Raindance Postgraduate Team

Elliot Grove

Raindance Founder


Elliot Grove founded Raindance Film Festival in 1993, the British Independent Film Awards in 1998, and Raindance.TV in 2007. He has produced over 150 short films, and 5 feature films. He has written eight scripts, one of which is currently in pre-production. His first feature film, TABLE 5 (1997) was shot on 35mm and completed for a total of £278.38. He teaches writers and producers in the UK, Europe, Japan and America.
In 2013 he relaunched the production arm: Raw Talent with the cult film director Ate de Jong. Their first venture was the psychological thriller Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey. finished November 2013.

He has written three books which have become industry standards: RAINDANCE WRITERS LAB 2nd Edition (Focal Press 2008), RAINDANCE PRODUCERS LAB (Focal Press 2013) and 130 PROJECTS TO GET YOU INTO FILMMAKING (Barrons 2009). He was awarded a PhD in 2009 for services to film education. His first novel THE BANDIT QUEEN is scheduled for publication next year. Read articles by Elliot Grove.

Contact: elliot@raindance.co.uk

Rick Harvey, Programme Director, MA in Filmmaking

Rick Harvey

Programme Director


Rick has been the Programme Director of the Raindance Postgraduate Degree since January 2018. He is a Cambridge-based screenwriter, story design consultant, lecturer and mentor.

Since attaining an MA Screenwriting & Research qualification from the London College of Communication in 2001, he has storylined for ‘Family Affairs’ (Talkback Thames/Channel 5), developed projects for Hewland International and Frenzy Films, written a slate of short films and spec features, mentored on First Light, Media Box and BFI projects and written and developed feature screenplays for EON Productions.

He has been trained by the UK Film Council to devise, develop and deliver industry-standard courses on screenwriting and cross-platform story design, and he lectures regularly on various aspects of the writing process

Rick is currently adapting one of his screenplays, Shadowplay, into a six-part serial for TV, and writing and developing a web-based Thriller, Heretic[s].

Contact: rick.harvey@raindance.co.uk

Baptiste Charles

Programme Registrar


Baptiste has been the Programme Registrar in the Raindance Postgraduate Degree since March 2016. He joined Raindance full time after having been an intern at the 23rd Raindance Film Festival in 2015. 

Originally from France, Baptiste has had a passion for stories since his early years. He taught himself English in his early teens because he didn’t want to have to wait for the French translation in order to know how Harry Potter ended. He graduated from Kedge Business School with a Master’s Degree in Management, with a major in the creative industries and a minor in gender studies and media ethics. He wrote his final thesis on the political empowerment of minorities through improved representation on screen in the age of streaming services.

Baptiste is also a writer, writing for both stage and screen. His first short film, U Up? is currently in pre-production. He is also the producer of the award-winning short film Alder, and the hit web series NETFL!X AND KILL.

Contact: baptiste.charles@raindance.co.uk 


Adrian Sturges

Film Producer


Adrian began his career by producing short films by such directors as Rupert Wyatt – Subterrain and Get the Picture and Sam Taylor-Johnson – Love You More, the latter being nominated for the BAFTA and the Palme d’Or. His first feature was The Baker, written and directed by Gareth Lewis. Subsequently he produced The Escapist, the first film by Rupert Wyatt which was selected for the Sundance Film Festival and for which he won the British Independent Film Awards prize for Best Achievement in Production. He then produced J Blakeson’s The Disappearance of Alice Creed which premiered at Toronto. In 2011 he produced Albatross, the film debut of Niall MacCormick. Adrian was named a European Producer on the Move, a Producer to Watch by Variety, a Star of Tomorrow by Screen International and a BAFTA Brit to Watch.

Contact: adrian-sturges@raindance.co.uk

Andrea Harkin

Film Director


Andrea’s first short film The Flyer won a BAFTA-Scotland new talent award in 2008. She graduated from the National Film & Television School in February 2011 with a portfolio of short film dramas. Communion was nominated for the British Council Award for Best UK Short and was featured in a showcase of ‘outstanding short films by British women directors’ in the BFI’s Made In Britain (Next Generation) season. Her graduation film For Megan won a Special Mention for Best Student Short at LSFF and she had two shorts (Remnants and Waterbaby) in consecutive selections at the BFI London Film Fest. All of her films have travelled and competed in top international festivals. Andrea directed an episode of BBC Northern Ireland’s Belfast-based drama 6Degrees last November, and was then selected for Channel 4’s highly competitive ‘Coming Up’ scheme. She shot the half-hour drama Sammy’s War earlier this year and it screened to positive reviews and Critic’s Choice selections in the Sunday Times, the Independent and TimeOut. She is developing her first feature film The Rain Days through Screen Yorkshire’s Triangle scheme.

Contact: andrea.harkin@raindance.co.uk

Anna Jancsó

Film Producer


Member of an internationally renown Hungarian filmmaking dynasty, Anna worked for over a decade in documentary film production in Europe and Latin-America. Her films have been broadcast on ARTE, ZDF, Odissea, Mezzo and Arts Channel Australia, screened at international festivals like Visions du Réel, Rhode Island IFF, É Tudo Verdade and BAFICI and won, amongst others, the FIPA D’Or and Film London Jury Mention awards.

Now based in London and mainly focusing on fiction, Anna is working with Christopher Sheppard at Adventure Pictures on a number of projects for writer/director Sally Potter also makes shorts and features as an independent producer.

Anna’s credits include the documentaries A Different Way (2008) and El destello (2011) by Uruguayan filmmaker Gabriel Szollosy, the UK-produced feature Forgotten Man by Canadian Arran Shearing (2015) and the Film London Special Jury Mention winner short film Little Soldier by Stella Corradi, with cinematography by Robbie Ryan (2015).

Anna is currently in development with a slate of features: an ambitious family film based on a book by Hungary’s eminent 20th century writer Magda Szabó; Sent, an action-romance by British novelist Rebecca Gowers; and a coming-of-age drama from director Tania Diez and scriptwriter Regina Moriarty.

Contact: anna.jancso@raindance.co.uk

Anji Loman-Field



Anji began her career as a producer of factual TV before moving into drama.  Her writing credits include an 8 x 50 minute comedy drama SINGLES for ZDF, a TV movie EMAIL TO GOD for PRO7 and a feature film LOVE SCENES FROM PLANET EARTH for SAMFILM. She wrote for BBC’s EASTENDERS for six years, also penning episodes of HOLBY CITY and DOCTORS, and five original plays for BBC RADIO 4.

In 2005, she storylined and co-wrote forty episodes of TASTE OF LIFE for BBC MEDIA ACTION in Cambodia and was the creator/show-runner of HOUSE OF MANY WINDOWS, a BBC MEDIA ACTION drama series set in Vietnam. 

While based in south-east Asia, Anji founded InDevelopment Productions (IDP) in order to produce original drama. Her international clients included BBC MEDIA ACTION, various AID AGENCIES & NGOs, and the philanthropist WARREN BUFFETT.

