for Romeo Brass and Once Upon a Time in the Midlands. Other screenwriting credits include Heartlands, Somers Town, My Father the Liar, and Tube Tales and Dead Man’s Shoes.
As a Director Paul has made several award winning shorts and has also directed music videos for artists including the Arctic Monkeys, Tired Pony and PlanB. He also edits and advises on scripts, individually and in workshops, in the UK and around the world. Paul is currently developing scripts with Warp films and Tomboy films

Ivana Mackinnon

Ivana has been working in the UK film industry for over ten years. During that time she worked as Head of Development for Celador Films and Cloud Eight Films, Associate Produced The Descent and Slumdog Millionaire, and Produced The Scouting Book for Boys and The Descent 2. Starting up her own company Stray Bear Productions in 2011, Ivana Executive Produced five shorts for Big Dance and C4’s Random Acts in 2011, Produced shorts with Tom Harper and Kibwe Tavares in 2012, and in 2013 is Executive Producing the feature War Book, written by Jack Thorne and directed by Tom Harper. She is currently developing a slate of TV and feature film projects in collaboration with partners including C4, the Wellcome Trust and the BFI. Ivana also scouts for Film4 alongside work as a mentor on Screen Yorkshire’s Triangle and EIFF’s Network programmes. In May 2013 Ivana’s company Stray Bear Productions was a recipient of one of the BFI’s Vision Awards.

Chris Shepherd

From his award winning directorial debut for Channel 4 in 1997 with The Broken Jaw. Chris has worked on many TV Shows and commercials. Including animation for Chris Morris's Nathan Barley and classic World Stareout Championship sketches for BBC'sBig Train.

His director/writer his credits include, a ten part series for Channel 4 called People's Britain (2000 - BAA winner), acclaimed short Dad's Dead (2003 - 25 awards including 2 BAA's, BIFA and BAFTA nomination). Comedy collaboration with David Shrigley Who I Am And What I Want (2005 BAA winner). Silence Is Golden (2006 TCM winner) and his latest BBC drama Bad Night for the Blues (2010).  Winner of the Canal+ International Award at Clermont International Film Festival 2011. As well as curating and producing two seasons of animated films for Channel 4’s Random Acts.  

James Bartlett

James Bartlett is a script editor, journalist and lecturer living in Los Angeles. He is also a story analyst for Exclusive Media Group, the Academy Nicholl Fellowships, PAGE International Screenwriting Awards, WGA-West, National Geographic Films, Sundance Institute, Final Draft, New Regency and UCLA, and is also the US consultant for Euroscript and a reader for Creative England and several regions in the UK and Ireland.

He began his career working in film production and music licensing and moved to Belfast in 1999, where he received funding on two feature projects and worked for ARISTA Development. After arriving in Los Angeles in 2004 he co-edited the nationally-distributed FLM Magazine for Landmark Theatres, and is currently a regular contributor to the LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times and, and to BBC Radio Northern Ireland and RTE in Dublin. He is also the author of “Gourmet Ghosts – Los Angeles”.

Hayley McKenzie

Hayley McKenzie runs Script Angel working as a Development Consultant and Script Editor on feature films and television dramas in the UK and USA. Hayley’s produced feature film script editing credits include ‘Papadopoulos & Sons’ (released in Cineworld Cinemas 2013), ‘Chakara’ and ‘The Watcher Self’. Hayley was Development Executive at ITV Studios and script edited UK dramas ‘Casualty’ (BBC), ‘Hollyoaks’ (Channel Four) and ‘Blue Murder’ (ITV). She is a Consultant and Speaker at the London Screenwriters’ Festival, a Mentor for De Montfort University’s M.A in Screenwriting, Script Consultant for The Sitcom Mission and writes a regular screenwriting column in Script Magazine. Through her work at Script Angel Hayley offers a one-to-one development process for writers and producers working in any genre.

Lee Thomas

Lee Thomas is an experienced independent film producer, exec producer, and development executive. After

graduating from the NFTS he produced Crush, starring Andie MacDowell, which led to a First Look Development Deal with Film4. Later, Lee set up and ran development and investment funds at a Regional Screen Agency where he was Head of Production & Development for several years. He Exec Produced a number of award winning and commercially successful films including The Road to Guantanamo, Nativity and One Day. He also instigated a number of slate development deals for regional talent.

Lee has also produced shorts including the prize winning Doom & Gloom (Best European Short) and Wet & Dry. Most recently he jointly produced the 2014 Oscar nominated The Voorman Problem, based on an extract from David Mitchell’s Number9Dream which Lee is developing to feature length for Film4 with Asif Kapadia (Senna) directing. 

Lee is a regular tutor at the NFTS, a Skillset mentor, BAFTA shorts juror, EAVE decision maker and a
regular advisor to J-Pitch, the Japanese producer training programme. He’s course-director on the
UK’s first MA in Distribution and Marketing at BCU and teaches screenwriting at Warwick University.

Samm Haillay

Samm Haillay founded independent production company 'Third' with Duane Hopkins in 2001. He produced Hopkins’ multi-award winning short films and his feature debut 'Better Things' and multi-channel film installations series ‘Sunday’ which toured Newcastle, Yokohama and screened at Directors Fortnight in Cannes. 

As well as producing all of Hopkins’ film and galley work, Samm produces a number of other talented directors' work through 'Third', including the BAFTA nominated, Silver Bear-winning 'Jade' by Daniel Elliott. Samm’s short film productions have won over 45 awards, including some at Berlin, Venice, Edinburgh, and Chicago. In 2010 he co-produced Gillian Wearing’s feature debut 'Self Made'. A member of EAVE and ACE, Samm sat on the short film jury for the 2010 Berlinale (Berline Film Festival).



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