After a competitive assessment process, eleven talented Midlands-based writers were selected to develop their short film scripts.

The lab led by BIFA and BAFTA-nominated writer and Script Editor Laura Tunbridge took place from January to early July and culminated in a meet-up where the participants had the opportunity to spend time together and discuss their projects.

The cohort received guidance on refining concepts, structure, character development, writing dialogue, creating treatments and pitching documents for short films before each working one to one with their designated Script Editor to develop and finalise their screenplay.

Read on to learn more about the talent and their exciting projects.

AK Golding (they/she)



Before the Miner’s Welfare is turned into an electrical wares shop, a local Woman breaks in to dance with her Grandad’s Ghost and maybe, confront her families (m)ancestral trauma.

About AK

AK Golding is a Queer, working-class, East Midlands born & bred, Neurodivergent Creative. With an FDA in Professional Acting from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School & a previous degree in Musical Theatre from EPA, AK creates & perform’s as a Deviser, Writer, Actor, Singer & Dancer for Stage & Screen. A Theatre-Maker & co-creator on the shows, ‘Hot in Here: a Energy Generating Dance Party’ with PigFoot Theatre, at Camden’s People Theatre & UK Tour, ‘Extra Time’ with Derby Theatre & ‘Move Fast & Break Things’ with Freight Theatre at Summerhall, Edinburgh Fringe.

For 2023, AK is ready to write & develop authentic, representational stories of the regional working class and will develop their anti-hero, drag persona, ‘Cole Minor’ with SOHO Theatre’s Drag Lab & short film script with the BFI NETWORK Script Lab.

Annabel Brightling (she/her)



After a near-fatal birth experience, a young black woman tries to navigate motherhood, whilst she fights to cling onto what’s left of her sanity.

About Annabel

Annabel Brightling is a dark comedy script writer who wrote episode one of the supernatural drama series ‘SeaView’. Since writing scripts in her early teens, Annabel has developed a diverse writing portfolio which gained her a place in Writing West Midlands’ Room 204 Programme. In recent years, she has written a superhero comic book series called ‘Winds of Change’, which explores the topic of climate change, through the lens of meta-humans, produced by Comexposed.

She's also a staff writer for a new historical dark comedy TV show currently in development in the US. Staying stateside, Annabel wrote an original romantic comedy TV Movie, ‘What We Do for Love’, which stars Jake Epstein (Netflix's ‘The Umbrella Academy’) and completed two cycles of the BBC ‘Eastenders’ Scriptwriting Scheme.

When it comes to her original scripts, Annabel is known for stories which centre around cynical and irreverent observations that play on the inherent contradiction of human empathy. She also explores power plays, life in Black and Asian communities, classism, and mental health.

Carl Woods (he/him)



Moments before a major race, a Paralympian obsessed with winning must tackle his own mental pressures to succeed - no matter the consequences.

About Carl

Carl Woods is a Writer-Director who specialises in telling human-led stories that challenge expectations and platform new perspectives across narrative and documentary. His ethos is all about crafting narrative-challenging work that engages a broad audience.

Carl is BAFTA Connect Member and works with talent across the West Midlands and organisations across Europe, Africa, and Asia, directing successful projects for the likes of Adidas, Citroen, Big Issue, and Volvo.

In 2023, Carl released his Directorial debut feature documentary, My Everest, about a disabled man on a mission to defy expectations. Bringing together a motley crew of friends, he decides to take on his biggest challenge yet: to trek to Everest Base Camp on horseback to prove his self-worth. Yet as the reality of his world-first trek hits, putting his body through incredible pain, he is forced to dive deeper into himself and question his original motivations.

Catherine Wignall (she/her)



Haunted by the ghost of her thin ex-BFF, plus-size Beatrix is forced to confront society’s harmful body standards if she intends to survive the night.

About Catherine

Catherine made her debut with the Blumhouse comedy CRAWLERS, before writing the first season of GLHF for Brat TV. She is a BAFTA Connect member; an Austin Film Festival ‘Screenwriter to Watch’; a Fulbright Scholar; and a UCLA Screenwriting MFA graduate.

Emma-Louise Howell (she/her)



Hidden in her makeshift shelter, Demi’s safe from an incoming storm. But, as her withering neighbour, Shep, steps inside she must confront the dangers she’s choosing to ignore.

About Emma-Louise

Emma is a Writer and Director from the East Midlands. With a background in Theatre, she trained at RADA and Birkbeck, where she wrote her first full-length play, Patterns. Patterns was awarded the Michael Ross Prize from RADA and has since been developed with the Leicester Curve and The Space Theatre.

Since graduating, Emma has written work with various other Theatres across the UK, including Arcola Theatre, National Student Drama Festival and BBC Radio. She’s developing a one-woman Pyramid Scheme comedy with the Mercury Theatre and a rural coming-of-age story with Boundless Theatre, Norwich Theatre and Arts Council England.

