Film London Labs is a year-round programme of events that offers guidance, insight and support for creators when they need it most - at the earliest stages of their projects.

We aim to cultivate creative learning across different storytelling mediums and provide emerging talent with the tools to turn their creative spark into a sustainable career.

Each Lab is a multi-session event that allows deep dives into key areas, each based on the feedback from our filmmakers on what they're most keen to learn more about.

Over the course of each Lab, attendees are able to ask questions and engage with the host and our speakers, and also with each other, building an amazingly supportive network of fellow writers and filmmakers that stay connected to and engaged with each other long after each Lab has ended.

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Film London Labs: The Directors Sessions


The Directors Sessions returns to kick off the Film London Lab series this year!

The film industry has been revitalized by new directors that have captivated wide audiences through their fresh and innovative stories, along with bold visual styles. This has opened the door for aspiring filmmakers to cultivate their own creative vision - outlining unique ideas to translate work from script to screen and developing filmmaking techniques to effectively convey the story.

This lab is geared towards emerging directors and writer/directors as we aim to lift the lid on the directorial process; to develop your visual style, exercising creativity with filmmaking techniques whilst also exploring the commercial aspects to help establish yourself as a director and build a sustainable career.

Our exciting line-up of guest speakers includes;

  • Charlotte Regan, Director & Writer – Scrapper (BIFA-winning and BAFTA-nominated)
  • Savanah Leaf, Director & Writer - Earth Mama (BAFTA and BIFA-winning)
  • Alex Hardcastle, Director – The Office US, Parks & Rec, New Girl, Ghosts, Senior Year
  • Mahalia Belo, Director - The End We Start From (BIFA-nominated)
  • Elle McAlpine, Intimacy Coordinator – Poor Things, It’s a Sin
  • Aisha Bywaters, Casting Director (BAFTA-winning) - The Kitchen, Polite Society
  • Claire Leaver, Head of Talent, Knucklehead


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Previous Film London Labs

Film London Labs: The TV Sessions

For the first time this lab centred around serial storytelling and gaining insights into the TV realm. As the industry has invested more into emerging talent who can create compelling TV content, we explored how filmmakers can transfer their creative skills to TV and the realities of working in the industry. We delved into various topics including how production companies work with writing talent in development, navigating the industry side of your craft, understanding the role of a TV producer, the commissioner's side of the table, landing work with a TV agent and showrunning a series to achieve the creative vision.

Guest speakers:

  • Theresa Ikoko, Writer, Grime Kids
  • Gillian Clarke, Head of Development, Dancing Ledge Productions
  • Stephanie Yamson, Writer & Script Consultant, I May Destroy You, Dreaming Whilst Black
  • Ameenah Ayub Allen, Producer, Rocks, Ali & Ava
  • Kate Ogborn, Producer, The End of the F***ing World
  • Charlie Perkins, Head of Comedy, Channel 4
  • Jessica Cooper, Film & TV Agent, Curtis Brown
  • Kris Green, Training Executive, BBC Studios

Film London Labs: The Production Finance Sessions

In the lead up to the Production Finance Market, this lab focused on the business side of film, financing first or second feature projects and the current landscape of the independent market. Delving into various topics including distribution, box office data & audience trends, navigating film sales within different territories, financing documentaries, communicating what your film is about, understanding UK tax incentives, how producers can avoid common pitfalls and the perspective from the financier's side.

Guest speakers:

  • Vicki Brown, Senior Exec, Sales & Distribution, BFI
  • Gabrielle Stewart, CEO, HanWay Films
  • Akua Gyamfi, Founder, The British Blacklist
  • Georgia Goggin, Producer, Pretty Red Dress
  • Virginia Gilbert, Director & Writer, Reawakening
  • Barry Castagnola, Producer, Reawakening
  • Delphine Lievens, Distribution Consultant & Box Office Analyst
  • Natasha Dack, Co-Founder, Tigerlily Productions
  • Sam Ampah, Media Accountant, Alliotts LLP

Film London Labs: The Vanguard Writers Sessions

In this lab, we focused on the how the art of storytelling is constantly evolving, as writers innovate with different kinds of narratives, subverting expectations, and fresh ways of telling stories. From the foundations of scriptwriting, we explored the ways in which creators can enrich the creative process - experimenting with visual artistry, climate stories, balancing tones and narratives, developing your writer's voice, using AI in scriptwriting and getting your script into the best shape possible.

Guests Speakers:

  • Katherine Kearns, Writer & Executive Story Editor, Yellowjackets
  • Del Kathryn Barton, Director & Writer, Blaze
  • Huna Amweero, Writer, Blaze
  • Rachel Pronger, Script Reader
  • Josh Cockcroft, Producer & Director, Climate Spring
  • Jamie Carragher, Writer & Story Editor, Succession
  • Janet Awe, Development Producer
  • Stephen Follows, Writer, Producer and Storytelling Consultant

Film London Labs: The Games Sessions

This lab was the first in collaboration with Games London, focusing on narrative storytelling in games; for screenwriters looking to work in the games space and how to bring your idea for an interactive story to whichever screen it's for. We delved into understanding the process of writing interactive stories, how to translate the language of the games industry, revitalizing the full-motion video genre and the use of new techniques to inspire cinematic-style games.