IDP is now UK-based. Anji is currently working with Berlin-based producer SILVANA SANTAMARIA (SOILFILMS) on a TV drama series TINDERBOX and the feature film GROWING UP IN PUBLIC. She is developing several other original projects for film and TV with BACK TO FRONT FILMS and with Executive Producer KELLY ASHTON (RED JOAN, THE SEAGULL).

Armughan Hassan

Cinematographer & Editor


Armughan Hassan’s experience of filmmaking is spread over 18 years. Before coming to direction he had been working professionally as a cinematographer and film editor that now provides an extra edge to his work. His international projects as cinematographer and editor have earned him acclaimed reviews from around the globe. For his work as cinematographer and editor on the feature film “Dukhtar” he was awarded with the fellowship of the reputable ifs labs New York in 2012.

After spending years in documentaries and Feature films, he recently have stepped into the main stream TV commercials and is associated with the well known production company “iDcreations” from where he have launched his directional career.

currently his first written and directed television season is announced with Sadia Jabbar Productions to be produced in spring of 2019.

Creative areas of interest 

Writing, storytelling, building characters specially strong female protagonists. experimenting with camera work, editing techniques for storytelling.

Mentoring strengths 

low budget filming, sensitive subjects and characters, working with actors and non actors, visual language, power of editing in production and pre-production.

Ava Karvonen

Multi-platform Producer


Ava Karvonen is a storyteller and cross platform producer, with more than thirty years of industry experience – everything from working as a movie publicist to writing, directing and producing. Her twenty-year old production company is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (www.reelgirlsmedia.com).

Ava’s credits include (but are not limited to) creating and producing three television series (The Lie DetectiveWild Files and Booked), award winning documentaries; the serious game Murder or Suicide; web series; podcasts; and an award winning online companion to an animated TV series where the audience can use digital assets from the series to create their own comics and stories (anashinteractive.com). In addition to producing, Ava also writes and directs. She directed two seasons of the documentary series Chaos and Courage; worked as one of the directors on the CBC series Keeping Canada Alive; created, wrote and directed The Lie Detective; directed and produced Homefront (a story that followed five soldiers and their families from pre-deployment until their return from Afghanistan); and directed Seeds of Change (telling the story of childhood friends who return to China to help restore the health of China’s Yangtze River). Her work has been internationally recognized with more than 40 awards, including the CFTPA Award for Best Convergent New Media, a Japan Prize, and the Ojai California Festival Theme Award: “Enriching the Human Spirit Through Film”.

In addition to producing, Ava has been working with Raindance since 2014, teaches part-time at NAIT polytechnic and FAVA (Film and Video Arts society of Alberta), has served on several juries in Canada and abroad, sits on the executive board of IATSE Local 210 and is a past board member of the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC), DOC Alberta, AMPIA (Alberta Media Producers Industry Association), WIFT (Women in Film and Television), the AIDS Network, Edmonton Arts Council, Filmmakers for Conservation (an international organization of which she is also a founding board member) and the Digital Media Association of Alberta (DMAA).

Ava loves to travel (having travelled to more than sixty countries) and holds both a Canadian and a Finnish passport.

Contact: ava.karvonen@raindance.co.uk

Ben Gouldthorpe

Writer & Indie Filmmaker


Ben Gouldthorpe is a California-based writer and independent filmmaker whose work has garnered late-round attention from the Academy Nicholl Fellowship and Sundance Screenwriters Lab.  He holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he received the Charles Purpura Award for Excellence in Screenwriting and was recognized as a finalist for the Goldberg Playwriting Prize.  His recent projects include scripts for three independent features, the libretto for an off-Broadway musical theater collaboration, and a successful short film initiative to build a playground for underprivileged kids in New Orleans.

Creative areas of interest

Ben specializes in character-driven indie and prestige features with particular interests in bold drama, elevated genre, smart comedy, and social justice.  In addition to this, he has experience writing television pilots and playscripts.

Mentoring strengths 

Screenwriting, television writing, playwriting, story analysis, creative development

Catriona Maclean



Catriona graduated with a distinction in screenwriting from the National Film and Television School where she was the Oscar Moore screenwriting scholar. Represented by agents Casarotto Ramsay, Catriona has worked in animation and live action, been commissioned for both adaptation and original screenwriting projects. She also script edits. Previously, Catriona worked in documentary; for several years a development producer at production company and distributor, Electric Sky, she pitched and sold factual series and documentaries in the UK and US. Additionally Catriona has a second masters in English literature from Sussex University and a first in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She has twice had films nominated for the Fuji shorts Best Film award. She is currently working on feature films for Scala/ Wostok, supported by BFI and Media funding, as well as Sixteen Films.

Contact: catriona.maclean@raindance.co.uk

Chuck Scott

Producer & Director


Charles Scott is an award winning producer/director with over 270 documentary and factual
television programs successfully completed. His production company has partnered with many
producers around the world and shot in over 50 countries with his programs airing on many major
broadcasters such as BBC, Five, NHK, CBC, CTV, Global, Discovery Channel, National
Geographic, PBS, Science Channel, Discovery Health. Charles has also produced and/or
directed hundreds of commercials, music videos, corporate videos, three feature films, children’s
shows and a daytime talk show. Chuck’s greatest strength is visual story telling, he and his team
craft a strong story arc for every work. They support the narrative with exceptional photography,
whether the story takes 15 seconds or 150 minutes to tell.

Col Spector

Documentary Filmmaker


BA (Hons) Film & TV London College of Printing, MA in Film from Staffordshire University. Col is an award-winning writer/director who started in non-fiction at the BBC and now works primarily in fiction: writing and directing feature films for the cinema. He also runs his own documentary consultancy business www.thedocumentaryconsultant.com

Col started at the BBC directing various short comedy dramas series. He then went on to direct a number of highly distinctive, critically acclaimed documentaries for Channel 4 and BBC. These include: Just Enough DistanceTrouble At The HousePuccini CappucciniThe Real Alan Clark, and The Lost Supper

Commercials he directed out of Ridley Scott Associates include Mars, AOL, Lea & Perrins and Snickers. 

He then wrote and directed the comedy short New Year’s Eve (starring Stephen Mangan & Keira Knightley) which won several prizes before being included in the feature compilation Stories of Lost Souls

His first feature as writer/director Someone Else (starring Stephen Mangan) was released in the UK in 2007 by Soda Pictures. It won various prizes including Variety Critics’ Choice at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. It’s been shown several times on BBC2 and is currently being distributed by the IFC and Sundance Channel in the US. Col’s second feature as writer/director, the relationship comedy Honeymooner (starring Gerard Kearns) was released in the UK by Soda Pictures and recently broadcast on BBC 1. He is currently in pre-production on his third feature, a US-set relationship comedy.

Creative Areas of Interest:

Documentary directing, microbudget feature filmmaking, writing & directing comedy films, writing & directing short films, documentary consulting, classical music, american indie cinema, mumblecore, the cinema of Woody Allen, Noah Baumbach, Sofia Coppola, Alexander Payne and Lena Dunham.

Mentoring Strengths

Directing documentaries, writing & directing microbudget feature films that an audience is likely to want to watch, short filmmaking, working with actors, casting, improvisation, directing comedy films.

