We are thrilled to announce the Female Founders Cohort 2023/34! This cohort comprises 14 dynamic and visionary entrepreneurs who are charting new frontiers in film, TV, and video production. Over the next six months, these trailblazing women will embark on a transformative journey within our comprehensive program, designed to equip them with the skills and confidence essential for the growth and resilience of their businesses.
Our Female Founders Programme is more than just a curriculum; it is a tailored package of unwavering support, invaluable advice, and professional coaching. Throughout the intensive six-month period, participants will engage in laser-focused sessions covering critical aspects such as business planning, securing funding, strategic development, talent acquisition, and the monetisation of intellectual property.
We recognise the undeniable potential of female-led enterprises, acknowledging that they often prove to be more successful and provide safer investment opportunities than their male-led counterparts. Despite this, we understand the challenges women face in establishing and scaling their businesses, and our program aims to bridge that gap.
As we usher in this exciting cohort, we celebrate the resilience, innovation, and diversity these Female Founders bring to the creative landscape. Their journey will not only shape the future of their individual enterprises but will also contribute to a more equitable and thriving industry as a whole. Join us in supporting these inspiring entrepreneurs as they pave the way for a new era of success in film, TV, and video production. Together, let’s empower and amplify the voices of women in business!
This year, we are delighted to have three exceptional mentors Cath Ellington, Erica Wolfe-Murray and Vanessa Chapman who will play a pivotal role in coaching and guiding our Female Founders. Each mentor brings a wealth of experience and expertise in diverse aspects of the industry. Their commitment to fostering growth and innovation will undoubtedly elevate the journey of our entrepreneurs, ensuring that they not only meet but exceed their business goals.
Now, let’s meet the female founders.
Amanda Pearce – Diva Creative Ltd, GeoStories Ltd
I have been a Director of Diva Creative Ltd since 1998. The creative agency is based in Yorkshire and was established in 1997. I’m an experienced Account Director, specializing in strategic communications and developing creative interventions. I lead the company’s development including using storytelling in immersive and engaging experiences.
I am a founder and Director of GeoStories Ltd, established in September 2022. GeoStories delivers app-based stories linked to location to consumers featuring GPS triggers, Augmented Reality, audio drama, music and film. We plan to grow GeoStories quickly through investment and in 2022 I was a member of the Evolve cohort representing GeoStories.
In August 2023 we started developing a new aspect to GeoStories with funding from Innovate UK, leadiing to a new product being launched in 2024 – StoryDayz. StoryDayz is an app for third parties to publish content to via our dedicated CMS, including film, audio, AR and GPS triggers. We will launch this to organisations on a licence basis in 2024.
I am focused on how I continue to develop Diva with digital innovation and storytelling, specifically launching our in-house animation studio, Wunderkammer, whilst planning for succession over the next few years. With GeoStories, I am focusing on growing this new business, developing the product offer (StoryDayz) and realising our fast growth ambitions.
Ania Nakov – Dream & Co
Ania is an independent producer with experience in the creative industries between Paris and London. Her shorts have won numerous awards and launched at festivals including the Venice film festival, London, Tribeca and Palm Springs, her feature projects have been in selection at the Cannes film festival’s Atelier and the Annecy animation festival. She has two features in development with the BFI, other partners include the CNC, Canal+, RSA and the Cartier Contemporary Art Foundation. Branded content clients include Salvatore Ferragamo, Christian Dior Couture, Time Magazine and Headspace.
She has trained at the Central School of Speech & Drama, Sundance’s Collab and Torino Film Lab’s GreenLab, with the aim of becoming a leading sustainable producer, and is a graduate of Cambridge University Judge Business School and the National Film & Television School.
Diana Tracy – Too Tall Productions
Too Tall Productions is a creative animation and visual effects studio. We craft captivating 3D stories for television productions, education, and gaming. We collaborated twice with Banksy, produced an animated comedy with Tom Hardy, and have been BAFTA-nominated for Best Television Title Sequence.
