1517566403Guiding Lights: Feature Focus mentees (back l to r): Rubika Shah, Corinna Faith, Nick Rowland, Rose Glass, Isobel Pietsch, (front) Marie Lidén and Chris Shepherd

Guiding Lights: Feature Focus - alumni become mentors

The new cohort of mentees have been announced for Guiding Lights: Feature Focus, a new iteration of the well-established mentoring scheme from Lighthouse, supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery. This scheme is aimed at filmmakers making their first feature film, who will be mentored by talented and experienced Guiding Lights alumni. This year, eight mentees have been selected to take part in a new flagship programme sponsored by STUDIOCANAL and Sharp House.

The Guiding Lights: Feature Focus cohort includes six directors and two producers who hail from across the UK, from Scotland to London. With broad experience across a range of formats including short film, music video, animation, documentary, multi-platform projects and TV, between them, they have received numerous accolades, including BAFTA nominations and international awards, as well as premieres at Sundance and other major A-list film festivals worldwide. 

The Mentees


Rose Glass has many internationally acclaimed shorts and music videos under her belt; which went on to screen at SXSW, Palm Springs and LSFF among others. She is currently developing her debut feature with Film4 and producer Oliver Kassman.

Marie Lidén is based in Scotland and has worked in sound design, animation, music videos and documentaries for Channel 4’s First Cut and Al-Jazeera among others. She is currently developing two feature documentaries, Electric Malady with Aconite Productions, and Girls of Cults with The Forest of Black.

Nick Rowland, whose credits include Ripper Street (BBC Two/Amazon Prime) and Hard Sun (BBC One/Hulu) among other acclaimed student shorts, is currently in pre-production for his debut feature, produced by DMC film and Element Pictures.

Chris Shepherd, who works with both animation and live action, has directed many internationally award-winning shorts (Dad’s Dead, Johnno’s Dead) and TV series, and worked with talent such as Chris Morris. He is currently directing a comedy animation short for ARTE about Brexit, and preparing for his first feature, Snodgrass, with Creative England.

Rubika Shah is a Screen International ‘Star of Tomorrow’ whose films have screened at Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca, Hot Docs, BFI London and Sheffield Doc/Fest, amongst others. She is currently working on feature documentary White Riot, about punk, politics and fanzine culture with her producer/co-writer Ed Gibbs, supported by Creative England.

Corinna Faith works across film and TV and is currently directing her forthcoming feature, The Power, a ghost story set in the power cuts of 1973, with a second feature project in development with Scott Free.


Isobel Pietsch’s diverse experience spans film, theatre, dance and live cinema; she is currently producing her first feature, Last Laugh, a coming-of-middle-age comedy-drama about a once-successful stand-up comedian who returns to the comedy circuit in search of redemption.

Rebecca Day began her career as a producer with the Scottish Documentary Institute (SDI). Now as a freelancer, she is producing two feature documentaries, Becoming Animal, a Scottish/Swiss co-production directed by Emma Davie and Peter Mettler (released in 2018), and Silent Men with Duncan Cowles, recipient of the BFI Raw Talent Award.

The Mentors

Nicky Bentham is founder and producer at Neon Films. Her most recent production, the children’s film You Can Tutu, has recently been released by Netflix. Prior to that, she completed The Silent Storm, a drama starring Andrea Riseborough and Executive Produced by Barbara Broccoli, her Guiding Lights mentor in 2010.

Michael Pearce’s debut feature Beast, was funded by BFI and Film4 and had its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. His credits include TV drama, Henry, through Channel Four’s Coming Up scheme, and several award-winning shorts and music videos. Michael was part of the 2014 Guiding Lights scheme, mentored by James Marsh.

Peter Middleton and James Spinney work across a range of fiction, documentary and cross-platform projects including their feature documentary, Notes on Blindness, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for three BAFTAs in 2017. The project was released alongside the groundbreaking virtual reality project Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness, which won the Storyscapes Award at Tribeca Film Festival 2016. They were mentored by Walter Murch on the scheme in 2015.

Rachel Tunnard’s debut feature, Adult Life Skills (Creative England/BFI Net.Work), won two BIFA’s (British Independent Film Awards) out of six nominations and the ‘Nora Ephron Prize’ at Tribeca Film Festival (2016). Rachel was mentored by Sean Durkin through Guiding Lights in 2014.

The Blaine Brothers, Chris and Ben write, direct and edit for film and TV. Their debut feature Nina Forever won the BIFA for ‘Most Promising Newcomer’. They are currently developing Applecross, with David Livingstone of Calamity Films (Pride), which offers a modern day feminist revision of the mythology of witches, and spy thriller The Painter, which will be their second feature film with producer Cassandra Sigsgaard. They were mentored by Gillies MacKinnon through Guiding Lights in 2006.

About the scheme

First launched in 2006, Guiding Lights is the UK film industry’s leading mentoring programme, supporting emerging film talent through mentoring and a range of training and networking activities. Previous editions of the scheme have seen an illustrious list of mentors take part, including Andrew Haigh (Weekend, 45 Years), Tessa Ross (Slumdog Millionaire, 12 Years A Slave), Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Ex-­‐Machina, Halo), Clio Barnard (The Selfish Giant, The Arbor), Asif Kapadia (Senna, Amy), Danny Boyle, (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionnaire), Barbara Broccoli (Skyfall, Quantum of Solace) , Hossein Amini (Drive, The Snowman), Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty), Joanna Hogg (Exhibition, Archipelago), Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady), Nira Park (Attack the Block, Shaun of the Dead) and Kenneth Branagh (Cinderella, Thor).

Guiding Lights: Feature Focus is an exciting new iteration of this established mentoring programme for emerging talent.  This pilot edition will support the professional development of  eight writer-directors, directors and producers, and respond to a very specific and real industry need: support for filmmakers actively making their first feature film. Working across fiction, documentary or animation, the participants will receive two tiers of mentoring: ongoing one-to-one support from a ‘peer mentor’ (a Guiding Lights alumna who has made a feature themselves), and focused input from established, world-class industry professionals who will act as ‘spot mentors’ through one-off meetings. Alongside the mentoring, participants will benefit from a number of complementary industry training and networking events.

Devised and managed by Lighthouse, this new edition of Guiding Lights: Feature Focus is funded by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with the support of the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery, with further support from programme partners Film4, BFI, Creative England, Creative Scotland and Horizons, and sponsorship from STUDIOCANAL and Sharp House.

Click here for more information about Guiding Lights 


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