After a competitive assessment process, ten talented Midlands-based writers were selected to develop their short film scripts as part of our Stories to Shorts Programme. 

The lab led by BIFA and BAFTA-nominated writer and Script Editor Laura Tunbridge took place at the end of 2023 and has led to ten diverse and brilliant screenplays from exciting new Midlands talent.

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

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

Paven Virk

Paven Virk


A mother had a plan to escape. The plan went wrong. Her children
must now take over the plan. CANALS is a coming-of-age story of two British South Asian siblings who escape their home to find refuge in a bright pink canal boat.

About Paven (she/her)

Paven began writing after her girl gang play ENGLANDS LANE gained recognition in 2010. Named Screen International ‘STARS OF TOMORROW’, WORKING TITLE’S residency at Hay Festival. Guiding Lights mentor Simon Beaufoy. BBC VOICES. CH4 screenwriting programme 2022 with BETI her graduation script. 10-week National Theatre attachment. In 2012, after two busy years Paven took a break to have her son, returning in 2019. 

Writer’s rooms: SKINS, ACKLEY BRIDGE. Shadow Scripts: ACKLEY BRIDGE & EASTENDERS. Recently completed writer’s room for Simon Beaufoy/Riz Ahmed/House series and script consultant on a SKY serial. Current projects include ASIAN BABE, an Indian NHS nurse turns to OnlyFans for financial and sexual liberation (West Road Pictures), BFI early film fund MELA (Jude Goldrei). Passionate about telling stories from a fresh perspective alongside putting the Midlands on the map.

Hodan Mohamed

Hodan Mohamed


A disgraced sports coach discovers the opportunity to revive her career when her house is broken into by four delinquent teenage girls whereby instead of calling the police, desperately tries to recruit them as a relay team.

About Hodan (she/her)

Mohamed is a freelance writer based in Coventry with articles published on Black Ballad and AMALIAH. Having studied English and Journalism at Coventry University, Hodan is venturing into screenwriting where she aims to craft stories for young audiences in ways unexpected.

Hayley Griffin



A lonely football roams the streets looking for someone to play with and stumbles across the game of his life. Determined to get in on the action he sabotages a fellow ball risking his chance of finding what he really needs, a friend.

About Hayley (she/her)

Hayley has received industry recognition for her writing, through an honorable mention from Barnstorm’s BOLT 2022 screenplay contest (Silent Retreat), was shortlisted for Voices of the Future (Offside) and has recently been selected for the Creative Access and Penguin Random House Mentoring scheme, as well as a graduate of the HarperCollins Author Academy Spring 2022. She has also been awarded a Developing Your Creative Practice (DYCP) Arts Council grant to write for children. Her feature-length screenplay, Offside, has recently been selected for The Short List at Barnstorm Fest 2023. 

She is particularly drawn to writing feel-good stories that explore themes of family, from the one you’re born into to the one you make for yourself, and how the characters are searching for what family means to them. Hayley has aspirations to be part of creating content that has the potential to reach a wider audience as a writer across multiple mediums. 

Danny Gibbons

Danny Gibbons


Daisy’s daily routine as a widowed mortuary technician involves preparing bodies for funerals. When her late husband’s mistress turns up dead in her mortuary, she needs to balance her professional responsibility and her long-repressed feelings.

About Danny (he/him)

Danny's debut short film 'Mark'd', a creative look at the largely less publicized emotional abuse, quickly found success on the festival circuit, winning the first- & one-off Warner Brothers Short Film Festival, with Tom Hooper calling it a 'powerful and visceral physicalization of a very real issue'. Mark'd went on to amass nearly 1 million views online across all platforms & has since been included in dozens of Domestic Violence Resource packs across the UK. Danny's follow-up short 'Last Dance', a psychological horror went on to have a very successful festival run, being selected & winning awards worldwide including the 'Melies D'Argent' at Razorreel Film Festival & culminating in winning the 'Melies D'Or' for Best European Short Film at the prestigious Sitges Film Festival in 2021.

Anna Mansell

Anna Mansell


Sundays mean visits to dad’s. Roast dinners, the Eastenders omnibus and, on a good day, hand-me-downs from her stepsister. Eliza's not ready for lesson that will dictate the shape of her life but it’s a lesson every girl needs to learn, isn’t it?

About Anna (she/her)

Anna Mansell is the bestselling author of seven novels, a playwright and emerging screenwriter. A BBC Writersroom Alumnus, and a New Associate with New Perspectives Theatre Company, Anna has a feature in development and her latest theatre piece is currently touring Cornwall.

Freya Baker-Duffin

Freya Baker Duffin


Struggling with loneliness in a hyper-connected world, a young man yearns to make friends the 'old fashioned way’ - through work. Except, he’s a drug dealer.

