New Writers Lab 2020: Meet the Participants


BFI NETWORK South West are pleased to present our participants for the New Writers Lab 2020.

Running from May – July, this remotely taught story development scheme will take our writers/directors from their initial idea to a short film one-page treatment, ready to share with producers.


Over the course of three months, they’ll be working under the expert guidance of Script Editor, Kate Leys. Kate has worked as Head of Development at several companies including Film4 where she was part of the commissioning team responsible for films including Trainspotting, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Orphans, East is East and Girl With a Pearl Earring.

Our 8 participants were selected from over 100+ applications on the basis of the potential of their idea and talent for writing for screen. Learn more about each individual, below.

Eva Edo

Based in Dorset

Eva is a stage writer who is transitioning into writing for the screen. Her creative practice celebrates the unheard stories and lives of young people and women.

She has received many accolades in her time. In 2015, her play Looked After Children was shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award and in 2019 she was commissioned by Routes Collective to write a verbatim inspired piece about refugee and asylum experienced women. Eva wrote and performed Tiger Mum at VAULT Festival 2020, attracting a Lyn Gardner Top Pick and 4 star review from Spy in the Stalls. And more recently she won the 2020 Royal Society of Literature Matters Award to develop A Mother’s Courage, a play which explores youth violent crime through the eyes of mothers.

Hyunju Lee

Based in Devon

Born and raised in Soul, Korea, Hyunju is a writer/director now based in the UK. She studied film at the Korea National University of Arts and has written and directed short films including an indie feature. Hyunju enjoys creating female-led stories involving characters with trauma, often within a fantasy or surreal world.

Hyunju’s first English short film Midnight Drive is in pre-production under the New Creatives scheme with the support of BBC Arts and Arts Council England. She currently has a number of feature films in development.

Isla Badenoch

Based in Gloucestershire 

Isla is a writer/director and artist, a BFI Network x BAFTA Crew participant and BIFA Emerging Filmmaker Springboard 2020.

An innate storyteller whose work has an individual style grounded in her roots as a documentary filmmaker, Isla’s filmmaking reflects a curiosity to tell stories of kindred spirits; the quietly hidden characters whose voices may otherwise be overlooked.

Whether through the identity of a forensic jeweller, a transgender man in rural Albania, or a fisherman hunting for a critically endangered fish – her atmospheric films create an experience of life from a different perspective to encourage compassion.

Isla has a holistic approach to filmmaking with an MA in Visual Arts from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, a BA in English Literature and professional experience ranging from programming Sheffield Doc/Fest, as a creative producer on virtual reality operas and feature films and as a writer/director with work supported by BBC Arts, Arts Council England, BFI DocSociety.

Jason Barker

Based in Bath

Jason is a filmmaker, writer, actor and stand-up comedian.

In 2018 he made a feature documentary called A Deal with the Universe which was the centre piece screening for the BFI Flare festival and was released in cinemas nationwide. He is currently working with a production company to develop the story into a script for television.

This year he has been writing a stage play in collaboration with a group of young trans people and academics from the University of Exeter about the forgotten history of trans people in the UK.

Jason is also a programmer for Bath Film Festival and a programme consultant for the BFI London Film Festival.

Jonny Dry

Based in Cornwall

Jonny’s directorial work has recently culminated in An Tarow which was commissioned through the 2019 FylmK fund administered by the Cornish Language Office and Screen Cornwall. The film, set amidst Cornwall’s industrial heartlands, is currently part of the Official Selection list at the 2020 BAFTA Cymru qualifying Carmarthen Bay Film Festival.

His last film Third Quarter won two awards and three nominations from London’s New Renaissance Film Festival. In 2020 he was commissioned by the Hypatia Trust to direct an experimental documentary on the craft of a Penzance based luthier.

Jonny is a passionate believer of regional voices in film and works to create opportunities through both production work placements and as organiser of Cornish Slates. He has extensive AD credits on shorts and features, working with established talent such as Shelagh McLeod, MaPhew Kelly, and Felicity Montague. Recent credits include Martha Tilston’s debut feature The Tape and Hannah Hill’s Lasagne which won at Aesthetica 2019.

Kam Gandhi

Based in Bristol

Kam has a background in experimental film and video and has worked with ‘out reach’ community groups, facilitating media projects. Passionate about telling stories, she is a screenwriter who is interested in narratives that move on the experience of being black, female and British and giving voice to the outsiders of society.  Her screenplays have been awarded production and writing grants and have been short listed for competitions.

She believes that stories have the power to transform our communities as well as shape our futures selves and that the time has come to rethink the stories we tell each other.

Mena Fombo

Based in Bristol

Somina, aka Mena Fombo is a writer/director based in Bristol. She is passionate about telling stories centred on the black girl experience and is the co/founder of Blak Wave Productions which creates both factual and live action across a diverse range of subject areas.

Owain Astles

Based in Bristol

Owain is a filmmaker, photographer and visual activist, most interested in telling community-led stories, stories of empowerment, connection and resistance. Having experienced homelessness and the power of the community around him, he is extremely passionate about telling stories that reflect these experiences and that can raise the voices of marginalised communities. Owain is a firm believer in the power of film for social change and this is something he attempts to thread through his work, tackling broader societal injustices on an intimate, human level.

An artistic resident at Bristol Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio, Owain is currently developing a participatory documentary around motherhood and homelessness. He previously created To My Younger Self, a short documentary for BBC Arts New Creatives about solitary confinement in Young Offender Institutions and Sleeping Rough, a globally- screened docudrama about street homelessness.

Further information

  • Past Lab Participants Read more
  • Animation Lab 2019: Meet the Participants Read more
  • Animation Producer Lab 2024: Meet the Participants Read more
  • Creative Producers Lab 2021: Meet the Participants Read more
  • Directing Workshop 2019: Meet the Participants Read more
  • Director Lab 2024: Meet the Participants Read more
  • New Producers Lab 2020: Meet the Participants Read more
  • New Voices 2020: Meet the Participants Read more
  • New Voices 2021: Meet the Participants Read more
  • New Voices 2023: Meet the Participants Read more
  • New Writers Lab 2020: Meet the Participants Read more
  • Peninsula Producers Network Read more
  • Producer Lab 2023: Meet the Participants Read more
  • Producer’s Lab 2019: Meet the Participants Read more
  • Queer Storytelling Workshop: Meet the Participants Read more
  • Script Development Lab 2021: Meet the Participants Read more
  • Script Development Workshop 2019: Meet the Participants Read more
  • Shorts2Features 2022: Meet the Cohort Read more
  • Thinking Cinematically Participants Read more

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