Future Producer School is a six-month training initiative in association with Bungalow Town Productions and Public Media Alliance, in which ambitious and dedicated young producers receive mentoring and training from some of the most exciting producers in the doc industry today.


Meet our Future Producers 2016

Aleksandra Bilic

Aleksandra Bilic is a creative producer with an MA in Dramaturgy and Script Writing from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has been working with Roast Beef Productions, one of the leading independent film companies in the United Kingdom, for three years, on films such as Smash and Grab- The Story of the Pink Panthers, Pussy Riot- A Punk Prayer and Oscar nominated The Square. She is an alumni of the Berlinale Talents program, taking part as a producer in Sarajevo 2015. She has produced short films and videos for We the Economy, Dazed magazine/ Channel 4 Random Acts, and for artists including Kate Tempest. Her most recent film, dealing with Islamophobia towards women in the U.K was recently screened at the BFI. She is excited to develop her new feature length film during Future Producers School 2016.



Alessandra D'Avanzo

I am a British/Italian documentary producer with over 10 years of experience in broadcast media and independent feature documentaries. During this time I has travelled across the world producing documentaries  under the auspices of some of the United Kingdoms  leading documentary directors on a broad range specialist factual singles and feature length documentaries. Some credits include: Emelie Sande, Frida Khalo: Under My Skin,  Lost Kingdoms of South America, Easter Island: Mystries of a Lost World, and   The Last Animal a feature documentary exploring the dangers of animal poaching across the world.  Currently working on a series of documentary films for the IOC leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Documentaries are my first love and I believe that telling real stories that are engaging, truthful and push boundaries, can help connect worlds so far apart through film.


Andrew Fawn

Andrew has worked across fiction and non-fiction narrative films ranging from shorts to features and television, online series, corporate films and commercials as either casting director or producer and occasional writer. As producer, Andrew is focusing his work on non-fiction narrative film and is in production on a feature length documentary exploring the life and career of Cozy Powell and is developing several other projects.


Caroline Stern

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Film, Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia in 2000, Caroline began a career in International Sales and Distribution which took her from Vancouver to Toronto and ultimately to London where she serves as Director of International Sales & Acquisitions for Kaleidoscope Film Distribution. Throughout her career, Caroline has worked extensively on the distribution and international sales of seminal feature documentaries including the multi-award winning Sharkwater, David Attenborough’s The Penguin King, and Ice T’s The Art of Rap.  She has recently begun working with clients on the development and financing of feature documentaries with an international focus.


Chi Thai

After graduating from the Northern Film School, Chi was awarded the SKY Scholarship and invited to the NFTS Producer’s Masterclass. As a producer of commercials producer she has been a Cannes Lions finalist three times. Moving into fiction, Light Years, a short which she wrote and produced, qualified for BAFTA and Academy Award consideration and has competed at top tier festivals. In 2016, her company LightBox was ranked 20 in Creative England’s Top 50 creative companies. Current productions include: comedy drama China Blues, funded by Creative England; thriller Hot Knife, developed with Screen Yorkshire; The Magic Paintbrush, an adaptation of a Julia Donaldson picture book; and feature documentaries A God Amongst Men, executive produced by Academy Award winner James Gay-Rees, and Zero Hour, produced with Academy Award winner Alex Gibney. She is invited participant to Masterschool 2016 and Guiding Lights 2015, Europe’s most prestigious mentoring scheme. 


Eloise King

Eloise is a producer with eight years experience of producing and directing prime-time observational documentary films. Her career begun at Channel 4's creative agency, 4Creative before leaving to help set-up Pulse Films TV department.  She has a strong focus on telling powerful human-interest stories from the perspective of marginalised voices. From 3 minute Wonder series on society's outliers (The Gatherings, C4), highlighting female heavy metal artists in Tehran (The Playlist, Al Jazeera English), showing the nuances of life after divorce via meditation (The Divorce Clinic, BBC2) - to interviewing some of America’s youngest criminals serving time for murder and burglary (Kids Behind Bars ITV 1). Eloise is also co-founder of Women on Docs, a monthly screening and discussion collective celebrating the contribution of  women to documentary film. She is currently in development on feature documentary 'The Goal is Rio'. 