Contact: col.spector@raindance.co.uk

Daniel Brierley



A recent graduate from the NFTS Screenwriting MA, where he worked on a number of films including ‘My face is in Space’ (LFF, EIFF, Mclaren Nomination for Best British Short, LIAF 2012) and ‘Graceland’ (ECU 2012) Daniel’s 2010 sitcom ‘Gypos’ was a finalist in the BBC College of Comedy and workshopped with Micheal Jacob to be performed as a stage play at the Soho Theatre. In 2011, he successfully pitched to a jury including Lord Puttnam and worked with Jon Plowman as part of the BBC Climate Change film process. He then wrote and directed the BBC/Open Uni film ‘Eats Shoots and Leaves’, starring Olivia Williams (Rushmore, Sixth Sense). His 2012 feature script “Release” was developed with Screen International Star of Tomorrow Robbie Mckillop and shortlisted for the NFTS/Vertigo development scheme. He’s also worked at companies like Turner Broadcasting, Red Bee Media, BBC World, Virgin Media, Hub TV and Alpha Century for a number of years as a creative, winning 2 Promax Gold advertising awards and making on air promos and adverts for brands as diverse as Seat Ibiza, House of Fraser and the House of Lords! His long play ‘Daytrippers’ was performed at the Theatre Royal East in Stratford in June 2013 and he’s recently been developing a true crime television series for TV2 in Norway. He’s working on another feature, ‘In Utero’ which is being developed as part of the Regards Croises program, in association with the British Council and Edinburgh International Film Festival.

He’s a mentor and a tutor for the Raindance film festival/MA film program and is represented by Laura Rourke at Independent Talent.

Contact: daniel.brierley@raindance.co.uk

Debs Paterson

Director & Writer


Debs Paterson is an award-winning director and writer whose first feature Africa United was made by Pathé and BBC Films. Shot on location in Rwanda, Burundi and South Africa, the comedy-drama premièred at TIFF ’10 to a standing ovation and was a gala première at the London Film Festival before releasing theatrically nationwide and internationally.

Debs was nominated for the Best Debut Director BIFA for Africa United, and was a BAFTA Brit to Watch in 2011. She has a masters in Literature from Cambridge and used to present Singapore’s version of ‘Match of the Day’, amongst many other jobs, including features casting, door-to-door sales in SoCal and trade union administration. She has lived and worked in a number of countries, was ‘made in Taiwan’ and did her A levels in South India. She has filmed in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Debs is London-based (mostly) and has several new feature projects in development.

Contact: debs.paterson@raindance.co.uk

Dejan Nikolaj Kraljacic, PhD



Tutor Bio

Professor of screenwriting at the Academy of Arts, University of Novi Sad in Serbia teaching both graduate and postgraduate students. He holds a BFA/MFA in Film Directing, and a PhD in Film Studies from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia. Since the mid-1990s, he wrote, directed and produced a dozen shorts and documentaries, including award winning: Balkan Blues (1998, Golden Medal of Belgrade at the Festival of Documentary and Short Films; Prix Europa, Berlin, official selection), and Shattered Dreams (2002, Special Jury Prize at the Festival of Documentary and Short Films in Belgrade; Special Jury Prize at the Golden Knight International Film Festival, Russia). He wrote and co-wrote a number of screenplays, including critically acclaimed feature film Huddersfield (co-writer, 2007) that won the National award for best screenplay and 2nd best screenplay award at the Film Screenplay Festival in Serbia, as well as Special mention at the Film and Art Festival Film Summer in Warsaw. He has worked as a writer/director in theatre, on radio, TV, and in advertising. Currently works on a textbook on screenwriting, still deals with the film criticism, and develops a couple feature screenplays. He is based between Montreal and Belgrade.

Creative areas of interest

History of cinema, contemporary cinema, film genre, dramaturgy, narrative theory, Classical Hollywood cinema, Hitchcock, SF, books about cinema, comic books

Mentoring strengths 

Writing (all kinds of fiction films), structure and the story analysis, cinephilia, a strong historical/theoretical background    

Contact: dejan.kraljacic@raindance.co.uk

Emily James

Documentary Director

Emily studied documentary directing at the National Film and Television School, her student films already winning international awards. After her first broadcast commission; The Luckiest Nut in the World (C4, 2002), the Guardian asserted “Emily James is a genius… and will in time be revered as a television innovator.” Following the experimental series Don’t Worry, (C4, 2004), and more classic documentaries such as What Would Jesus Drive?, (C4, 2005) and The Battle for Broadway Market (C4, 2006) Emily moved into feature feature documentaries. She was Executive Producer of the groundbreaking The Age of Stupid (2009), and her feature directing debut, Just Do It – a tale of modern day outlaws opened in over 45 independent cinemas across the UK in Summer 2011. Emily has a reputation for inventive storytelling, pioneering production models, and socially engaged creative filmmaking.

Contact: emily.james@raindance.co.uk

Fodhla Cronin-O’Reilly


Fodhla is the co-founder of Sixty Six Pictures. She was nominated for an Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards (2013) and won the Cartoon d’Or (2013) for her short animated film Head Over Heels. While developing feature films through Sixty Six, she also produces commercials and online branded content for clients such as Google, Stella Artois and Toshiba. Fodhla holds a Masters in Producing from the National Film & Television School in the United Kingdom.

Contact: fodhla.oreilly@raindance.co.uk

Gideon Van Eeden

Film Director


Gideon van Eeden is a former television actor and theatre creator with South African roots. After emigrating to the Netherlands in 2008 he has worked as a festival programmer and filmmaker. His films have been selected by numerous Oscar- and BAFTA-qualifying festivals and have received more than 20 international awards. His short film Bijltjesdag (Day of Reckoning) has screened at more than 30 festivals around the world, and marks his debut as a director of narrative fiction. The film won Best Student Film at the Kerry International Film Festival in Ireland. His second short film, The Apricot Tree was selected for PöFF Shorts and nominated for Best Student Film at the Norwich Film Festival. Both productions were made as part of his studies in screenwriting and directing with the Raindance MA Programme, which he completed with distinction in 2018. His third film, God Glitch, is an award winning sci-fi short that screened at Film Quest and the Leeds International Film Festival. Next in the production pipeline is Entgen Luyten’s Executioner – a gritty historical thriller; green- lit by the Limburg Film Fund. He is in development with 3:42AM – a horror web-series and his first feature, a psychological horror: Darkness and Voices

Creative areas of interest

Socially relevant and reconciliatory themes, bigotry & hypocrisy, societies undergoing massive, sudden change, psychological & paranormal horror, sci-fi and fantasy, magical realism, (esoteric) symbolism, creating suspense with camera movement and musical score, aesthetic emotion, synchronicity, education- & redemption plots, coming of age stories, outdoors and nature, myth, occult, character motivation and psychology, popcorn flicks. Festival programming. David Fincher, Darren Aronofsky, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Jordan Peele.

