FHN x NFTS Director Training 2023 ParticipantsMeet our directors in training
Introducing the FHN x NFTS Director Training 2023 participants.
As the 2023 edition of FHN x NFTS Director Training gets underway at NFTS Leeds, we’re pleased to introduce this year’s group of emerging directors taking the next step in their careers.
Our 2023 cohort boast creative experience spanning theatre, documentary, music, visual effects and beyond. Through the Director Training programme, they’ll undertake a hands-on, three-day course introducing them to the practical and theoretical principles that underpin directing fiction for the screen. Our industry mentor Shola Amoo - director of The Last Tree and A Moving Image - will guide the directors through the process, supporting them to develop their filmmaking voice.
Alumni of the FHN x Director Training programme have gone on to prestigious industry training labs and to make acclaimed shorts, including films supported by Film Hub North through the BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund. We’re excited to start working with the 2023 cohort, and to see what they get up to next.
Benjamin is a Northern-based writer-director. Over the past 15 years, he has amassed a solid showrreel via film school and independent short form work, across both drama and documentary. For the past 5 years, Ben has focused on a series of short films and features, and developing his writing, themes and stories in film and TV. He also happens to be neurodivergent.
Dale is an emerging theatre director from Manchester with experience working as an assistant director at venues such as the Royal Exchange Theatre. In 2022, Dale was a finalist of The JMK Young Director Award. Dale is a storyteller who believes the impulse to tell and be told stories is primal, essential and necessary. Dale is currently most drawn to naturalism, magic realism, pop culture, history and political issues.
Max is an award-winning writer-director from the UK. He has won the UK Jewish Film Short Doc Fund twice, making him the first filmmaker to win two prizes awarded by UK Jewish Film. His first short documentary, The Peacock That Passed Over has screened in the official selection of BAFTA and Oscar-qualifying festivals across the UK, USA, and Canada, and is distributed by Seventh Art Releasing. He is now developing his next project, a short narrative film.
Shehzida Iqbal is an aspiring writer-director and an experienced freelance assistant director in film and commercials. Shehzida has previously helped deliver projects for Film4, BBC, Sky Studios and the BFI. Compelled by stories rooted in the exploration of culture and identity, Shehzida is an alumni of Screen Yorkshire’s Beyond Brontës training programme and an MA graduate in Visual Sociology at Goldsmiths University London.
Sel MacLean is a self-taught Turkish filmmaker based in Gateshead. He has a background in sociology and in 2017 he had his first short documentary commission for Newcastle City Council exploring the negative stereotypes of the city's Rye Hill community. In 2019, his short fiction film Overdrive premiered at the BECTU Future Filmmakers Festival, which was presented by Ken Loach, and his most recent short documentary premiered at Sheffield DocFest in 2021 as part of a cohort of Northern films.
Safiya McKenzie is a filmmaker and photographer, born and raised in Manchester. Both her narrative and documentary work explores themes of solitude, intimacy, identity, and care. Her practice involves capturing the candid moments of everyday life and co-creating visual projects with communities.
Nadia is a film and theatre director and actress, originally from Saint-Petersburg. A recent graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University’s MA Filmmaking programme, Nadia currently works at the university as a Technical Assistant. Nadia is experienced in a wide range of genres, and is particularly inspired by dance films, music videos and drama.
Mairead is a musician, filmmaker and audio visual artist from Sheffield. She currently plays guitar and synthesiser in Working Men’s Club and directs music videos for other artists. Mairead loves to uncover new stories and perspectives, and aims to broaden the range of neurodiverse narratives with her work.
Guy is a visual effects artist and director living in Greater Manchester, who has been in the visual effects industry for around 10 years. In 2017, Guy collaborated with writing-directing duo Jed Shepherd & Rob Savage on the short Salt, and worked with the pair again on the Blumhouse-produced feature Dashcam, which won a BIFA for Best Visual Effects. Guy has worked on shorts including Jed Shepherd’s Scare Package and BFI NETWORK funded films I Know a Place (Dir. Theresa Varga) and It’s a Dog to Make a Houseplant if You’re a Sandwich (Dir. Olivia Waring).
Noah Lei Underwood
Noah (they/them) is a Sheffield-based storyteller and artist with a focus on disruptive, interdisciplinary, and transmedia projects. Genderqueer, mixed-race, and neurodivergent — they’re on a mission to diversify and queer the current media landscape by challenging audiences and creating space for unheard voices. Noah is interested in telling stories that are visually-striking; leaning into genre, particularly horror, in order to communicate the surreal quality of queer and intersectional realities.