Script Lab Participants Meet the writers taking part in our development programme

Meet the writers taking part in our Northern Exposure: Short Film Script Lab.

Having kicked off with workshops in Sheffield and Newcastle on the 18th and 19th September, our Northern Exposure: Short Film Script Lab is now well underway. With a public showcase of some of the scripts developed through the programme taking place at Off the Shelf literary festival on 24 October, we're excited to share a little more about the breadth of writing talent from throughout the North taking part in this year's scheme.

We'll be providing another update on the projects as the scripts develop and the Off the Shelf Scratch Night draws closer - but, for now, meet the class of 2018.

Allison Davies, Northumberland

Originally from Cumbria, Allison splits her time between Northumberland and India. Her first play, Weather to Fly was produced in 2013. Since then her work has toured to theatres including Camden People's Theatre, CAST, ARC Stockton, Live Theatre, Northern Stage, Waterford Arts Centre Manchester, Queen Ann's Hall Hexham and Prague Fringe.

In 2017, Allison worked with director Andy Berriman and Candle & Bell to make a trailer for Swimming Lessons as part of Channel 4's Shorted scheme. In 2018, she was shortlisted for BBC Drama Room and as a result she's part of BBC Northern Voices 2018.

She's currently working on Low Fell, a short film about not letting obstacles bog you down; The Devil Danced in Our Eyes in a collaboration with writer/performer Jon Luke Mckie; and an immersive theatre show with Twenty Seven Productions. She is also looking to get her first feature film off the ground.

Christopher Maudsley, York

With a background in history and experience working in documentary and visual effects, Christopher's passion is for researching, communicating and recreating little-known historical stories; particularly those involving socio-political themes, marginal counter-narratives, modes of language and communication and spiritual lives.

His 30 minute spec script, Black Cabs was a finalist in the 2018 Bluecat Screenplay Competition, whilst his short film, Gerry's Voice played at London Short Film Festival. Christopher is currently adapting his radio drama, The Heavenly Horizon into a short film script.

His feature screenplay, Albion resulted in Christopher being awarded a deferred place to read a PhD by Creative Practice at the University of York, dependent on funding. He is currently working on a verbatim-docudrama on an associated subject and a short film adaptation. An active screenwriter and filmmaker, Christopher runs York Screenwriters Guild and meetings of the York Filmmakers Coalition.

Visit Chris' website.

Kema Sikazwe, Newcastle upon Tyne

Kema Sikazwe, also known as Kema Kay 25, was brought up in the west end of Newcastle. He comes from a musical background with passion for rap, singing and songwriting. In his teens, Kema spent most of his time at a local youth project. It wasn’t until his early 20s that he got interested in acting after joining a local agency for extra work.

He then went on to land a main role in the multi award-winning films I Daniel Blake and Lady Macbeth. This led to interest from major agencies across the UK, and Kema is now represented by Lisa Toogood at United Agents. He then became an associate artist at Live Theatre in 2017, a role that has seen him get up on stage for the first time and take up script writing - Kema is currently in the process of finishing his debut show, Shine.

Lauren Vevers, Newcastle upon Tyne

Lauren Vevers is a writer from Newcastle upon Tyne. Currently her work is concerned with explorations of female desire, sexuality and the body.

In 2014, she was awarded the Best Young Writer Award and nominated for the Best Writer category at the Blog North Awards. She’s since been selected for the Channel 4 Random Acts Development programme and the Latimer x BBC Three Talent Scheme. In 2016, she was the recipient of New Writing North’s Young Writers’ Talent Fund. Her play, Trashed, was recently included on the Pint-Sized Playwriting Longlist for 2018.

She is a producer at Papaya Press, an award-winning project that brings together northern artists and writers to experiment in the space between art and literature. She also runs creative writing workshops for young people and community groups.

Visit Lauren's website.

Sarah Watson, Gateshead

Sarah is a new writer for both stage and screen. In 2016, she was awarded a bursary from New Writing North to write and develop a her first full length stage play, Zones - a dark comedy about homelessness, addiction and trauma.

Since then, Sarah has written her first professional screenplay, a 360 film about the care system for Curious Monkey theatre company which will tour nationally October 2018.

