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The BBC is backing four emerging film-makers, whose credits include Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland and Channel 4’s Kids, to make their first authored hour-long documentaries.

The quartet have been picked for the latest round of the BBC New Documentary Directors Initiative, which supports rising factual talent and pairs each of them with an indie to make their own documentary for BBC3.

The participants are:

Sian McIlwaine, the Northern Irish producer of BBC2’s Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland, who has worked for Keo Films since 2021. Her other credits include the BBC’s Grierson-nominated doc DeLorean: back From the Future and the similarly-themed Netflix doc Myth and Mogul: John De Lorean

Flynn Esther, a shooting producer on Expectation’s recent Channel 4 care home series Kids and Flicker Productions’ upcoming Channel 5 feature-length doc Wayne Couzens: Hiding in Plain Sights

Tomasz Frymorgan, a development producer on ITV’s Laura Whitmore Investigates for Rumpus Media and a location director on Summer Films’ BBC3 doc Zara McDermott: Disordered Eating

Elle Mower, who is currently producing Story Films’ upcoming No Strings Attached and is series producing Stacey Dooley: it’s Time to Talk About Rape for Minnow Films.

Past alumni of the scheme include Marian Mohamed, who won the Bafta for Emerging Talent for her doc Defending Digga D, as well as Manchester Bomb: Our Story director Lizzie Kempton and Ziyaad Desai, who made Bad Influencer.

BBC heads of docs commissioning Clare Sillery said: “We are committed to providing opportunities for new directing talent to grow their careers and tell the stories that really matter to our audience. This initiative has a really impressive track record in supporting a diverse range of new voices to break through and I’m excited to see what this year’s cohort will bring.” 

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