Fran Higson

Frances Higson is an independent film maker who has produced award winning feature films, short films and documentaries; she is a video activist who makes and screens films to raise awareness about important social and political issues and she provides training and mentoring support to new and aspiring film makers. Frances has produced 4 short films and two feature films; Orphans and The Magdalene Sisters with the writer/director Peter Mullan. These films have won numerous International awards and have been distributed in 35 countries throughout the world. She has also produced & directed 3 short documentaries including the BAFTA nominated Rogues, Rascals & Runaways and United We Will SwimAgain. In 2003 Frances co-founded the Camcorder Guerrillas. Current work includes the development of a slate of documentary projects; she teaches Social Screen at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; and she is co-ordinating a city-wide programme of events with over 20 organisations for the Radical Film Networks 2016 festival in Glasgow. 



Laura Shacham

Laura cut her teeth in high energy, high impact social issue documentaries as first Assistant Producer, then Producer of Just Do It: a tale of modern-day outlaws, the feature documentary that gained unprecedented access to the secretive world of environmental direct action. Following a sell-out premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest, the film had an extensive cinema release in the UK alongside community and festival screenings stretching from Quebec to Kosovo. Spurred on by the possibilities for change harbouring in alternative distribution models, she joined Will Francome and Mark Pizzey to produce One For Ten, the Webby-nominated interactive web series profiling innocent people who were wrongfully convicted and on death row. She is currently producing  the feature documentary The Penalty - headed up by the One For Ten directorial duo - following three people caught in the crosshairs of capital punishment. Laura co-runs Kino London, the capital's only open-mic short film night.


Margareta Szabo

Margareta wears two hats as both producer and actress. Acting credits include the Golden-globe nominated In the Land of Blood and Honey (dir. Angelina Jolie), The Pillars of the Earth (dir: Sergio Mimica-Gezzan) amongst many others. Having worked on the other side of the lens and having read lots of proposals, plays and scripts has given Margareta a great insight and understanding as to the process of filmmaking and what makes a compelling story and interesting character. In 2012, Margareta co-founded Labor of Love Films Ltd. Her first foray into production was Hotel Folly - Folie a Deux, a feature documentary (IDFA, Cambridge, Vilnius, BBC Storyville, YesDocu). Margareta is currently producing her second feature documentary Voices of the Sea - A Cuban Odyssey, a film about a wise, old Cuban fisherman trying to hold onto his family. Margareta is represented by IAG. She has recently won a place to Berlinale Talents 2016.    


Maurice O'Brien

Maurice is a freelance producer and director who began his career as a print journalist in Dublin. His work includes ‘Northern Soul: Keeping the Faith’ about one of the UK’s biggest underground music scenes, made with journalist Paul Mason; ‘Confessions of an English Opium Eater’ - about the first literary depiction of recreational drug use; and the climactic episode of ‘The Story of Scottish Art’. His film about writer William McIlvanney premiered at Glasgow Film Festival gaining five star reviews and an honourary commendation in the Scottish parliament. He’s made countless shorts for most of the BBC’s landmark programmes – topics including access to education for young women in India, socialist mayors in Andalucia and bagpipe-playing sheperds in the Italian hills.  His short ‘Buffalo Dreams’, produced with Scottish Documentary Institute, has screened and won awards at top festivals around the world and qualified for Academy Award consideration. He was Assistant Producer on the 90-minute Cold War drama-doc ‘Avoiding Armageddon’ for Channel4/ Discovery which won the Grierson for best historical documentary. Current projects include a feature doc about the most ancient sport in Ireland. He gets excited by the possibilities and loves meeting potential collaborators.


Paul Bell

After studying acting, screenwriting and art history, I eventually graduated with a degree in Visual Theory in the mid 90's. I was the first person in my family to even do an A Level, so I really was starting from the ground up in this industry (which is still sadly as much about who you know as what you know) and it took me the best part of a decade before I felt that I was actually getting somewhere. That feeling coincided with the decision to switch my efforts from the TV world to documentary film production, and so using my extensive experience of archive film-making (or as I often put it - making films without a camera) I have helped produce two of the most successful UK documentaries of recent years - Senna and Amy. For the future I want to continue making archive based factual films, but with a greater emphasis placed on art and drama.



