Waterloo Road producers support emerging talent

Waterloo Road producers support emerging talent
Waterloo Road via BBC

Rope Ladder Fiction, producers of Waterloo Road, has unveiled plans to support two short films every year as part of a drive to back emerging and next-generation talent.

The Manchester-based prodco, founded by Cameron Roach in 2022, has announced the first pair of films, currently in post, Osoro by Sheila Nortley and Surprise Baby! by Zane Igbe.

Both films will have industry and international festival screenings in the coming months.

OsoroOsoro (right), a co-production with Norto Productions, is written and directed by Sheila Nortley and produced by Martina Russo. The short explores themes of grief, classism and mythology, set against a backdrop of black Britain in the early Noughties.

Nortley said: “I wanted to explore grief – a profoundly otherworldly yet profoundly human experience, in a way that was beautiful and nuanced.”

Surprise, Baby! is a co-production with Northern Fortress Films, written and directed by Zane Igbe and produced by Louisa Rose Mackleston. Diva Rodriguez, who recently produced two episodes of Waterloo Road, is executive producer.

Surprise, Baby!The film centres on parent-to-be Taye contemplating confiding in their pregnant partner Serena about their own gender identity on the day of their baby shower.

Zane Igbe, who first worked with Rope Ladder Fiction as a Screen Manchester trainee on Waterloo Road and went on to work as an AD whilst developing their writing and directing work says, “Embarking on the creation of ‘Surprise, Baby’ coincided with my role as a runner trainee at Waterloo Road, where I forged meaningful connections with friends who provided invaluable support throughout the development process…”

With the newly-pledged support of two short films a year, Rope Ladder Fiction aims to stimulate the development pipeline. Roach said: “At this time, we are in need of more spaces for creative talent to find their voice and explore themes and ideas in an experimental, safe and brave space, away from the immediate pressures of the commercial environment.

“We aim to be innovative with our development, creating original projects and a unique environment for writers and directors to truly harness their voice and authorship. With ‘Osoro’ and ‘Surprise, Baby!’ we have invested in two highly original projects from two brilliant voices.”

Rope Ladder Fiction is currently in development with ‘The Twyford Code’ and is in production on the 14th and 15th series of Waterloo Road.

Waterloo Road image via BBC. 

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