Associates 19/20

Alex Polunin

Alex Polunin is an emerging North East producer, best known for BBC’s British by the Grace of God, Father of the Bride, and Kingdom Come. His work has been nominated for awards at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals, including Venice, Locarno, and BFI London. His first feature film with BBC Films and BFI is going into production in 2020 as he builds a broader slate of film and television projects for the BBC.

Callum Costello

Writer and filmmaker Callum Costello graduated with a First Class BA Hons in Media Production from Northumbria University and an MA with Merit in Film Theory and Practice from Newcastle University. He has been selected for prestigious workshops and training programmes such as Creative Skillset Trainee Finder, BAFTA Guru, Screenwriting Goldmine Tribe and the Black Factory Cinema Workshop with Werner Herzog in Peru. Callum has written and directed projects which have been exhibited at film festivals such as Manchester International, Aesthetica, Great Lakes International and No Gloss. Furthermore Callum was the inaugural Tyneside Cinema Graduate Artist in Residence and has crew credits on Spectre, Free Fire, The Crown and more. Callum is the founder and managing director of At Breath’s End Ltd where he is currently in production on his first feature film Moonland.

Gavin Williams

Gavin Williams is an award-winning writer and film maker based in Newcastle. His debut feature as a screenwriter, Await Further Instructions, was released across multiple territories in 2018/19. It was a Critics Pick in the New York Times and is currently available to stream on Netflix. AFI won the Audience Award at the Cinepocalypse Film Festival, Nocturno Nuove Visioni Award at Trieste Science+Fiction, and Special Jury mention. Gavin’s short film, Sleepworking, which he also directed, won eight awards, and played at sixty film festivals. In 2017 Gavin founded Feature Creep Films with director Mark Lediard to collaborate on genre projects. Their first short, Chromophobia, recently premièred at the Trieste Science+Fiction Film Festival. In 2019 they were commissioned by Fox Digital to produce a 24k short film, The Mime, which will play at festivals in 2020 ahead of a US broadcast slot around Halloween next year.

Jack Hobbs

Jack Hobbs is an aspiring Location Sound Recordist who loves working on both comedy and drama, be it in film, television, online or other. He graduated with First Class Honours in Film and Television Production in 2012 and quickly moved into the world of online content creation and location sound recording by working with independent production companies such as Redshirt Films, One+Other Creative, RO Pictures and others. In the subsequent years he has worked on Webseries, Short Films, Corporate Online Videos and micro-budget Feature Films.

Jordan Walker

Jordan Walker can always be found with a camera in hand, either chasing waves, chasing light or chasing stories. Gifted with his first camera, an old Pentax nifty 50mm, at 17, his breakthrough came when he won a competition to produce, direct and shoot a short documentary for Vice and Panasonic about the North East surf community. When it was featured as the opening video for Raindance Festival, he realised his potential. He sees his camera as a weapon, his voice and what he chooses to capture and portray could be a meaning of positive change, whether that be small or enormous. He hails director Orlando Von Einsiendel as his biggest inspiration.

Katherine Stoner

Katherine Stoner first realised her passion for documentary filmmaking when she produced and directed 88 Days, a film about the exploitation of backpackers in Australia. Her film garnered a lot of attention from news publications, including The Guardian and Vice, and has been screened at a variety of festivals across the world. Since graduating from the University of Lincoln with a First Class degree in Media Production, Katherine secured her first job in television working as an Assistant Producer for Create & Craft TV. She is now hoping to move into the entertainment and factual areas of film and TV, furthering her career as a producer and director.

Lucie Rigby

Lucie Rigby is a 21-year-old graduate of BSc Film and Television Production at the University of York. She is an alumni of Channel’s 4 Random Acts and BFI Film Academy and has attended Cannes Film Festival for the last two years. Lucie is currently working as a runner for high-end drama and film, with aspirations to become an assistant director. Hailing from Liverpool, Lucie is a huge advocate of her region’s screen industries. She is very excited to be working with Open Horizons alongside the Film and Television Charity, as she feels the project is an incredible initiative for young professionals entering the industry such as herself.