Her work has been described as ‘darkly funny, unexpected and with an incredibly distinct point of view’ and she just kind of rolls with that as a tagline.

Emma is now focussing on developing her screenwriting; her first TV Pilot Only the Good explores the kaleidoscope of teenage grief and was recently shortlisted for the BBC Writersroom 22/23 and saw her named as a WildSeed Studios Talent to Watch writer. She is also a Screenskills HETV Assistant Director working on Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of The Gentlemen.

Given this move over into screen, Emma is hugely excited to be part of the BFI Network Script Development Lab. With such incredible mentors and a new peer network to learn with and from, it’s a really valuable and unique opportunity to bring together her experience writing for Theatre and work towards releasing her first short film.

Harpal Hayer (he/him)



Love is in…the bus home from work? Tommy’s journey seems routine, until a tragedy forces him and Hannah (his secret crush) to team up.

About Harpal

Harpal Hayer is an Actor-Writer born and raised in Nottingham. He attended The Television Workshop from the age of 10, which is where he first began writing, as well as acting. Along with two other alumni members, he co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in the YouTube comedy series 'Shepherd's Delight.'

He has been writing and developing his ideas over the past five-years with a mix of tv comedy pilots and short/feature film ideas.

Natalie Cutler (she/her)



A homeless architect suffering with OCD attempts to leave her temporary accommodation for a job interview.

About Natalie

A regional artist from Dudley, Natalie began her career in Theatre and stand-up. Her one-woman show Not Yet Suffragette debuted at the Fringe to a 5* review from Broadway Baby and was nominated for 'Best Show' at the Fringe. She recently played the lead role of Gale in a new tv comedy Groundbreaking, which had its worldwide premiere in competition at this year's Canneseries festival. She was also named as one of 8 'Must See' comedians in Birmingham and has been nominated for two RTS Midlands awards.

In 2022 she was the only writer from the UK selected for the Cannes Film Festival Writers Residency with StudioCanal. Her first TV Drama won best pilot on the FilmMarketHub and reached the top 10 scripts of Steven Knight's writing competition. BAFTA-winning Nativity creator Debbie Isitt is currently mentoring her as part of an Arts Council-funded program for regionally underrepresented voices. She has also been selected for this year's BBCVoices cohort and is developing her next tv drama.

Rowe Woods (she/her)

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When a shared, treasured memory is lost, a son searches for a way to re-find it.

About Rowena

As a girl, Rowe loved to tell stories to make things makes sense. Why was a street called a certain name and why do we consider 7 lucky? If there wasn’t a reason, she would invent one of her own. She believes that stories can help break down barriers and build commonality. She wants to be able to tell stories of those less seen on screen.

Sean McGrail (he/him)



When a student disappears mysteriously, a sceptical small town investigator becomes obsessed with finding a rational explanation - and in doing so, risks the same fate.

About Sean

Sean is a writer/director and documentary filmmaker. He's made films about cult musician/comic book artist Jeffrey Lewis and director Paddy Slattery, as well as working with Sean McAllister on projects including the BFI/BBC film 'A Northern Soul'. He is currently focusing on making films that explore alternative perspectives of life in the Midlands, especially his hometown of Walsall, the location for his most recent short film, 'This Is My Town'.

Selina Mosinski (she/her)



An ageing community led by a sadistic Butcher will do all it can to see a young local carry on their ritualistic traditions.

Stuart Edwards (he/him)



An ageing community led by a sadistic Butcher will do all it can to see a young local carry on their ritualistic traditions.

About Selina Mosinski & Stuart Edwards

Selina Mosinski is a working-class actress and writer best known for playing the lead in the hit YouTube series Charity Shop Sue. Working on shows such as Rupauls Drag Race, and Strictly Come Dancing as well as performing live at multiple Pride events as the character Sue Tuke who she continues to perform alongside Midlands CSS creatorsDead Sweet Tv.

She has recently been involved with BFI shorts Home Movie’ and ‘Burn Out’, focusing on writing and producing locally-led projects based on autobiographical work and working with Writer-Director Stuart Edwards on the body horror comedy ‘The Butcher.’

Stuart Edwards is a working-class, LGBTQ+ writer, director and actor based in Nottingham. Along with collaborators Tim and Matt Chesney, he formed the creative collective Dead Sweet Tv. Together the trio created the comedy series and social media sensation Charity Shop Sue. In 2019 the Charity Shop Sue YouTube series became an online phenomenon and garnered a fervent cult following amongst varied audiences across digital platforms.

Stuart’s on-screen writing credits include Joe Lycett’s Channel 4 Pride Special, Big Pride Party. In 2023 Stuart will be collaborating with writer and actor Selina Mosinski on a horror comedy project. With more projects in the works Stuart aims to keep exploring and experimenting within and outside the established boundaries of film, Tv and digital first media.