Mentoring strengths

Script development: premise / character / theme, beat-sheets, rewrites, the shooting script. Short, feature and web-series structure. Indie- and guerrilla filmmaking: using limitations to your advantage. Visual design for new directors: directing the camera (movement, composition and blocking), vision statements, look books, sizzle reels, storyboarding and shot lists. Pitch-deck, (crowd-) funding, festival strategy, collaboration techniques: working with key crew and cast. Some hard lessons learnt the hard way – happy to share those practical gems.

Ian Gamester

Director, Cinematographer & Editor


I am an independent film maker mostly shooting music videos, ads and documentaries. I have worked for clients including BBC, Channel 4, Coca Cola, Sony, Universal, Warner, Evian, Sheraton, Calvin Klein, Phillips & Vivienne Westwood.

I’m a director, cinematographer and editor, nominated in numerous festivals including Tropfest, Virgin Media Shorts, Vimeo Festival, Royal Television Society Awards.

I have shot over 100 music videos working in New York, Tokyo, Sydney, Bangkok, Paris. This means working at pace and delivering content that punches way above its budget. Each shoot is a mini production. Most music videos are pitched, produced and delivered within four weeks.

I have shot numerous documentaries for Comic Relief, UnLtd, National Lottery Fund, etc. This often means working with diverse groups of people, some vulnerable; telling their stories sensitively, giving them a voice. It’s always a rewarding experience.

As a lecturer I have run filmmaking projects in Africa, UAE and all over the UK. I currently lecture BA film students alongside my film making work. It’s inspiring to work with young talent. I am currently working on a pilot episode for a ten part drama, and co-writing a comedy set in Amsterdam.

Creative areas of interest

My main interest is in independent cinema, music video, fashion and photography. I also have a broad knowledge of UK and US TV.

Mentoring strengths

I have experience of micro-budget filmmaking, short filmmaking, working with actors, production, pitching, funding, technical filmmaking skills including cinematography and editing. I have enthusiasm, expertise, experience. I am ready to push you, inspire you, challenge you, and also learn from you as well.

Inka Achté

Documentary Director


Inka holds a BA in Film and Television Studies from Lahti University of Applied Sciences in Finland, as well as an MA in Documentary Film Directing from the National Film And Television School in the UK. She has  worked in film and TV industries for over a decade, with a focus in documentary storytelling and script writing.

Inka has directed several award-winning documentary films and series, and in 2013 she also started working in film sales. Inka has also been a programmer for the Helsinki Documentary Film Festival Docpoint since 2016.

Creative areas of interest 

Creative documentary, hybrid films and genres, auteur fiction, feminism, strong POV  

Mentoring strengths

Documentary filmmaking, short form screenwriting, story, idea and character development, pitching, 
festival and distribution strategies, documentary film sales and international co-productions

Jelena Goldbach

Film Producer


With an international background and close ties to Germany and Russia, Jelena specialises in European co-productions and holds both a Masters degree in Film and TV Producing from the UK’s world famous National Film & Television School as well as a BA Honours degree in Arts from Central Saint Martins College. In 2010 Jelena founded Wostok, an independent London-based production company that specialises in development, financing and production of international film and documentary projects with focus on up-and-coming talent. In addition to producing several award-winning short films, Jelena has worked for the Berlin-based independent production company Amusement Park Films (A MOST WANTED MAN) and for the international production and sales company the Coproduction Office (PARADICE:LOVE).

Julia Verdin



Julia Verdin is a British film producer and founder of Rough Diamond Productions, established in 1994. She has established herself as one of Hollywood’s leading producers with over 30 feature films. She is best known for producing the Sony Classics release The Merchant of Venice, directed by Michael Radford, and starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes, the Newmarket release Stander, directed by Bronwen Hughes, and starring Tom Jane, Deborah Unger, Dexter Fletcher and David O’Hara, and the Breaking Glass release 2 Jacks, based on Leo Tolstoy short story “Two Hussars,” directed by Bernard Rose, and starring Danny Huston, Jack Huston, Sienna Miller, Jacqueline Bisset and Billy Zane.

Verdin has recently executive produced Lionsgate release Born of War, directed by Vicky Jewson, and starring James Frain and Sophia Black D’Elia. This year she has just directed her first film Lost Girls staring Bar Paly, Marisol Nichols and Jamie Harris, and produced The Unwilling directed by Academy Award nominated director Jonathan Heap, and starring Dina Meyer, Jake Thomas and Lance Henriksen. Christmas Survival directed by James Dearden starring Gemma Whelan, Joely Richardson, Julian Ovenden and James Fox.

She is currently developing various film and TV projects with writers and directors including Academy Award and Palme d’Or nominated writer/director James Dearden; acclaimed festival award winning writer/director Éva Gárdos; Academy Award Nominated director Jonathan Heap; WGA Autumn Stories 2010 winner screenwriter Cynthia Riddle, and director Vincenzo Natali.

Verdin is a top film consultant having provided consulting services on development and production. She also wrote the critically acclaimed book, Success in Film, a detailed guide to funding, making and finishing independent films.

deepcharacterisation lockdown

Kira Anne-Pelican, PhD

Script Consultant


I am a script consultant, a researcher and a lecturer in screenwriting, with 25 years of experience working in the British, American and Chinese film and TV industries.

I began my career assisting director Stanley Kubrick in the production of Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Next followed a stint working within the BBC’s ground-breaking Virtual Studios department, after which I took posts as a Visual Effects Technical Director and then VFX Producer for ESC Entertainment, a Warner Bros company. After assisting in the production of The Matrix Revolutions (2003)The Matrix Reloaded (2003)Catwoman (2004) and The Ladykillers (2004), I retrained in screenwriting at UCLA. I wrote two original TV series which were optioned and developed by the BBC and ITV, before founding my screenplay consultancy in 2006. Since then I have worked with hundreds of writers and producers across the world. In 2017, I was awarded a PhD for my research into forecasting a film’s box office from its narrative. 

Creative areas of interest 

I am interested in using psychological approaches towards the creation of compelling and believable characters; cross-cultural universals in film narratives and box office forecasting from the screenplay.

Mentoring strengths

As an experienced script consultant, my strengths are in understanding character, story and structure and how these work together to create emotionally engaging films.

Kate Shenton



Nominated for the Screen International Rising Horror Star Award Kate Shenton is a London based Writer and Director in the Horror Genre. Her feature film Egomaniac had its World Premiere Fright Fest and went onto screen at festival is all around the world including BIFFF and Dublin Horror. Egomaniac enjoyed a successful limited theatrical run in London which ended at The Prince Charles Cinema and is now available on iTunes, Amazon Prime and YouTube.

Her shorts film (Gimp, Bon Appetite and Send in the Clowns) have screen it over 80 International film festivals including Fright Fest, Raindance, Slamdance, BiFan and Encounters.  Recently she has released the first season of her web series NETFL!X AND KILL The pilot episode has reached over 10,000 views and she is currently working on Season Two.  She also had a number of television projects in development.