Michael Krause

Michael Krause discovered a passion and excitement for film and TV, especially writing, directing and being involved in the editing process. He decided to believe in his abilities and dreams and pursue a career as a professional storyteller. In 2014 he was accepted into the Northern Film School in Leeds, specialising in screenwriting/directing and graduated with a First Class honours degree, accompanied by a screenwriting award. Since graduating, Michael has worked in the industry in the locations department but now wishes to pursue his long-standing passion for content creation.

Molly Dennis

Having always enjoyed the creative arts, Molly Dennis studied English and History of Art at university, where she began work at her student cinema. As the elected Chair of the society, Molly learnt about film distribution and exhibition and began volunteering at film festivals and a local media centre. There she began making short films about a deprived area of Bristol, before taking part in a training scheme for aspiring female filmmakers funded by the BFI and Creative Skillset. As well as working on her own low-budget projects, such as short films and promotional materials, Molly has also worked in broadcast television on a variety of documentaries: most recently an observational documentary championing women’s mental health for the BBC. Molly is now keen to secure stable filmmaking work and build upon her skills, gaining experience on a variety of content all the while pursuing her passion of storytelling.

Monika Kasprzak

Monika Kasprzak studied Cultural Studies with a major in Film and New Media Studies at University of Lodz in Poland, later graduating from Newcastle University with an MA in Media and PR. She joined Third Films in 2013, an award winning independent production company, where she worked with accomplished producers, writers and directors. In 2013 and 2014 Monika was Assistant Producer on Thirds’ BFI funded Light Years, which was the feature debut of BAFTA-winning filmmaker Esther May Campbell, and she production-managed additional photography on this project. In 2015, Monika went on to production-manage Hope Dickson Leach’s iFeature The Levelling for Wellington Films, before co-producing and production-managing the multi-awarding short film Being Keegan. Monika later worked with young filmmakers as Talent Development Manager for Random Acts Network Centre North for Channel 4/ACE, as well as BFI Film Academy, where she supported young artists-filmmakers to further develop their work. In 2019, Monika was chosen as a producer for the 2019 BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew Talent Development Programme. She is currently working with emerging writers and directors as an independent producer.

Nathan Theys

Award-winning writer and director Nathan Theys was born in South Africa, studying at the New Africa Theatre Association before film directing at the London Film Academy. He won the script competition at the 2017 Cape Town International Film and Market Festive and The Development Award at the NFVF for the feature film Ronald, a true story based upon his father’s life, which later inspired two documentaries. Nathan was also shortlisted at the Cannes Directors Fortnight Talent and the NFVF Black Filmmakers Fund for his script on My Shadow Laughed. Nathan has also directed more than 30 short films, and directed more than 600 commercials, music videos and corporate videos for clients including MTV International, EMI Records and Sony BMG. He has also directed visual artworks for galleries, but works currently as a director, working on both short and feature length films.

Paul Blinkhorn

Having initially trained as a theatre director, Paul Blinkhorn is now a writer and director; his award-winning short films Duty Calls and After Auschwitz were screened extensively on the international film festival circuit – including at Academy Award-qualifying Tirana International Film Festival. In January 2019, Paul was runner-up in film competition, ‘The Pitch’, after pitching live at Pinewood Studios. He has since teamed up with Julie Foy with the hope of securing finance for his recent project, short film The End. Paul was also an inaugural participant of CLOSR, a pilot development scheme for writers, directors and producers working in film and TV, which was supported by The Family Support Fund, a joint partnership between Raising Films and The Film and Television Charity. Most recently, Paul has been selected as one of the finalists in Audible’s Audio Drama Production Competition and is currently in post-production on a four-part audio drama series for BBC Audio Drama Award-winning company, Wireless.

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