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About Us

Northern Fortress Films is an award-winning grassroots production company focused on telling socially conscious Northern stories. We are proud to be based in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

At Northern Fortress, we aim to shine a spotlight on Northern talent, giving Northern voices the chance to tell their stories. Diversity and representation are at the core of all of our films, and we aim to change the culture of the industry by keeping these values at the forefront of our filmmaking.

Company Director

Louisa Rose Mackleston

Northern Fortress was founded by Louisa in January 2021.

For the past six years, Louisa has been working as an Assistant Director in TV & Film. She has recently been awarded the Virgin Money Foundation Young Change Maker Fellowship for her work on creating social change through film and promoting social mobility through careers in the screen industries. Her first film, Ruth & Safiya, was selected for BAFTA qualifying Leeds International Film Festival and has won Best Short at Cardiff International Film Festival. She recently gave a TEDx talk on her route into the film industry and why diversity and representation are so important. 

Louisa is a member of both the Queer and Disabled community and advocates for equality in the industry, by running accessible sets with inclusion at the heart. She has produced & directed over 14 films since Northern Fortress' inception, in 4 different languages spanning commercials, narrative & documentary format filming across the UK, Italy & Japan. 

She has worked with Oscar-winning Screen Writer, Simon Beaufoy on Ruth & Safiya, and Hollywood legend, John Landis whilst training at the International Filmmaking Academy in Bologna, which was supported by Screen Skills. She also took part in Screen Yorkshire's FLEX talent development scheme as a Director. 

Alongside the Virgin Money Foundation, Northern Fortress has also been supported by MeWe360's Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Entrepreneurs, PWC & Impact Hubs' Sustain 2.0 program and on various projects by The Leap.


Company Assistant

Lily Corke-Butters

Lily has been working with Northern Fortress Films since February 2022 as an Editor and Personal Assistant to Louisa. Originally from Liverpool, she moved to Leeds in 2019 to study Filmmaking at the Northern Film School.


She has worked on numerous short films, with experience in writing, directing, editing and producing. Her work explores themes of gender, identity and sexuality, with a particular emphasis on experimental visual techniques and storytelling.


Like Louisa, she is passionate about elevating the voices and stories of groups that are underrepresented in film. She firmly believes that the industry is in dire need of more diversity and inclusivity - both in front of and behind the camera.


She hopes to work with Northern Fortress Films to contribute to the creation of challenging, engaging and valuable films that shine a light on stories and people that are systematically excluded by the industry. As well as working with Louisa to support her in providing opportunities for aspiring filmmakers that may require extra support to break into the industry.

We also work with a team of trained, skilled, industry professionals on a project to project basis.


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