Contact: kate.shenton@raindance.co.uk

Kristina Leath-Malin

Filmmaker & Screenwriter


Kristina Leath-Malin is a filmmaker, scholar, screenwriter, and digital artist from Detroit, living in Brooklyn NY. She has recently completed her second and terminal graduate degree  (M.F.A.) at Long Island University  in Media Studies with her work MY FINAL GIRL: THE BLACK WOMEN OF AMERICAN HORROR, and first began her graduate voyage in FEMINIST HORROR THEORY with her M.A. published thesis (turned book) OBJECTIFICATION REPACKAGED: THE WOMEN OF 21ST CENTURY FRENCH HORROR. She is also a post-9/11 New York artist (theater and opera performer turned filmmaker) who worked in tower 1 on the 107th floor until that fateful day.  After, she traveled through Europe with a performance group and landed in Paris, where she began writing.  Scripting and having ideas inspired her to return to graduate school, after making several short films and wanting to truly understand the mechanics of meaning in cinema. In addition to her film efforts, she has curated 4 (shown in 7) multimedia art exhibitions in New York City. Currently, she is building her internet research and information database MY FINAL GIRL and (after being granted contractual usage) is in post-production with her feminist take on the Stephen King “Dollar Baby” ONE FOR THE ROAD (the sequel to Salem’s Lot). Her next project will be based on the mythology of Lillith, the first wife of Adam.

Contact: kristina.leath-malin@raindance.co.uk

Louis Paxton

Writer & Director


Louis is a Scottish writer and director from Edinburgh. He studied at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow then completed an MA in Directing at the National Film and Television School. As a writer, he’s developed projects for the BBC, What Larks productions and Hartswood Films, including Sci-Fi comedy/drama, THE SPARE ROOM, which was selected for the BAFTA Rocliffe drama forum. He was one of ten writers selected for Big Talk and Loco film festivals, Betty and Peter List, celebrating exceptional talent in UK feature film comedy.

As a director, his short films range from Comedy Drama to Musicals and have picked up festival awards worldwide. SATAN HAS A BUSHY TAIL was completed as part of Film London’s shorts scheme and has picked up multiple best comedy awards. His latest short NEVILLE IS DEAD, is nominated for best Scottish Short at Glasgow Short Film Festival. He’s currently in development with the Scottish Film Talent Network on ‘THE INCOMER’ – a twisted comedy folk tale set on a remote Scottish Island, this will be his first feature film as Writer/Director.

Mentoring areas of expertise:


General Script feedback and Script Editing for outlines, treatments, short & feature film scripts, TV pilot scripts and bibles.
Idea development – discussing initial ideas, crafting your logline, synopsis, one pagers, beat sheets.
Writing for TV – Crafting your pilot, story lining your series, writing TV bibles, pitch documents, treatments.
Character development.


Breaking down a script/scene by scene analysis.
Working with actors.
Creating mood boards, visual aids, working with cinematographers.
Communicating with crew.
Editing your film and Post.
General feedback on edits.

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Lukasz Konopa

Documentary Filmmaker


Lukasz’s documentaries have played at festivals, such as Hot Docs, Camerimage, Visions du Reel and SXSW. His film ‘After’ won the CILECT Best Documentary film award, which is chosen by the association of the world’s major film and television schools. He regularly films in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the US.

As part of the Raindance mentor team for 7 years, Lukasz specialises in project development: from an idea to treatment writing, pitching and shooting a trailer – creative storytelling, visual language, and international co-productions.

Currently splitting his time between Tel Aviv, where he works as a cinematographer on documentaries produced by one of the Israelis top production companies, Heymann Brothers Films; and Denmark where he is currently directing two feature length films with Made in Copenhagen.

Lukasz has a Master Degree in Documentary Film Directing from the UK’s National Film and Television School (NFTS) and an MA in sociology from the University of Warsaw, Poland.

Contact: lukasz.konopa@raindance.co.uk 

Pawel Ziemilski

Documentary Filmmaker


Pawel Ziemilski is a documentary filmmaker based in Warsaw. He graduated from The Polish National Film School in Lodz and from the Wajda School in Warsaw.

His films received wide publicity at numerous festivals and got many prestigious awards. His latest “In Touch” received Mid-Length Special Jury Award at IDFA 2018. His previous short documentary “Rogalik’ got IDFA nomination in 2012 and was awarded at ZagrebDox FF, Alcine FF, Oberhausen FF, Chinese Film Academy and others.

Since 2018 he is a lecturer in experimental documentary at The Polish National Film School in Lodz. He also runs his own documentary course in Warsaw called Akcja Dokument! Apart from directing, between 2008-2016, he was intensely involved in social animation projects, organizing workshops for so-called troubled youth.

Creative areas of interest

Creative documentary, experimental documentary, hybrid films and genres

Mentoring strengths

Documentary filmmaking, story, idea and character development, finding unique film language to make your story stronger


Rob Watson

Film Producer


Rob is an award-winning producer, with short film credits including Dan Sully’s The Ellington Kid which premiered at the 56th BFI London Film Festival, and Robert McKillop’s Strays, which was longlisted for a BAFTA. He was recently associate producer of the BFI-funded feature Gone Too Far, the long-form debut of director Destiny Ekaragha, and is currently producing Seekers, one of three greenlit films through the Film London/ BBC Films Microwave scheme. He has a number of feature films in development, including the second feature of BIFA-winning director Rob Savage; a horror-comedy with Laura Poliakoff; and a big-screen adaptation of Strays with Robert McKillop.

Contact: rob.watson@raindance.co.uk

Romana Lakinger-Njari

Filmmaker & Actress


Romana Carén Lakinger-Njari is a filmmaker, actress and vocal coach from Vienna, Austria. She graduated from Raindance’s MA in Filmmaking in 2016.

Romana has been working in theatre, film and TV since the age of eight. After graduating from Camillo Sitte Higher Technical College in Structural Engineering she studied Law and Astronomy at University Vienna. Romana was trained as an actress at Actors Studio Pallas in Vienna and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. In 2003 Romana was Austria´s first certified Speech-Level-Singing instructor and has been teaching singers and actors of all levels at Acting Academy Elfriede Ott as well as her own studio.

As a filmmaker her main focus is on writing and directing short and feature films, TV and web series. Romana has developed feature film screenplays for Berlin based production company Bad Motel Movies and she has collaborated with them as a creative consultant for their feature film Big City Lights. With her acting background Romana’s focus as a writer and director is the development of films that involve actors in their development process. An important part of Romana´s field of expertise is the improvement of the collaboration between directors and actors. She has written the book Directing Actors including a collection of methods and exercises that can help a director to support actors to deliver their best performances. Romana is also teaching Directing Actors at local film schools.

Currently Romana is working on her first feature film There Are No Kangaroos In Austria collaborating with production companies in Scotland and Austria and has been producing and hosting her own cooking show Peace, Joy & Eggcake for Austrian broadcaster OKTO since 2015.
Her recently finished short film No Mother, funded by NÖ Filmförderungsfond, is an international collaboration summoning well established artists from all over the world, including Zimbabwe, USA, Lichtenstein, Brazil, Germany and Austria.
Romana is currently developing a TV series about Austrian journalist and politician Adelheid Popp, Die Frau (The Woman).

As a mentor/ personal advisor Romana wants to share that no matter where your home base is, a solid skillset, that keeps growing with the demands of an ever-changing industry, allows for universal and collaborative work all over Europe.