Our debut virtual reality game “Bard Sabre” available now on Meta Quest App Lab https://lnkd.in/eb7VuJPr
Dominique Webb – Inceptive Films
Inceptive Films, based in the East Midlands, was launched in 2020 by Dominique Webb, with an aim to tell original, memorable, and entertaining stories that hit right at the heart of the audience. Inceptive Films and Dominique have worked with Sky Studios, the BBC, ITV Studios, the BFI, Creative UK and Ffilm Cymru. Her short films have screened at BAFTA and Academy qualifying festivals around the world, winning many awards including Best UK Short Film Awards for The Knock and Going Country and she was executive producer on feature film Lapwing, theatrically released to critical acclaim in 2021 (Bulldog Distribution). The Muse TV pilot episode was performed for Sky Drama Table Reads 2023. Inceptive Films has several TV projects in active development, with broad international appeal and are working with some of the best writing and directing talent in the UK.
Dominique is a BAFTA Elevate producer, and an alum of BFI Insight, and other prestigious industry labs and programmes. She is a producing mentor for BFI Network, a Producing Masterclass tutor for the BFI Academy, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Higher Education Academy.
Inceptive Films is a supporter of underrepresented voices and is passionate about equality and inclusivity in our industry.
Fiona Bavinton – Compos Mentis Productions
At Compos Mentis Productions, we stand by the credo “Cutting carbon, not creativity.” As pioneers at the intersection of technology and creative expression, we are dedicated to empowering artists, filmmakers, and game developers to produce sustainable content without compromising on their creative vision. Established with a commitment to harness the vast storytelling capabilities enabled by creative computing, our company is a bastion for innovation in film, immersive technology, and gaming.
Our expertise spans the spectrum of creative technologies, blending film production know how with educational initiatives to nurture talent and foster innovation. We pride ourselves on our people-centric approach, believing that technology should serve as a catalyst for creativity, not dictate its boundaries. Our work is rooted in the conviction that the creative industries are a powerful force for planetary good, with the unique capacity to inspire and enact positive change.
We have cultivated a collaborative ecosystem where seasoned professionals and emerging talents alike converge to redefine the narratives of tomorrow. We share a passion for crafting experiences that resonate with audiences and resonate with values of sustainability. Our portfolio reflects our mission to leverage technology in service of storytelling, delivering content that captivates while consciously reducing our ecological footprint.
At Compos Mentis Productions, we are not just creating content; we are setting a precedent for the future of eco-conscious creation. Join us in shaping a world where creativity flows freely and the health of our planet is upheld.
Gaëlle Mourre – Fat Red Bird Ltd.
Gaëlle is an award-winning Immersive Creator and Film Writer, Director based in London. She founded Fat Red Bird in 2016 first to produce short films, before moving into immersive production in 2020.
Her projects have been selected at Sundance, SXSW, Venice Biennale Venice Immersive, LSFF and many more. She is BAFTA Connect member, a WGGB member and is a 2022 Berlinale Talent.
Her first VR film was Mechanical Souls in 2019 and in 2020 she co-created VR animated series (Hi)Story of a Painting, producing the first two episodes of the series under Fat Red Bird. The second episode of the series won the Special Jury Recognition for Immersive Storytelling at SXSW 2022.
Bilingual in French and English, she works in both languages and is always up for a new challenge.
Jade Alexander – Little Jade Productions
Little Jade Productions creates fantastic genre stories for audiences that transcends traditional boundaries, blending film, games and new media to tell stories that impact, educate and inspire. We love working with underrepresented creatives to tell female focused genre stories, that explore our shared human experience. Led by Producer Jade Alexander whose background in new media and games helps us stretch the boundaries of imagination, and storytelling.
Little Jade Productions has a track record of success, producing the feature film AFTER DEATH in 2012, which earned accolades such as “Best of the Fest” at Raindance Film Festival and Best Film at Bram Stoker Film Festival. Our groundbreaking work in merging film and games with THE COMPLEX (film: The Complex: Lockdown) garnered numerous awards, 51.1 million Twitch views, made a remarkable 165% profit and was accepted into Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFFF).
Little Jade Productions has a further slate of films and games in development including psychological sci-fi, Outer Edges, with director Kelsey Egan (Glasshouse 2021, The Fix 2023, winner of 6 SAFTAs) and Spier Films. We are excited to announce a slate of interactive films including collaborations with Wales Interactive and publisher Gamitronics. We are passionate about bringing stories to life!