Guest speakers:

  • Sam Barlow - Writer and Director, Her Story, Immortality
  • Adam Butcher & Anna Costello, Creative Lead and Senior Creative, Electric Noir Studios
  • Jack Attridge, Creative Director and Co-Founder, Flavourworks
  • Steve Bailey, Senior Principle Games Analyst, Omdia
  • Leah Muwanga-Magoye, Writer and Narrative Designer
  • John Lau, Games Designer and Producer
  • Hannah Nicklin, CEO and Studio Lead, Die Gute Fabrik

Film London Labs: The Production Finance Sessions

This lab focused on the business side of the industry, geared towards those looking finance a feature. Stemming from preparing producers for the Production Finance Market’s New Talent Strand, sessions explored the art of pitching a finance-ready project, putting together your finance plans, understanding the recoupment waterfall and the current landscape of independent films in the marketplace.

Guest speakers:

  • Louise Tutt, Deputy Editor, Screen International
  • Caroline Couret-Delègue, Managing Director, Film Seekers
  • Salma Abdalla, Chief Executive, Autlook Film Sales
  • Jason Wood, Executive Director of Public Programmes and Audiences, BFI
  • Ameenah Ayub Allen, Producer (Rocks, Ali & Ava)
  • Olivier Kaempfer, Producer (The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Appropriate Behaviour)
  • Geraldine Atlee, Head of Legal & Business Affairs, BBC Films
  • Helen Simmons, Producer (Klokkenluider, Bonus Track)
  • Kat Mansoor, Producer (Cow, Rebellion)
  • Angeli Macfarlane, Development Producer, writer,
  • Amy Lotherington, Development Executive, Original Film at Sky
  • Rajita Shah, Producer (Love Sarah) PFM New Talent strand 2018 alumni.
  • Eliza Schroeder, Director & Writer (Love Sarah) PFM New Talent strand 2018 alumni.
  • Nana Mensah, Director & Writer (Queen of Glory)
  • Jamund Washington, Producer (Queen of Glory)
  • Baff Akoto, Producer (Queen of Glory)



Film London Labs: The Writing Character Sessions

This lab explored narrative character-building that will get to the root of interpersonal dynamics as they unfold on-screen. Each session focused on different angles on characterisation at the writing and development stages, including psychoanalytic theory to map out characters and understand the complex reasons they might behave in the way they do.

Guest speakers:

  • Chris Hayward, writer & actor, Brian and Charles
  • Marley Morrison, writer & director, Sweetheart
  • Aneil Karia, writer & director, Surge
  • Claudia Yusef, Head of Development, BBC Films
  • Arabel Charlaff, psychotherapist, Characters on the Couch

Film London Labs: The Directors Sessions

This lab focused on directors’ understanding of what it takes to usher a long-form project through from the development and prep stage through to production. Mainly covering treatments and pitching, balancing commercial and creative work, prepping for a shoot, making the most of rehearsals and working with actors

Guest speakers:

  • Yann Demange, Director and Executive Producer, Lovecraft Country, Top Boy, '71
  • Tash Tan, Executive Producer, Somesuch
  • Emma Obank, Agent, Casarotto Ramsay & Associates
  • Miranda Harcourt, Acting Coach
  • Rob Savage, Director, Host, Dashcam
  • Koby Adom, Director, Noughts & Crosses, Top Boy
  • Dionne Edwards, Director, Teng Teng Films, Pretty Red Dress
  • Georgia Goggin, Producer, Teng Teng Films, Pretty Red Dress

Film London Labs: The Rewrite Sessions

This lab, led by development producer Angeli Macfarlane looked at ways to successfully tackle the re-writing process, advising writers on how to become their own best developer through the right approach to interrogating the material, ordering the structure and focus of the rewrite and managing responses to notes and feedback.

Guest speakers:

  • Cathy Brady - writer & director, Wildfire
  • David Kimbangi - Senior Commissioning Executive, Film4
  • Alice Pearse - Manager, Original Series, Netflix

Film London Labs: The Genre Sessions 2022

This Lab for writers and director brought in storytellers and industry experts to drill down into the market for genre film, and the craft of telling stories that upend genre tropes to reflect today's world in a fresh way.

