Reported by Yusef Alam on the 16th of June 2022
Louisa Rose Mackleston speaking after graduating from her Virgin Money Foundation Young Change Maker's Fellowship last month.
A LOCAL filmmaker has spoken of her joy after her production company was shortlisted for a national award.
Louisa Rose Mackleston, from Keighley, was overwhelmed after Northern Fortress was named as a finalist at the Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Entrepreneurs. Around 250 applicants have now been narrowed down to nine finalists, five of which will be named as winners and will be given a share of funding. Louisa will head to London on 28 June, after Northern Fortress was recognised as a business which creates social change. “I’m shocked. I thought it would be a long shot and the competition would be too high,” said Louisa, 27. “But I’m amazed that me – a little director from Keighley – has been shortlisted for such a big award. “Now I’m hoping that the final pitch goes well.”
Louisa – whose work includes Ruth & Safiya, a short film set in Bradford telling the story of a Syrian refugee and an isolated pensioner – added that she hopes her success can help to change perceptions.
“I’m sick of how the north of England gets portrayed, so I’m trying to redefine that,” she said.
“The City of Culture bid shows how passionate Bradfordians are. We’re sick of playing the underdog and we want to show that we are a force to be reckoned with.
“I think filmmaking should be critical of society, and not just for entertainment. That’s something I’m passionate about.
“I cried when Bradford won the City of Culture bid, because so many worked so hard to show that culture has always been here.
“It’s a great time to be from Bradford.”
Louisa has a disability – a chronic pain condition – and added that she hopes her achievements can encourage others to overcome barriers.
“I don’t want to put myself on a pedestal, but I do try to lead by example,” she said.
“Being a female, northern, queer and disabled director from Keighley and still being able to make films will hopefully blow the glass ceiling and make it possible for others to succeed too.”
Louisa, who recently graduated from her Virgin Money Foundation Young Change Maker's Fellowship, will fly to Italy just a day after the awards final, to go on a course with American filmmaker John Landis – director of Coming to America, Beverley Hills Cop III and even Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.
“It’s surreal, but I’m so excited,” said Louisa.
“It’s a massive opportunity which I’m very grateful for, and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”