Jess Hitchman is a creative digital product and content consultant with over 20 years experience in media, music and tech. She has built products and led strategy for some of the world’s largest youth and entertainment brands including Radio 1, MTV, XFM and Nickelodeon. As Exec Product Manager at BBC Children’s, she led the vision for some of the UK’s most loved kids’ apps and websites.
Jess is also a successful children’s author, having written board books, picture books and graphic novels, published by Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Quarto and Scholastic.
Jules Williamson – So Many Stories
I have worked in TV and film for 30 years, starting as a floor runner and an assistant director on feature films for Working Title and Enigma Films and international TV drama series. I’ve since directed drama shorts and TV, as well as producing and directing documentaries and drama-documentaries for BBC1 and BBC3, ITV, Channel 4, Amazon Prime and Discovery US.
I was nominated for a BAFTA for my first short film, ‘TATTOO’ in 2002, which won The Palm Springs Film Festival award and was subsequently long listed for the Oscars.
‘Off The Rails’, my feature film directing debut was distributed in cinemas across the world in 2021 and 2022. Inspired by my own life story, it starred Judi Dench, Kelly Preston, Sally Phillips, Jenny Seagrove, Ben Miller and Franco Nero. It won Best Feature at The City Of Angels Film Festival in Los Angeles and The Island Award at The Evolution Film Festival in Palma, Majorca. It can be seen on Apple TV and Amazon Prime.
I was interviewed by Woman’s Hour: https://twitter.com/BBCWomansHour/status/1418427659856584717
and Director’s UK: https://directors.uk.com/news/off-the-rails-an-interview-with-jules-williamson
My passion for stories has led to me initiating and developing many projects for film and broadcast. Joining forces with Richard Johns this year to form our North East drama production company ‘So Many Stories’ is a perfect opportunity to tell stories that are local but global. Authentic and relatable everywhere, often with a female driven focus, bringing international appeal to all we create. We’re in active discussions with the likes of the BBC, ITV and Channel 5 on our NE-driven TV series, as well as co-producing with companies looking to shoot in the region next year. We are moving fast and relish being part of the drive to put the North East firmly back on the map as an industry powerhouse.
I’m thrilled to be at the helm of this new company and be selected as one of the Creative UK Female Founders cohort for 2023/24 and part of this amazing group of female leaders .
Julia Munder – RO Pictures
Julia Munder is an experienced producer and digital marketer driven by a passion for bringing compelling visual stories to global audiences. With an extensive background in theatre, TV, and film production, she has been the co-founder and CEO of RO Pictures since 2021 and has driven growth through her creative and commercial vision.
RO Pictures focuses on producing engaging, high-quality films and multi-media content across genres from sci-fi to horror. Under Julia’s leadership, the company has quickly established itself as a leading indie studio known for exceptional craftsmanship and storytelling. RO Pictures takes projects from concept to completion and sets itself apart through integrated expertise in production, marketing, and distribution, ensuring each film achieves its full potential.
The company’s sci-fi short “”Terminal”” caught the attention of major digital platform DUST, following a successful festival run and YouTube debut. RO Pictures has produced feature films like “”The Creature Below””, “”Book of Monsters””, and “”How to Kill Monsters”” in partnership with Dark Rift Horror. All premiered at Frightfest London and secured distribution deals in over 10 countries. Recent projects include the supernatural audio thriller and comic book “”Tales from Davidstown””.
Julia Thompson – East Coast Pictures
East Coast Pictures create original content for TV and Live Events. From unscripted formats in Entertainment, Fact Ent and Reality to the real world beyond the screen.
Julia is former Producer for ITV, Development Executive for Simon Cowell’s SYCO and Director of Entertainment for SONY Pictures Television (Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Nanny 911) now working on projects between Manchester, London … and the beach.
Crossing into place-making, Julia is a member of the Institute of Place Management and created live events winning National Festival and National Outdoor Event Awards. ECP work with BBC, ITV, streamers and have projects with Arts Council, Heritage Lottery, brands, public authorities and partners in TV, online and new tech. The company is evolving bringing original content to screen and beyond.