Creative areas of interest
Character driven stories, period drama, improvisation in film, worldwide collaboration independent of home location, script development incorporating actors, transitioning between film and TV, new marketing concepts for film and TV. 

Mentoring strengths
Directing, working with actors, micro-budget filmmaking, short filmmaking, screenwriting for short and feature films as well as TV/web-series, pitching

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Ruth Paxton



Ruth Paxton is a filmmaker named in Canongate’s FUTURE 40, a list of storytellers anticipated to dominate the next 40 years of creative life in Scotland. In 2019 Screen Daily featured her as one of ‘Six emerging Scotland based Directors you need to know.’ Her award-winning short films have been exhibited and nominated in competition at numerous international events and prominent film festivals. Short drama PARIS/SEXY won the UK Film Council’s award for Best British Short at the 2011 London Short Film Festival and Paxton won Best Woman Director at the same festival in 2015 for her film, PULSE.

Paxton is alumnus of a number of labs and development programmes, including Guiding Lights 8, the UK’s most prestigious professional mentoring scheme. She was selected for BFI NETWORK’s development programme during London Film Festival 2017, and has been participant of the Toronto Talent Lab, EIFF Talent Lab, Wellcome Trust’s Ideas Lab, CPH:PIX Sessions, British Council’s Film and Music Archive Lab in association with PRS for Music Foundation, BFI and Manchester’s HOME, and also jury member at Ukraine’s Wiz-Art International Short Film Festival. In 2014 Paxton was Artist in Residence at the Cucalorus Film Foundation in NC, USA.

Other commissions include BAROQUE for Milan’s Festival Delle Lettere, ROCKHAVEN for the Royal Philharmonic Society and NEVADA, commissioned and featuring music by folk trio, LAU. Ruth recently directed the performance element of a 360VR piece with producer Ashley McPherson and BBC Scotland, viscerally examining the nature of anxiety. And completed production of her new short horror BE STILL MY BEATING HEART starring Maxine Peake, commissioned for production via BBC Films and SFTN, produced by BFI Vision Award recipients barry crerar with whom she is developing her feature, THE FLAMING HEART with script development finance from BBC Films. BE STILL MY BEATING HEART had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival 2019 and was nominated for Best British Short at London Short Film Festival 2020.

Ruth is currently attached to direct an untitled feature project set in Portland, Oregon with producer Linda Reisman (USA) and British writer Deborah Haywood inspired by Peter Rock’s novel, KLICKITAT. With script development and director support financed by Film Four.

She is currently in pre-production on a horror feature, A BANQUET, written by Justin Bull and produced by Leonora Darby, James Harris and Mark Lane of Tea Shop. The script has just won the Filmaka prize for best screenplay, in conjunction with Riverstone films and will begin principal photography in May 2020.

Ruth has directed two blocks of BBC Continuing Drama RIVER CITY, comprising four episodes in total. She is a professional mentor with Raindance’s International MA film students and Associate Lecturer at Screen Academy Scotland working. She makes commercial content with leading Scottish company, Mallinson Television Productions, and is represented by Mark Casarotto of Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.

Creative areas of interest

Psychologial Horror + Mental Health Issues + Psychosexual and Romantic Drama + Fables, Mythology, Legends, Fairytales, Folklore + Death Awareness + Vanitas Theme + Renaissance and Baroque Art + Surrealism + Marilyn Monroe and Hollywood’s Golden Era + Crime Scene Photography + Editorial Fashion + Interior Design + Gothica + Storytelling therapy + Classic Gangster Genre + Cinematic Television + Francis Ford Coppola, Yorgos Lanthimos, Jonathan Glazer, Jane Campion, Jacques Audiard, Cate Shortland

Mentoring strengths

+ Across Short and Feature filmmaking (drama / experimental / music)


*Seed Idea, Character and Story development

*Packaging (Supporting Documents, STORY & LOOK BOOKS)



*Visual Storytelling + Production Design

*Casting, Rehearsal, Working with actors

Contact: ruth.paxton@raindance.co.uk

Samantha Herrmann




Born in São Paulo, Samantha moved to London to pursue a career in cinema. Her early works in Brazil include a script collaboration with Uruguayan feature director, Mauro Baptista, and with the script-writing team on Fernando Meirelles’s ‘City of Men’. In London, Samantha has been involved in experimental and mainstream documentaries and dramas, including Phyllida Lloyd’s ‘The Iron Lady’, Kevin Macdonald’s ‘Life in a Day‘ and ‘Marley‘ and Stephen Frear’s ‘Lay the Favourite’. She has also worked on TV pieces such as BBC3‘s TV series ‘Some Girls’ and Sky Art’s drama ‘Walking the dogs’. Her collaboration with Italian Artist Valentina Lari resulted in the experimental film ‘The Deformity of Beauty’, shot at ‘The Mütter Museum’ (Philadelphia, USA) and awarded best experimental short film at the Amsterdam Film Festival. Graduated in Journalism with post graduation in Semiotics and MA in Film and TV Theory, Samantha’s present interests include scriptwriting, editing, postmodernism, pshychoanalitic film theory and femininity in cinema. Her approach to teaching is one that aims the full development of the student: improvement of the critical thinking, encouragement of the creative potential, and conceptual learning through practical experience.

Contact: samantha-herrmann@raindance.co.uk

Sandy Lieberson

Film Producer


Sandy has worked in the film industry in U.S.A. and Europe. He began as an agent for Peter Falk, Sergio Leone, Peter Sellers, Lindsay Anderson, Richard Harris, The Rolling Stones, etc
He formed Goodtimes Productions in 68 and David Puttnam joined as partner in 1970. Sandy is producer of Performance, Bugsy Malone, Stardust, Stars and Bars, Rita, Sue and Bob Too, Swastika and 22 other films and documentaries. He also is a president of Production 20th Century Fox, MGM International, Ladd Co. (W.B.) supervising development and production of Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, Once Upon A Time In America, Nosferatu, etc.
Sandy also worked with such acclaimed organisations as:
Film London; Founder and Chair. Responsible for establishing Film London’s ground breaking Microwave Film Fund for low budget feature films, The Production Finance Market, Film London Artists Moving Image Network and the Derek Jarman Award.
National Film & Television School: Designed curriculum and established the Producing Department.
Escuela International de Cine & TV, Habana, Cuba: head of Producing Dept.
Berlin Talent Campus: Co-founder and campus organiser.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences: London Chair.

Sean McConville



Sean began his career as a SFX technician on big budget studio films, including Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and James Bond movies GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies. Sean has a Master of Arts Degree in Screenwriting from the London College of Communications (LCC). After graduating LCC Sean moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA, and graduated in 2004. Sean’s debut feature film as a writer/director/producer, Deadline, starring Brittany Murphy and Thora Birch, showcased at Berlin, Cannes, and the American Film Market in Los Angeles, where it sold for distribution to 40 territories around the world including the U.S. In 2014 Sean produced The Quiet Hour, a micro-budget sci-fi thriller starring Dakota Blue Richards which premiered at the Galway Film Fleah, was nominated Best British Film at Raindance, won Best Film at Kansas City Filmfest, sold to Sky Cinema in the UK and to multiple territories around the world including North-America. Sean is now preparing his next feature film The Last Moon, a contained supernatural horror. He’s a Berlinale Talent and Cannes Producers Network alumnus and was one of the 10 Winners of 4000 entries of Scriptapalooza Competition. He is also a lecturer at University of the Arts London. 

