We are excited to announce the twelve directors selected for the first Midlands Directors Lab. Our class of 2024 will be joining us for a weekend of learning and networking at Broadway Cinema, Nottingham as they develop their directorial skills and gain insights to support them in the next steps of their creative journey.

Over the weekend we will be joined by established directors from television and film, as well as other industry experts to share their insights on taking those next steps into high-end television and feature films. They will also be joined by members of the cohorts for Creative Producers Lab 2023 and Stories to Shorts Script Development to help build their networks.

The selected cohort brings together a wealth of directorial experience from across the region, each bringing different perspectives and backgrounds to the weekend. We have been enjoying their work already and we can't wait to see what is in store for them next - but, in the meantime, we're proud to introduce the class of 2024.

Midlands Directors Lab Cohort 2024

Abdul - Edit

Abdulrahman Ugas


Abdulrahman Ugas is a Midlands-based Writer/Director who has several short films under his belt.

His screenplays have gained recognition at BAFTA and Oscar qualifying festivals, with his latest screenplay reaching 2nd place in the prestigious Raindance festival.

He also had the opportunity to shadow the Director on 'Boarders,' a BBC 3 Comedy series and received mentorship from an ITV Development Editor for Comedy & Drama.


Alex Edit

Alex Withers


Alex is a writer/director based in Nottingham, with a dry sense of humour and eclectic tastes.

He loves to create stories that blend honest, character-driven storytelling with bold and otherworldly scenarios. His previous work includes three standout short films, collectively earning recognition at BAFTA, Academy Award, and BIFA qualifying festivals, garnering awards, international broadcast and online releases. Each project Alex has taken on has been vastly different to the last, but with common threads he continues to explore as he seeks to move towards high-end television and feature film work.    

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Casey Hennessy


Casey Hennessy is a writer-director living in Birmingham.

Originally from an advertising background, Casey has been directing commercials for global brands such as BMW, Microsoft, Mclaren F1, Barclays and Jaguar Land Rover. Casey’s short film TREACLE TOWN was funded by the BFI NETWORK and screened at Aesthetica (2023) and Little Wing (2022). She was a recipient of the BFI’s Early Development Fund and is currently developing her debut feature, MUZZLE, a rape-revenge thriller which is being produced by Fine Line Productions.


Christopher Bevan


Christopher Bevan is a director from Derby with experience across fiction and documentary shorts, artist films and music promos.

He has recently completed post-production on short film ‘The Other' which will premiere in 2024. Christopher is a BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew Alumni and is Course Leader for the BFI Film Academy at Derby QUAD.

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Daisy Moore


Daisy is a queer filmmaker from Nottingham. Her first short hybrid-doc RITUALS was a BFI NETWORK Postroom Pick and screened at Aesthetica, Carmarthen Bay and LSFF.

 She was nominated for Best Woman Director and won best cinematography at LSFF 2016. Daisy won the Curzon Cinemas x Agua De Madre female filmmaker competition with documentary micro-short ANTIDOTE  which was selected for Depict Shorts, and nominated for IMDbPro Audience Award at Encounters Film Festival 2020. She was selected for SHORTFlix (SKY & Creative England) a development programme for young writers/directors through which she developed 7 BANANAS. 7 BANANAS has screened at BIFA and BAFTA qualifying festivals, and recently screened at the  BFI’s Women With A Movie Camera summit 2023. It was released in collaboration with charity CALM and Minute Shorts, (watch here). As an actor Daisy has appeared in DOCTORS, POLDARK, ITV's CLEANING UP and feature film STARFISH opposite

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Isla Badenoch


Isla Badenoch is a self-taught filmmaker living in the rural borderlands of the UK and Ireland.