Karen Newman – Hidden Door Productions Ltd
Hidden Door Productions, founded by Award-Winning Producer Karen Newman in 2015, is an Independent Production Company based in Hertfordshire, UK. We are dedicated to producing and developing a diverse slate of compelling feature films for international distribution and co-production partnerships.
Our work includes the critically acclaimed and award-winning film “Just Charlie” and, most recently, the thought-provoking “Love Without Walls” by Jane Gull, which is currently captivating audiences in cinemas and on digital platforms. We are committed to telling stories that delve into the intricacies of identity, challenging societal norms and expectations. Our films are crafted to inspire audiences to embrace their unique identities and foster empathy and understanding for others.
We firmly believe in the transformative power of film, as it has the ability to foster dialogue, promote social change, and contribute to a more inclusive society. Through our work, we are dedicated to contributing to a world where every individual feels seen, heard, and valued for who they are.
At Hidden Door Productions, we nurture a creative and collaborative work environment that encourages experimentation, risk-taking, and innovation.
Together, we are committed to transforming the world, frame by frame, through the magic of cinema.
Tanya Temple-Harris – AMOS Productions
AMOS is a female-led independent production company based in Brighton. We create original content for broadcasters, charities, arts organisations, and ethical brands. Projects with purpose, that we truly feel passionate and curious about, are what fuel our fire and where we now choose to focus our extensive industry experience. 40 years of experience between us across all genres of TV, film and content creation.
We are excited by the endless possibilities of telling amazing stories in beautiful ways on screen, amplifying seldom-heard voices with quality representation. Our collaborations both on and off-screen bring together diverse perspectives and talents – always with the intention of contributing towards not only a more responsible, inclusive and sustainable industry, but also the wider context of a more equitable and empathetic society.
We joined forces while collaborating on a phenomenal charity campaign Ravi’s Dream, which gave us the chance to discover what a dynamic duo we are. Since launching our business together we have been able to design and implement practices that truly reflect who we are, what we care about and what we need. Together we are even greater than the sum of our parts and we are driven by curiosity and possibility. We complement each other’s personal and professional qualities, bounce off each other creatively and share fundamental values. We bring our whole selves to work, always consciously creating a safe agile space that celebrates everyone’s unique value. We laugh every day, and learn as much as we lead – with kindness, vulnerability and authenticity.
Tanya is an ardently creative Producer & Writer with a broad and diverse career history. Having worked closely with Hammer & Tongs during their most prolific years of making iconic music videos, she then had a rich education in casting at Candid Casting. This led her into the world of short film drama production at Breakthru Films where she worked alongside more remarkable talent and further developed her craft working on projects that picked up many major award wins and nominations. As an Assistant Director on scripted drama for TV and film, she honed her skills of fast-paced multitasking and high stakes communication. She worked on various children’s TV projects too, including for BBC and Nickelodeon. Scriptwriting on various projects in Los Angeles and New York gave Tanya a solid grounding in collaborative creative processes. While living in LA she also produced a regular live music event alongside Jermaine Jackson Jr. As a Development Producer for factual TV she deepened her understanding of broadcast commissioning, and also her passion for real-life meaningful storytelling. She is also very proud to have worked with Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell at Hipgnosis on a powerful feature documentary for the Nelson Mandela Foundation on worldwide HIV/AIDS awareness. Tanya now lives in Brighton with her three noisy boys aged 4, 8 and 46 (one of them is her partner).
Victoria Forrest – VIKA
VIKA® designs books and brands for the storytellers of the future
Led by award-winning graphic designer Victoria Forrest, VIKA combine the conceptual rigour of graphic arts, the production values of fine art publishing, and the dynamism of creative technologies to create uniquely Connected Books® and brands that tell your story in the most innovative and elegant way imaginable.
Winner of the prestigious InnovateUK ‘Women in Innovation’ Award, D&AD Impact and Great British Entrepreneur of the Year, VIKA are leaders in publishing innovation. Our uniquely Connected Books embed video, sound, Augmented Reality and sign languages into the printed page, making books more dynamic and more accessible.