Six directors hook with Stephen Woolley in Directors’ Lab

Mumbai: Producer/director Stephen Woolley has been named Patron of a new Directors’ Lab at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival for six of UK’s distinctive film directors.

The Directors’ Lab has been set up and funded by the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund, Film4 and Skillset and run by Lifesize Pictures, underlining Edinburgh’s ‘festival of discovery’ manifesto.

As Patron, Stephen will support the directors during the intensive five-day programme (20-24 June) which will match them with acclaimed filmmakers and industry professionals. "This new initiative is an excellent way of squaring the circle between the filmmaking process and the exhibition process. The chosen filmmakers will have an opportunity to meet and discuss with some of European cinema’s luminaries and will get an opportunity to further their knowledge in the real world of cinema production."

The directors participating in the lab, selected through an open application process, are

· Hope Dickson Leach – Hope’s first two short films, Cavities and Ladies in Waiting, played at festivals worldwide. Her most recent short The Dawn Chorus was selected for Edinburgh and London in 2006, Sundance last year and won Best Student Short Film at Austin. She is currently developing her first feature English Rose, about a teenage girl who hates Princess Diana.

· Charles-Henri Belleville – Charles-Henri has directed promos for Ashley Walters, MTV and Pathé. His first micro budget feature The Inheritance won the Raindance Award at the British Independent Film Awards 2007. Nominated for Best New Director at the BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards and for the 4Talent Awards, Charles-Henri is currently in post-production on his next feature, Midnight Madness and is in development on several scripts.

· Scott Graham – Graham’s first short Born To Run premiered at Edinburgh 2006 and screened at festivals worldwide. He is currently developing his second short film Shell (Best Film at London Short Film Festival) into a feature and is writing graphic novel A Town Called Envy.

· Jane Linfoot – Jane’s first short Creep screened at the BFI London Film Festival and won the Yorkshire Short Film Award at the Leeds International Film Festival. Jane’s second short Youth screened in competition at Edinburgh last year and she is currently working on a third short and developing a feature length script.

· René Mohandas – Mohandas is a BAFTA Scotland short film award winner and BAFTA nominee with Wish and Elephant Boy respectively. The latter was named Best Fiction Film at Mumbai International Film Festival in 2006. René’s feature script Southside was a Fast Forward finalist for BBC Scotland/Scottish Screen.

· Amy Neil – BAFTA and BIFA nominated for her short Can’t Stop Breathing, which won the Scottish BAFTA for Best New Work. Neil was selected by Emily Watson for the Katrin Cartlidge Foundation Award. Neil has directed music videos, virals, a comedy pilot, and further shorts and is currently working on the screenplay of her first feature.

UK Film Council head Lenny Crooks says, "The UK excels in producing exceptional emerging filmmakers but the jump from shorts to features is massive requiring a great idea, good writing, good producer, luck and timing. The lab is a bespoke, excellent, hands-on professional development to help filmmakers work out how to pull all of these things together."

Film4 new talent executive Jo McClellan says, "We want filmmakers to have a strong and confident vision of themselves and their work. We think the hothouse feel and intimate nature of the Lab will be the perfect environment in which to crystallise this."

Edinburgh International Film Festival managing director Ginnie Atkinson says, "We are very pleased that this initiative is taking place in Edinburgh as the aims of the Directors’ Lab match those of the EIFF in terms of developing talent and it is an ideal place to see the kind of films that will inspire."