Creative areas of interest

Creative areas of interest include writing, producing, and directing genre films, particularly with Gothic, Supernatural, Tragic, and Romantic elements. Sean’s inspired by the German Expressionism movement and the genre that movement influenced: Film Noir. Consequently, Noseferatu,The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, and M are among favourite films. As a filmmaker Sean’s influenced by Hitchcock, Polanski, and Kubrick, and by contemporary independent writer/directors who also produce their films, such as Christopher Nolan, Roberto Rodriguez, and Ben Wheatley.

Mentoring strengths

Mentoring strengths would cover all aspects of the film industry, but with particular focus on writing, producing, directing. As a filmmaker who produces as well as writes/directs I can advice on story development, creating business plans, finance plans, budget & schedules, attending film markets and festivals, as well as how to create pre-visualization (pre-viz) elements (concept art, mood boards, proof of concept shorts, etc) that will inspire students to be proactive in their careers.

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Stephan Mallmann



A graduate in European Business Administration, Stephan Mallmann has extensive experience in film production and sales, in Germany and the UK. In 1989 he started out in a business affairs capacity at Recorded Releasing, a London based distribution and sales company for high quality arthouse films (Wings of DesireWithnail & I etc.).

Stephan subsequently served as Financial Controller at Constantin Film in Munich, one of Europe’s leading film production, distribution and exhibition companies.

In January 1994 he joined Recorded Picture Company in London (The Last Emperor, Sexy Beast, among numerous others), and by 1996 had become a director of the company. In 1998 he worked on the launch of RPC’s sister company, the sales agency Hanway Films (Carol, Brooklyn and hundreds more), of which he is a founding shareholder. In 2001 he was appointed COO of both RPC and Hanway.

During his almost 20 year tenure, he handled the financial structuring of many of RPC’s and HanWay’s projects, including David Mackenzie’s Young Adam, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, Wim Wenders’ Pina or Roenning & Sandberg’s Kon-Tiki (the latter two films were Oscar-nominated).

In 2012 he stepped down from his day-to-day roles in RPC/Hanway, and moved back to Germany, as an independent consultant. He retains close links to the group. His most recent credits as an independent producer are on Wim Wenders’ Submergence, Marcus Rosenmüller’s Trautmann and Rupert Everett’s The Happy Prince.

Full credit list on http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1040781/

Creative areas of interest

Stephan’s professional focus is on high-end auteur films (Wenders, Cronenberg etc.), a speciality of RPC and Hanway, and something that is continuing in his independent career. A key relationship is with Wim Wenders, on five of whose films Stephan acted as a producer.

Stephan’s experience as to genre is very broad, mostly quality drama, but also documentaries (PinaGlastonbury etc.), and even children’s animation (Impy’s Island, Happy Family (aka Monster Family), or the upcoming Monster Family 2). 

Mentoring strengths

Best suited for budding producers, directors and writers, which already have a modicum of experience.

Stephan’s key background is in production (not “on set” line production, but development, finance and legal structuring), but due to his work in the management team of a major sales agency, Stephan has a good “feel” for what the international market wants, and an eye for good screenwriting.

Stéphanie Joalland



Originally from France, Stéphanie holds a Masters in Business from Audencia Nantes. She began her career in story development at TF1 International and Canal Plus, worked as a story editor on TF1 animated series such as Emmy-nominated Pet Aliens, wrote live-action TV scripts, created a Sci-Fi animated series for Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp for Canal Plus: Valerian & Laureline based on the comics. After directing short films in France she moved to Los Angeles to study filmmaking at UCLA, graduated in 2008 then set up a UK-based production company Frenzy Films with fellow UCLA alumnus Sean McConville. She wrote, directed and produced her first feature The Quiet Hour starring Dakota Blue Richards and Karl Davies which premiered at Galway Film Fleadh, was nominated for Best British Film at Raindance, Best International Film at Sofia Film Festival, won Best Feature at Kansas City Filmfest, showcased at Newport Beach, premiered on Sky Cinema in the UK in 2016, and sold to multiple territories including the U.S. She is currently pre- producing Sean McConville’s upcoming thriller The Last Moon and developing her sophomore film, Ice, a contained science-driven sci-fi thriller, which was selected for the 2019 JETS Co-Production Initiative during Berlinale where it was voted Best UK Project. ICE was also one of 6 projects selected as part of the Second Film section of the 2020 Sofia Meetings Co-production market during the Sofia International Film Festival and has made the Top 50 in the 2020 ISA Fast Track Fellowship Competition in the U.S. She is an alumna of Berlinale Talents and IFP Emerging Narrative in NYC. 

Creative areas of interest

Story Development – Elevated Genre Films – Hard, Soft, Speculative and Philosophical Science Fiction in cinema and literature – Science and Technology driven films – Supernatural films – Existential and Psychological Horror – Suspense films – Film Noir – Asian Horror – Investgating S. Freud’s concept of The Uncanny – Manipulation of Time and Space in cinema – Creating strong female protagonists – American independent cinema – Studying filmmaking of: Alfred Hitchcock – Jean-Pierre Melville – Roman Polanski – Ridley Scott – Stanley Kubrick – Peter Weir – David Lynch – Christopher Nolan

 Mentoring strengths

  • Script development from idea to final draft for short films, feature films, and TV pilots
  • Development of TV bibles
  • Adapting short stories, novels, and comics for the screen
  • Development of animation projects (script and visuals)
  • Short filmmaking
  • Low-to-no budget film production
  • Project packaging (look book, business plans, previsualization, pitch deck)
  • Director’s preparation work from mood boards, proof-of-concept short films to story-boards.
  • Casting, rehearsal, working with actors and workshopping scenes and scripts with actors

Thomas R. Rondinella

Indie Filmmaker


Thomas R. Rondinella is an award-winning independent film maker.  He has edited sixteen feature films (including A Fool and his Money starring Sandra Bullock), written three produced feature films (All’s Fair starring George Segal and Sally Kellerman, Blades, A Girls’ Guide) directed three feature films (Blades, A Girls’ Guide and Scrappers) and produced five feature films (Charming Billy, Unholy starring Adrienne Barbeau and Nicholas Brendon, Morris County, Scrappers and Good Day for It starring Hal Holbrook.). In addition, he has produced over twenty short films. 

His films have had national theatrical release, played in the major United States and international Film Festivals (including American Film Institute-Los Angeles, Chicago International, Orlando,  Northhampton, Edinboro, Scotland, Belfast, Ireland, RioFan in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Ft. Lauderdale) and aired on Cinemax, HBO, USA Network, Starz, Public Television, Fearnet.com, Netflix and the Independent Film Channel.   In addition, Thomas is president of Catfish Studios which specializes in media production. He produced and directed the web cooking series, Cooking with Nonna and NJ Today with John McKeon.

