BFI NETWORK Short Film Development Programme - 2021 Participants

Meet the year participants for our 2021 Short Film Development Programme.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash.


Adekemi Roluga

Adekemi Roluga is a 20-year-old, Afro-British filmmaker, who thrives on telling diverse and minority stories, focusing on topics of diversity, social realism, social injustice, and sexuality in all creative forms. She is an alumnus of the Manchester/NFTS BFI Film academies and Bournemouth University, where her graduate film, Fragments, screened at various festivals nationwide. Adekemi is now in post-production of her BBC New Creatives drama, which explores the internal emotions of black individuals who are experiencing micro-aggressive racism.

Christien Bart-Gittens

Christien Bart-Gittens’ first short The Consequence of Reliving screened at numerous festivals before securing distribution with Shorts TV in the US. Following that, his short Like You Like Mewon best short comedy at BAFTA CYMRU qualifying Carmarthen Bay Film Festival. He has since gone on to Co-Create and Direct web series Suffering, which was nominated for four Screen Nation awards. He also produced The Morning After Etiquette, which is currently being distributed by Shorts TV in the US and EU.

Donell Atkinson-Johnson

I’m a writer/director from Lewisham and a recent bachelor’s graduate of Bournemouth University who has been making films from a young age. I’ve had my work screened in festivals and held screenings of my own with other filmmakers. I’m a fan of stories of all kinds and am interested in creating conceptual character-based work.

Elias Suhail

Elias Suhail is writer/director with many years’ experience working behind the scenes on high-end TV dramas and independent feature films, for filmmakers such as Sally Potter, Joanna Hogg, and Ken Loach. He turned his hand to writing at the start of the pandemic. He was selected to take part in the 2020 SAFAR Arab Film Development Programme in association with the Arab British Centre, the French Institute and the ICA, in which he developed a treatment for a feature screenplay, and he is currently adapting this idea to a short film to use as a litmus test for his longer form project with the support of the BFI Network. Elias aims to use his confluence of experiences to tell stories that offer a deeper understanding of the multiplicity of Arab identity. Find him on instagram and twitter @dar_elias.


Ginte Regina

Ginte Regina is a Lithuanian filmmaker based in Norfolk. Coming from an arts background, she works in-between artist film and narrative fiction. Her work often depicts female characters and their quest for a sense of belonging.

Kerry Vandersteen

Kerry is based in Folkestone, a seaside town with an inspiring and supportive creative community. She works in education and has a strong interest in inclusion and social justice. She is drawn to dark comedy, drama and arthouse and is developing her first feature with Jane Gull and Georgina French.


Nichola Wong

Nichola is a Writer-Director based in Margate. She is a 2020 Sundance Fellow, BFI NET.WORK x BAFTA Crew listed director and a graduate of the NFTS Directors Workshop. Her short films have screened at film festivals all around the world, as well as on Film4/All 4 and  NOWNESS. She is currently developing her debut feature with Ardimages (God’s Own Country).

Olivia Waring

Olivia Waring is a writer and director from Hove, East Sussex. The 2019 drama Nocturnal, which premiered at the London Film Festival, was based on her original screenplay, which she wrote while studying at the University of East Anglia. Her first short film Flora & Fauna was completed in 2020.

Panayiota Panteli

Panayiota Panteli is a second generation Greek-Cypriot based in Watford. She explores themes of social justice within disability and social care, developing her stories from a personal authentic lived experience.

Rachel Tookey

Rachel is a writer for stage and screen, who uses non-naturalistic techniques to explore sexual politics. Previous work includes BLUR, a short film commissioned by the Roundhouse, and her play BROMLEY BEDLAM BETHLEHEM, which was awarded the Marlowe Society ‘Other Prize’. She is an alumni of writers groups with HighTide, Oxford Playhouse, Soho Theatre and RADA. Rachel is represented by David Higham Associates.

Rebecca Hill

Rebecca is an award-winning theatre director, an Alumni Artist of the Gate Theatre and previously Director in Residence at the Almeida Theatre. She is Co-Artistic Director of the acclaimed Unbound Productions, an Associate Artist of the Mercury Theatre in Colchester, and was an Ovalhouse Artist as recipient of the Arts Manifesto: A Future for the Arts award. As writer, she is a Fringe First and Editor’s Choice award winner for verbatim play Travesti, described as “a masterpiece of modern theatre” by The Skinny. Rebecca has worked extensively developing new writing with emerging and established writers and new writing companies, with her work described as “blistering” by Lyn Gardner for The Guardian. She is also a highly experienced Associate Director, on projects that scale from intimate, site-specific solo shows to national commercial tours and West End productions, including The Starry Messenger by Kenneth Lonergan and starring Matthew Broderick.

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