Guests:

  • Janicza Bravo, director/writer, Zola, on building tension on screen
  • Stacy Gregg, writer/director, Here Before, on bending genre in your first feature
  • Kate Dolan, writer/director, You Are Not My Mother, on writing her debut feature
  • Arabel Charlaff, practicing psychotherapist, on the psychology of fear
  • Stephen Follows, writer, producer and storytelling consultant, on audience expectations
  • Natalie Difford, development producer, on working with development execs
  • Sophie Green, Head of Acquisitions and Development, Bankside Films, on the market for genre

Film London Labs: The Marketplace Sessions 2021

The business of storytelling is constantly evolving and the last few years have only accelerated the pace of change, with shifts in how we engage with technology and of course, new Covid-19 curveballs in the mix.

This Lab for independent producers covered how to get projects off the ground in the current funding climate — whether film, TV, podcasting or other IP — and offered writers/directors with a big idea advice on what to do with it, how to package their ideas and in which direction to run with them.

Guests included:

  • Hester Ruoff and Bart Ruspoli, producers, Boiling Point
  • Surian Fletcher-Jones, Head of Drama, Working Title
  • Claire Broughton, Head of Podcasts, Hat Trick
  • Nell Whitley, Executive Producer, Marshmallow Laser Feast

Film London Labs: The Character Sessions 2021

During our inaugural Film London Labs: The Character Sessions, our writers and directors heard insights and lessons from industry practitioners and established creators oriented around exploring the creative process around character-building and navigating best practices around casting for their debut projects and beyond. We explored how to get to the root of interpersonal dynamics as they unfold on-screen, complex characterisation during the writing and development stages, casting the right performers that will make characters jump off the page (and make the film marketable), and how to best coach, direct and collaborate with actors and non-actors alike all the way through to production.

Guests:

  • Shaheen Baig, Casting Director
  • Joanna Scanlan, After Love
  • Miranda Harcourt, Acting Coach
  • Adjani Salmon & Ali Hughes, Co-writers, Dreaming Whilst Black
  • Marielle Membreno, Development Executive, Protagonist Pictures
  • Eleanor Gordon-Smith, Philosopher, Broadcaster and Author, Stop Being Reasonable: How People Really Change Their Minds

Film London Labs: The Writers Sessions 2021

Drawing on the success of our first two Writers Sessions in June & September 2020, this third iteration is targeted towards emerging writers, writer/directors or writer/producers working in the narrative space who are about to embark on, or already working on, their first or second feature film script. Each session focuses on one of the central tenets of screenwriting, anchored in examples from the most riveting contemporary cinema available today.

Tutor: Angeli Macfarlane

Guests:

  • Aleem Khan, Writer/Director, After Love
  • Rita Kalnejais, Writer, Babyteeth

Film London Labs: The Writers Sessions (Summer 2020)

Film London Labs: The Writers Sessions took place in seven sessions across three weeks, led by story producer Angeli Macfarlane and featuring some really special speakers drilling into their process and their best advice for writers working on longform projects, both feature film and TV.

Tutor:Angeli Macfarlane

Guests:

  • Mae Martin, Writer/Director, Feel Good
  • Alrick Riley, Director, Spooks, Hustle, Once Upon A Time
  • Arabel Charlaff, psychodynamic psychotherapist

Film London's Jordan McGarry and Nadia Oliva with Angeli Macfarlane and Arabel Charlaff on Zoom call as part of Film London Labs: The Writers Sessions

Film London Labs: The Writers Sessions (Autumn 2020)

Our first installation of this Lab sold out so quickly we ran it again, with a new line up of speakers for a new cohort of writers.

Tutor: Angeli Macfarlane

Guests:

  • Rungano Nyoni, Writer/Director, I Am Not A Witch
  • Alejandro Landes, Writer/Director, Monos
  • Arabel Charlaff, psychodynamic psychotherapist

Film London Labs: The Genre Sessions (Winter 2020)

Following on from two installations of Film London Labs: The Writers Sessions, we went deeper. We learned there is a real appetite for training in genre writing so our next collaboration with Angeli Macfarlane was Film London Labs: The Genre Sessions.

Tutors: Angeli Macfarlane, Ludo Smolski


What previous attendees say

I loved participating on the last session, it was incredibly inspiring. I managed to rework an old script and I'm two weeks into shooting it as a feature film. Highly recommended. Sign me up!
I was fortunate enough to do this - can't recommend it enough. Sign up!
Well I literally finished the first draft of my feature script today so that feels like a big step forward for me and one that I feel is intrinsically linked to the impact of the course. The new skills given to me by the lab helped propel my project forward, giving me the confidence to push on and finish the first draft.
This course is so good! Now I know exactly what I need to change on my script. Lots of re-writing from now on.

Coming up soon from Film London Labs

This upcoming season from Film London Labs features a wide array of sessions spanning many different aspects of filmmaking. Watch out for upcoming labs on Directing, Character Development and the Independent Film Marketplace in the months ahead. To be the first to hear updates on this year's labs, sign up to our mailing list.

If there is anything that you'd like us to cover in a future Film London Labs session, we'd love to hear from you. Please fill out the feedback form on this page or let us know what you'd like to see on social media.

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