She is interested in hidden communities and rites of passage that connect to the natural environment. Her atmospheric films defy stereotypical understandings of those who have been excluded from society in the hopes of cultivating a culture of compassion. Isla’s films have screened at multiple festivals internationally, longlisted for a BIFA, broadcast on BBC4, Short of the Week, Vimeo Staff Picks, WaterBear and Minute Shorts. She is an alumni of BFI New Writers Lab, BBC New Creatives, LUX Now & Next, Reclaim the Frame’s Filmonomics and Directors UK Inspire. Isla is currently in development of her debut narrative feature supported by the BFI and Film Wales, with a second fiction feature that has been selected to participate in Le Groupe Ouest’s, LIM: Less Is More (renowned European screenwriting programme).

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James Cookson


James is a Midlands based director working in commercials and branded content.

He has written and directed a series of short films, been funded by the BFI and screened at BAFTA qualifying short film festivals. James is now looking to progress from commercial and short form drama work to TV drama.

Nadine Edit

Nadine O’Mahony


Nadine O’Mahony makes films about wounded people seeking connection.

Her short film Rushed premiered at the Flatpack Film Festival and won Best Breakout film at the Windrush Caribbean Film Festival as well as being selected for Best of the Fest. She is a co-host on digital radio show The Brum Picture Show on Brum Radio and is head programmer for community cinema Screen B14. She is currently working towards her first feature film The Lodger which has been optioned by Carol Harding at Vicarious Productions.

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Owen Tooth


Owen's films have won Best Director, Best Film, Best Comedy, Best Documentary, Audience Choice awards and more.

His most recent three shorts screened in over 20 festivals this year alone. With a talent for inspiring a team with his unstoppable energy, Owen works in comedy, drama and horror. Owen's debut feature sold for a global release, Total Film declared one of Owen’s shorts ‘One of the five scariest shorts online’, and one won a YouTube competition to be released as a bonus on the Paranormal Activity blu-ray. Owen is currently shifting into TV and has shadowed on a number of Britain's most loved shows. He has directed 2nd unit on the hit comedy series, Big Boys S2 and Horrible Histories. As a wheelchair user and an ally, Owen is championing change in the industry.

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Simon Dymond


Simon is a Midlands-based director working across shorts and music videos.

His film Wash Club, played at ASFF, LSFF & Galway, premiered online via Short of the Week and was a Vimeo Staff Pick. His latest short is about a vegan cult and is currently submitting to festivals. As a music video director Simon has worked with labels and artists internationally, including James Blunt, Sony, Warner & Ministry of Sound. He is currently developing his first feature film project and is attached to direct an episode of an upcoming horror anthology series.

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Sophie Black


Sophie Black has directed nine short films, including: A Different Place, Night Owls and Songbird which have played in festivals world wide including BFI Flare and LSFF.

She is also founder of Tiskelle Pictures, through which she produced the short films Stop/Eject(long-listed for Best British Short Film at the BAFTAs2015), and Good Grief, starring This Is England’s Vicky McClure. 

She specialises in creating magical realist work and is passionate about bringing productions to the East Midlands. A member of BAFTA Connect and Directors UK, Sophie was accepted into the BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew scheme in both 2018 & 2019. She recently directed her television debut – the season two finale of the popular fantasy web series Ren: The Girl With The Mark – and she was the director’s shadow on Sanctuary: A Witch’s Tale for AMC Studios and Sundance NOW.

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Thom Petty


Thom grew up in the rural North-west and now lives in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

After working as a doctor in the NHS for a decade, he subsequently trained as an actor at LAMDA, graduating with distinction, and has worked in film, TV, theatre and audio. He is building a slate of short films as writer/director under Lost Northerner, www.lostnortherner.com. His shorts CHACONNE (dir Francesca Brill) and BEFORE HE have played internationally including Amsterdam IFF and Bolton IFF. TICKER his BFI NETWORK-funded short film is currently on its festival run and has played in competition at Iris Prize Festival 2023.

In theatre, Thom’s play COAST was a finalist in the Platform Presents Playwright Prize and his 2020 ACE-funded commission CONFECTIONARY/APPLAUSE was performed at The Mercury Theatre. He also is a composer and has had works performed at Edinburgh Festival by the Steve Martland Band and the Edinburgh Camerata; the Cheltenham Festival; the York Late Music Festival by the Northern Saxophone Quartet; and the Royal Festival Hall.