Thomas (M.F.A, New York University) is also Professor of Media Production at Seton Hall University in New Jersey USA, teaching Film and Video Production. Thomas is president of Catfish Studios which specialises in media production.

Currently, he is developing the feature thriller, The Transfer.

Creative areas of interest 

Thomas’ creative interests are in every phase of independent film production – from pre to post. 

Areas of mentorship

Thomas mentors in all three aspects of production, particular low and micro budgeted projects.

Tiska Wiedermann

Finance & Marketing


Tiska Wiedermann has a Masters Degree in Education in online learning. Before joining Raindance, Tiska had a 15 year consulting career working with international management professionals, designing and delivering cross-cultural training at corporations and universities in Canada and abroad.

Tiska joined Raindance Toronto in 2011 as Creative Director, overseeing the growth of Raindance across Canada, developing strategic alliances and helping emerging filmmakers learn, connect and navigate a breakthrough career into the independent film industry. Tiska joined the online Raindance Postgraduate programme in 2013 as Module Leader and Advisor, and in 2014 she became Postgraduate Programme Director, worldwide, where she now worked in at least 4 time zones and oversaw both London-based and international students in this programme. Tiska left her role as Programme Director in December 2017 and continues mentoring her students.

Tiska’s interest is in testing and documenting new ways to finance, market and distribute films. She is currently executive producing a Canadian feature documentary to be released in early 2017, that was financed through brand integration and will be testing an innovative distribution strategy.

Contact: tiska@raindance.org

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Tom Wood



Tom Wood began his film career working at London-based Autonomous for producer Cat Villiers in 2007 and worked on a variety of projects including as Associate Producer on Duncan Ward’s BOOGIE WOOGIE (starring Danny Huston, Amanda Seyfried and Stellan Skarsgård). Tom also worked in development on a number of films including CIRKUS COLUMBIA (Bosnian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards). Tom then joined Wellington Films as development producer in autumn 2009. His work with Wellington also included as production manager on a feature documentary – A MAN’S STORY. Alongside his work in development with Wellington, Tom has produced a number of short films for the company. Between autumn 2013 and spring 2015, Tom worked with producers Embargo Films, including as development producer on Catherine Hardwicke’s MISS YOU ALREADY. Now working as a producer for Wellington Films, Tom is developing Ruth Paxton’s debut feature film A HYMN FOR MARS, which has been supported in development by Creative Scotland and the Scottish Film Talent Network. Tom’s ambitions as a producer are to develop projects from diverse and singular writers and directors, films which have a sense of scale in storytelling, which understand their audiences, and which say something about the world that we live in.

Vanessa King



Development consultant, screenwriting instructor and story editor Vanessa King has written several screenplays and pilots that have been recognized in prestigious screenwriting competitions across North America. Since 2008, she has been an instructor for the New York City Screenwriter’s Collective, a New York City-based non-profit organization that brings affordable screenwriting classes, seminars and industry-related events to its 3000+ member community. While her emphasis and skill is focused on screenplay and pilot structure, she is an expert script doctor and well-versed in all areas of story development. She currently has a pilot in development with a Los Angeles-based studio, has an opendoor pitch invitation with an HBO-First Look Production Company, is developing a movie-of-the-week for a US cable TV network, and writing a yet-to-be-titled book on the basics of television structure for pilots. Though she doesn’t write in a particular film genre (having written historical dramas, musical comedies, thrillers, and rom-coms), her TV genre niche is humorous, slice-of-life hour-long TV dramas. She is an advisor for The B*TCH LIST, promoting female-protagonists in screenwriting. She is heavilyversed in the entertainment industry, having worked for an internationally acclaimed actress for over a decade. A former contributor to the viral website HelloGiggles (recently acquired by Time Inc.) she has performed numerous times at the renowned Upright Citizens Brigade as an “invited storyteller” and her tweets (@manhattancanuck) have been featured as “Tweets of the Week” by The Huffington Post, who also named her one of their “10 Women You Should Be Following On Twitter” lists. Originally from Canada, she resides in New York City.

Wendy Rowland

Director & Editor


Wendy Rowland is an award-winning director and editor whose documentary films have received critical acclaim. She has a special interest in women’s health and most recently in documenting patient experience through illness and at end of life.  Wendy’s credits include: Living Forever (CBC, The Nature of Things), Bloodlines (CTV), Jailhouse Romance (CBC), Raising Rover (CTV), The Prom (TVO) and Packing Heat (NFB). For the past few years she has been creating innovative web-docs for the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the Canadian Virtual Hospice, Ovarian Cancer Canada and the Heart & Stroke Foundation. Wendy began her career working with Michael Moore, Ron Mann and editor/director Wendey Stanzler.  She is an alumnus of the NFB’s prestigious Fast Forward program, received her MA in Cinema Studies from NYU and her BAH from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.

William R. Pace

Screenwriter & Director


William Pace received a Masters of Fine Arts in Film Production from New York University’s acclaimed Graduate Film & TV program where he wrote & directed “Echo Canyon,” an award-winning short film televised nationally on the USA Network. Since receiving his MFA, William Pace has written four produced independent feature films, three of which he co-produced. He’s also written many optioned feature screenplays, plus several produced episodes of various TV shows. His script CHARMING BILLY was a finalist for the Sundance Institute’s prestigious Screenwriting Lab, and William went on to direct the award-winning feature film, CHARMING BILLY, which premiered at the AFI/Los Angeles International Film Festival, whereupon VARIETY proclaimed William displayed “notable cinematic and storytelling craft.” CHARMING BILLY was then distributed by a division of Miramax and broadcast on the Independent Film Channel.

William also adapted and directed the award-winning short, “A Relaxing Day,” from Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Theresa Rebeck, and has directed American legend Tony Bennett in videos for Mr. Bennett’s charity foundation, Exploring the Arts.

William teaches filmmaking and screenwriting at NYC’s The New School, where he serves as its Screenwriting Certificate Director. He is also a private screenplay consultant who’s worked with writers like Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas Blackmon and many others whose scripts have gone on to such success as making the influential Black List, win competitions such as Slamdance, be produced and distributed worldwide. This fall he is Creative Consultant and Assoc. Producer for the independent film, HARROW.

And — believe it or not — he’s actually listed in Warren Allen Smith’s book CELEBRITIES IN HELL.

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Zack Winfield



 In 2003 Zack joined the production team at NDF International, one of the UK’s most successful independent production and financing companies with sixteen Oscar nominations to its credit, working on a wide range of NDF’s development projects including Franco Zeffirelli’s ‘The Florentines’.

Then in 2011 Zack, together with two other producers set up Native State, to produce independent film and TV across various genres. Productions include Last Passenger and City of Tiny Lights. A number of projects are currently in development or financing stages with partners both international and at at home.
Zack also consults to various companies within the industry, having several years as consultant head of film at Milkwood productions, and acted as production executive for Global Road on the 2018 family Film ‘Showdogs’.
Zack is a specialist in film development, working in particular with writers, directors and producers on scripts, sizzle reels, financing and marketing materials to get films ready for the market.