FIVE@5 Directors Selected

Scottish Film Talent Network (SFTN) is today (Thursday 26 January 2017) delighted to announce the five directors selected for the FIVE@5 For Women programme.

The programme supports five exciting Scottish-based female filmmakers through the production of their five-minute short films.

Actress Maryam Hamidi will make her first work as a director on film with BLOODY LOVE; social worker turned author Sara Jane Kirkwood will make her directorial debut with DAMNED DOLLS; Gaynor Macfarlane, an established radio director, will direct her first short film THE HIDE; BAFTA-nominated documentary director Lou McLoughlan will direct ACKERMAN FASACH, her first fiction work for the screen; and artist filmmaker Rosie Toner will direct I AM NOT, in support of her first feature film.

These five exciting directors will be awarded a £5,000 bursary towards the production of their films, which will allow them to develop their projects and showcase their talent. They will also receive bespoke support and mentoring to support their specific professional development needs.

SFTN and its funding partners are committed to supporting a diverse range of filmmakers in Scotland. Last year, a report from Directors UK revealed that women directed only 13.6% of all films made in the UK between 2004 and 2014.

FIVE@5 aims to increase the number of women applying to our short and feature film development programmes by building on the experience of women directors in Scotland, and thereby widening the talent pool of directors making funded work with us.

Supported by Creative Scotland and the BFI, SFTN forms the Scottish element of the BFI NET.WORK, designed to discover, nurture and advance new and emerging filmmaking talent from across the UK. SFTN is a consortium made up of the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI), DigiCult, and Hopscotch Films and is led by Talent Development Executive Claudia Yusef.

Claudia Yusef, Talent Development Executive at Scottish Film Talent Network, said: “These five directors, with a wide range of experience in other mediums, all made a compelling case for supporting them to take the next step in their filmmaking career. The films they are proposing to make are beautiful and unique and funny and urgent, and I can’t wait to see what they produce.”

Ross McKenzie, Screen Officer at Creative Scotland, said: It is important that our screen sector reflects, represents and celebrates the diverse range of voices that make up of our society. Gender is cited as a barrier for progression for women within the Screen Sector, and the FIVE@5 For Women programme aims to tackle this by creating a platform for female directors to showcase their talent.

“These five filmmakers applied with impactful projects demonstrating clear directorial vision that gave us faith in their abilities to become fresh and exciting voices of the future in Scottish cinema. We wish them the very best with their projects.”

Matimba Kabalika, BFI NET.WORK Talent Development Manager said“Supporting bold and exciting filmmakers from across the UK to develop new films that can be enjoyed by audiences everywhere is at the heart of the BFI NET.WORK’s ambition.  Scottish Shorts is working with some fantastic filmmaking talent with intriguing and original film projects which we look forward bringing to fruition.”

The UK wide BFI NET.WORK partners are Creative England, Creative Scotland, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Northern Ireland Screen and Film London.

About the films and directors

Maryam Hamidi: An experienced actor and theatre maker, Maryam’s credits include projects with NTS, Tron Theatre, Worrying Drake and the BBC across stage, radio and screen. After working in the film and TV industry for many years she’s keen to focus on the crossovers in her theatre and film making practice.

Maryam Hamidi said: “The Five@5 programme gives me a bold chance to take a fully supported risk in my practice. After over a decade working hard in the theatre world, and with two young kids, there are many challenges for me starting again in the film world particularly as it can be hard to articulate all the soft skills that make up my abilities and extensive experience as an artist and storyteller. SFTN are providing me with the sort of fast tracked opportunity to learn in the deep end, in practice and hopefully I can create a piece of work that can push forward my development and practice as a film maker.”

Sara Jane Kirkwood: Sara Jane has written a feature script, TOLERANCE, with the financial support of Creative Scotland. She is currently working on the feature’s CRAZY DASIESand DAMNED DOLLS.  She has written and published a book; THE SEVEN SISTERSof Carbeth and is working on the sequel, THE HAND OF CARBETH. 