Sarah’s work is bold, ambitious and fearless; there is an urgency to it which is fed by her singular life experiences so far. She has much to say and a rage to say it. Sarah is uneducated but has a natural talent, evidenced in her ability to write authentic, believable dialogue, a skill that is often difficult to learn.

Visit Sarah's website.

Anil Kumar Bharath, West Yorkshire

Born in Leeds to Indian parents, Anil describes himself as a British Asian. He has lived and worked across different cities as an actor, broadcaster and writer for both stage and radio.

Entertainment, languages, arts and culture are his forte. Currently presenting The Anil Bharath Show weekdays from 4pm till 6pm on Fever FM, he is also a correspondent for BizAsia media and news portal.

As an associate artist for Freedom Studios, his work was recently showcased at this year’s Bradford Literature Festival - this showcase explored the pressures faced by young South Asian men to get a good job and be a good boy, often to the detriment of their mental health.

Visit Anil's website.

Haider Saleem, Manchester

Haider Saleem is a 24-year-old, British-Asian Mancunian who is passionate about storytelling. In 2016, he was selected on the BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme. For a year he trained and gained practical experience on telling stories creatively across different media. Following this, Haider worked for the BBC World Service reporting and presenting news bulletins.

Haider has attended and performed in creative writing workshops with the National Theatre. During the summer, he played a featured role in the National Theatre’s brand-new participatory theatre programme, Public Acts.

Haider performed in the first Public Acts production - an adaptation of Pericles by William Shakespeare staged in the Olivier Theatre over 3 sold-out nights. Currently, Haider is attending and performing in spoken word and poetry workshops with a group in Manchester.

Visit Haider's website.

Kate Graham, Leeds

Kate Graham is a filmmaker based in Leeds. She has made a number of short films, which have played at festivals nationwide.

Her films are marked by a fascination with female identity. Her first short, Sister explores the moment a young girl realises her older sister is growing up and apart from her, and was screened throughout the UK. Her most recent, Wedding Bell, examines a woman’s doubts over marrying a violent man, and was selected for the 70th Showroom Shorts. Her other films explore themes of technology, marginalisation, childhood and feminism, with a distinctly experimental style. She’s currently editing a science-fiction photofilm, which she photographed over the summer in Redcar.

Kate graduated with a Scriptwriting MA from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has years of experience working as a freelance Assistant Director for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Warp Films, and directors including Shane Meadows, amongst many others.

Visit Kate's website.

Taiba Amla, Halifax

Driven by clichéd depictions, Taiba aims to reclaim the narrative with her writing. In June 2018, Taiba became the latest recipient of the Northumbria University/Channel 4 Writing for Television Award for TV Drama as part of the Northern Writers’ Awards. The award includes a bespoke 9-month package of training and development mentorship with Bonafide Films. Taiba will work with Bonafide Films to develop a proposed television drama.

In 2017, Taiba was selected for New Writing North’s talent development programme Significant Ink. Taiba’s first short screenplay in 2016 was longlisted for Create 50’s international film contest, The Impact.

Asma Elbadawi, Bradford

Asma Elbadawi is a spoken word poet and visual artist born in Sudan and raised in England. Elbadawi's dual cultural heritage deeply influences her creativity, paired with a focus on international development and female empowerment. She holds a BA (Hons) in Photography, Video and Digital Imaging as well as a Masters in Visual Arts.

Asma is a finalist of Words First Leeds - a national poetry competition presented in partnership by BBC Radio 1Xtra and The Roundhouse. She has had poetry pieces published in the Muslim women's anthology The Things I Would Tell You and a short play commissioned by Freedom Studios. She has performed at the Bradford Literature Festival, Liverpool Acoustic Festival and Word of Mouth, with other performances in both Sudan and Malaysia. Her work has been featured on BCC Sport, BBC Three, BCC iPlayer. She also successfully campaigned to allow Muslim women to wear hijabs in professional basketball.

Want to come along to our Script Lab showcase at Off the Shelf? Tickets are available now.

If you'd like to contact any of this year's Script Lab participants, please get in touch at: bfinetwork@filmhubnorth.org.uk.