About Freya (she/her)

As well as writing and making Short Films, Freya works as a Production Apprentice for the BBC and has worked on a number of Productions, including ‘Our Guy in Colombia’ for Channel 4, ’The Gadget Show’ for Channel 5, and as a Camera Assistant. Her past films have won national awards at the Into Film Awards (sponsored by Warner Brothers Discovery) and the Moving Image Awards, where she won ‘One to Watch’, (sponsored by the BFI). Freya is in Post-Production for her current short, and is keen to tell stories centred on the theme of hope. She is interested in many areas of Production for the shorts she creates: Writing, Producing, Directing, Camera and Editing.

Ryan Walker-Edwards

Ryan Walker-Edwards


Amid a Jamaican wedding in Birmingham, singleton Drew grapples with the spotlight as he's tasked with a speech. He finds himself entangled in the intricacies of love, identity, & expectation, all while a supernatural occurrence shakes the festivities

About Ryan (he/him)

Ryan is an actor and writer of Jamaican descent, whose work delves into the intricacies of class, sexuality, and race relations within Afro-Caribbean communities through comedy. Ryan was part of the inaugural Sky Comedy Rep Festival with his play 'Boys Who F**k and Cry'. Additionally, his short story 'Safari' was commissioned by BBC Arts and Arts Council England as a short audio drama for BBC Sounds. More recently, he won the DYSPLA Story-makers residency in 2022 with his script 'MAN, CODE', which has recently completed production. It will have its world premiere at the Academy-qualifying Chicago International Film Festival and a UK premiere at the BAFTA-qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

Ana Carolina de Freitas Rodrigues

Carolina Rodrigues


When an estranged daughter discovers her father has succumbed to a mysterious illness, she returns to the family farm to attempt to heal old wounds and disinfest the land where nothing has been able to grow.

About Carolina (she/her)

Carolina Rodrigues is a filmmaker, poet and performing artist who explores the connections between language, gender roles, culture, and feminism. She is inspired by internet culture, folklore tales and the sociocultural and political scene.  

On her artistic practice, there is a reflection on individual characters that represent collective and urgent themes in the social context of the ‘Other’. Other intrinsic themes include technological voyeurism, loneliness vs. identity and competition.  

Carolina completed her degree in Communication Sciences in Lisbon, with a specialization in cinema and television; where she first developed her short films focused on feminist matters. She continued to pursue her academic studies with a master’s in international film production at De Montfort University in Leicester. Since graduating with honours, Carolina has continued to write, direct, and edit various projects, from sci-fi shorts to horrors, in collaboration with other local filmmakers. More recently, her documentary, ‘Bald and Beautiful’, was showcased at the Real Documentary Festival 2023. In Leicester, she has also joined the artistic and literary community where she organizes and attends monthly open-mics and collaborates with the Nottingham Poetry Festival.

Joseph Erickson-Kucukdurgut

Joseph Erickson-Kucukdurgut


November 1983. As a nuclear crisis escalates, two spies debate over a piece of intelligence that could end the world.

About Joe (he/him)

Joe is a  writer/director from Nottingham. He has been extremely passionate about cinema his entire life, whether it be the screwball comedies of Howard Hawks or the sci-fi/horror of John Carpenter. He spent his teenage years acting in stage plays and also studied TV and Film production at the Confetti Institute. He then went on to study International Relations and American Studies at the University of Derby, and has recently finished studying for a master’s degree in Psychology at Nottingham Trent. The subjects he studied at university have greatly informed my interests as a writer and storyteller. He has a huge interest in how the cinema of the 20th century reflects the cultural/social climate in which it was made. He also loves historical storytelling and writing period pieces. He is currently directing a short film based on a script he wrote entitled ‘Trial Z42’, and is eager to get as much experience within the industry as he can. 

David Blakemore

David Blakemore


A legendary children's television presenter comes to terms with the end of his long-running show, saying goodbye to his partner Ralph.

David started his career in 2000, joining youth radio station KIC FM, where he learned how to produce live and pre-recorded radio content, specialist features related to issues affecting young people and programmes for broadcast. He later studied for a BTEC National Diploma in Media Production at the City of Wolverhampton College, learning fundamental skills in filmmaking, radio producing, journalism and photography. before attending the University of Winchester in 2004.

After graduating in 2007, David was selected to participate in the Techo Stories Project in 2010, a collaboration between artists, and the National Youth Theatre to devise a performance piece as part of the 2012 Olympic Games alongside several young professionals.

David was selected for the Channel 4 Production Trainee scheme in 2013, spending 12 months working with several production companies and receiving training on different aspects of the industry. Since leaving the scheme, he has continued working as a freelancer, working short-term contracts, logging rushes, transcribing audio and fact-checking research.

In December 2016, David completed a two-week work placement at Eleven Films, working in the development department. He researched potential directors for a horror series that was in development and compiled script reports for prospective writers seeking the development of their scripts.