Sara Jane spent 20 years working in the social care sector and has a degree in Social Pedagogy from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Her career has spanned the introduction of the Community Care Act to the decommissioning of the Dickensian hostels for the homeless in Glasgow. Sara Jane has contributed towards Government policy and legislative frameworks and provided mentoring training packages across the country.

Sara Jane Kirkwood said: “I’m delighted to have been offered this opportunity. I am a first-time director and middle-aged woman coming from a career in social work. DAMNED DOLLS is a scene/snapshot from a feature film in which I aim to give voice and humanity to survivors of the care system. This is an exciting first step for me on my creative journey into film making”

Gaynor Macfarlane: Gaynor is an experienced theatre and radio director. Theatre includes Wit (Stellar Quines), After the Rain, (Gate Theatre) and Burdalane (BAC). She has worked as a literary manager, translator and dramaturg.  Recent radio drama includes King Lear, Radio Plays of Samuel Beckett, Betrayal, 1977, Fifteen Minutes and Somewhere in England.

Gaynor Macfarlane said: “I have worked with the writer, Beatrice Colin, for years - mostly for radio. This is an exceptional opportunity to mature as an experienced writer/director team by moving into a new medium. We are committed to telling compelling contemporary stories about Scotland, so we are thrilled - and naturally slightly daunted – to be offered the opportunity to make a short film.”

Lou McLoughlan: Lou McLoughlan is known for a non-fiction film style which lets strong stories unfold gently, through character. In 2011 she was chosen by BAFTA as one of the “Brits to Watch”. In 2015 she premiered her first feature film, 16 YEARS TILL SUMMER, which gained a BAFTA and Grierson nomination, screening extensively at festivals worldwide. She has been vision mixing, editing, directing and filming for 15 years. Previous directing awards include a Grierson, BAFTAs and an RTS. 

Lou McLoughlan said: "I'm really thrilled to have the chance to experiment with fiction - to find a creative process that fits"

Rosie Toner: Rosie Toner is an award winning writer/director. Themes that run through her work include the reinvention of suburbia and the everyday as extraordinary and ethereal. She has screened previous short films Internationally and her background in Fine Art, Education & Television has led to her current focus on developing her first Feature Film THE SAVIOURS. 

Rosie Toner said: “I am incredibly pleased to have been selected by SFTN to develop a short film as part of the FIVE@5 programme. This will allow me to further my career as a director and I look forward to engaging with them on the development and execution of I AM NOT.”

Notes to Editors

Scottish Film Talent Network

SFTN is a consortium made up of the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI), DigiCult and Hopscotch Films. SFTN represents Scotland in the UK-wide BFI NET.WORK initiative as it connects the UK’s film talent development agencies. The Scottish Film Talent Network consortium has been awarded the contract by Creative Scotland and is supported by the BFI. For further information please visit and follow us at @SFTNetwork


BFI NET.WORK is a key initiative to support promising writers, directors and producers from the nations and regions of the UK and is central to the BFI’s strategy to discover and support the next generation of UK feature filmmaking talent, no matter where they live. Find out more about NET.WORK at

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit  Follow us @creativescots and

Screen EDI

In May 2016 Creative Scotland published findings from a survey looking into under-representation in Scotland’s Screen Sector. As part of the Screen Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Review, this wide-ranging survey has gathered practitioners’ experiences and views on perceived barriers to participation and progression in the Sector. Over 500 individuals working in film and TV in Scotland responded to the online survey with economic limitations and gender cited as key perceived barriers to participation and progression.  Gender was cited as a barrier for 39% of women compared to only 7% of men. A key issue for women was balancing parental responsibilities with a Screen Sector career – Women with children were 75% more likely to cite parental responsibilities as a barrier than their male counterparts.

The full Screen Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Review will be published at the end of January 2017. This will include analysis of the Survey in the context of the wide range of activity across Scotland’s Screen Sector and set against an international backdrop of research and activity

Media Contacts

Scottish Film Talent Network
Arlen Barke
Scottish Film Talent Network Co-Ordinator
T: 0131 228 4051

Creative Scotland
Sophie Bambrough
Media Relations & PR Officer
T: 0131 523 0015