Rachel Heywood


Initially starting out as a features journalist before moving into the realm of Television production, Rachel has been privileged to work for a range of production companies. Combining her passion for travel and production, in 2007 Rachel left the UK to work overseas as a journalist, producer and director in countries including, Australia, Dubai, Kingdom of Bahrain, and Turks & Caicos.  After returning to the UK in 2013 Rachel worked for several production companies before joining Raw Cut TV as a development producer in April 2014. During her time at Raw Cut TV Rachel helped secure three commissions, three funded developments and assisted with setting up a feature documentary co-production with Pulse Films. Having recently finished working as a producer on an ITV prime-time crime series, Rachel is currently working on a funded development for Channel 4, a two-part series for ITV4 and the development of several documentary feature ideas of her own. 



Roy Cohen

Previously a neuroscience researcher, Roy Cohen is a producer-director who specializes in stories about emerging technologies an cutting edge science. His documentary, Machine of Human Dreams, premieres at this year's Doc/Fest. Currently, Roy is working on Killer Robot, the incredible story of the highly intelligent Iron Dome weapon system, which underscores the complicated relationship of power and money between Israel and USA. Drawing on his Neuroscience experience, Roy is also developing Enhancers, a web series about individuals who use home-made drugs and DIY invasive technologies to achieve cognitive enhancement, only to experience unexpected results.


Vanessa Moussa

Vanessa is a Producer and Director with more than a decade of experience making television documentaries (BBC, Channel4, MTV, Discovery, National Geographic). She specialises in international crime and current affairs stories. Some of her credits include producing a Grierson nominated documentary about the 18th street gang in El Salvador (Inside the Gangsters Code); gaining access to members of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico while producing a film on the supply and demand of crystal meth (Drugs Inc.); working on the Help For Syria Digital Campaign as well as making a series of short films about Islamic radicalisation in the UK.  Most recently, Vanessa has worked on a BBC film, commissioned by Charlotte Moore, about growing up in some the toughest places on the planet (Millennium Children) before producing a documentary for a new online platform at Vice. She is currently developing a feature documentary set in Greece.



Victoria Thomas

Victoria Thomas is an award winning and BAFTA nominated producer who runs an independent production company based in Edinburgh and London. She works across fiction, documentary and audience design for independent film distribution. She is the founder of Trigah, a cinema on demand model developed with support from Creative Scotland and Cues, a film discovery app which aggregates market intelligence for film distributors. Most recently she co-produced Between Rings, a feature documentary which charts the rise of 7 time world welterweight champion, Esther Phiri, which premiered at CPH:Dox in 2014 and was broadcast on YLE Finland and Afridocs (Sub-Saharan Africa). She is a graduate of the Creative Business for Executives and Entrepreneurs at the National Film & Television School.


 Meet the Team



Rachel Wexler & Jez Lewis, Bungalow Town Productions

Bungalow Town Productions make highly individual documentaries for worldwide audiences. The company was established in 2004 by producer Rachel Wexler and director/producer Jez Lewis. We have produced and co-produced many critically acclaimed films such as Garbage Warrior (Dir: Oli Hodge), The English Surgeon (Dir: Geoffrey Smith), All White in Barking (Dir: Marc Isaacs), Out of the Ashes (Dir: Tim Albone & Lucy Martens) and Shed Your Tears and Walk Away (Dir: Jez Lewis), Guilty Pleasures (Dir: Julie Moggan), My Perestroika (Dir: Robin Hessman) and Brakeless (Dir. Kyoko Miyake). Our films have exhibited at innumerable film festivals including Edinburgh, London, Sundance, Karlovy Vary, Hotdocs, Krakow, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Fullframe, Silverdocs and IDFA and have also been distributed theatrically, on TV and DVD worldwide. Bungalow Town have won dozens of awards, including an Emmy for ‘The English Surgeon'.


 Marion Simpson, PMA WorldView

Before joining the Alliance in 2003, Marion worked in television for over ten years, including three years as production manager for the Survival Animal Planet Unit. Marion is responsible for the management of WorldView.



 Anna Parker, Sheffield Doc/Fest

Anna Parker is Marketplace Manager at Sheffield Doc/Fest. Sheffield Doc/Fest is a world leading and the UK’s premier documentary festival, celebrating the art and business of documentary. We’re a hub for all documentary and factual content across all platforms, from feature length to shorts, and including interactive and virtual reality projects. The Doc/Fest Marketplace is a major funding, sales and distribution platform designed to unlock UK and international market opportunities, and facilitate creative collaborations. 


With support from Creative Skillset

 Creative Skillset