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Manchester indie invests in emerging and next generation film talent

Prolific North -

by Stephen Chapman

  • February 1, 2024

Rope Ladder Fiction has announced plans to invest in 2 short films a year to promote new talent.

The Manchester indie, which was set up by Sky’s Former Head of Drama, Cameron Roach, has already started with 2 films currently in post production.

“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,” explained Roach.

“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.”

The 2 short films ‘Osoro’ and ‘Surprise, Baby!’ and come through a trainee scheme in partnership with Wall to Wall and Screen Manchester.

Osoro is a co-production with Norto Productions is written and directed by Sheila Nortley and produced by Martina Russo. The film is set to debut this summer, exploring “magical realism whilst simultaneously delving into the poignant and resonant themes of grief, classism, and mythology.”

Rope Fiction said the story was poised to challenge traditional narratives “whilst introducing fresh perspectives on love, grief, and magic set against a backdrop of black Britain in the early Noughties.”

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

Osoro is being entered into international film festivals, whilst the team focus on feature and series development.

Surprise, Baby! is a co-production with Bradford’s Northern Fortress Films, written and directed by Zane Igbe and produced by Louisa Rose Mackleston. Diva Rodriguez serves as Executive Producer; Diva recently produced 2 episodes of Waterloo Road for Rope Ladder Fiction.

The film tells the story of parent-to-be Taye contemplating confiding in their pregnant partner Serena about their own gender identity on the day of their baby shower. “Taye is unsure how to go about this but as the baby shower looms the ticking clock becomes more overwhelming. He has to tell Serena before it is too late.. Meanwhile Serena finds herself convinced by her assertive mother and baby shower co-host Pam, to turn the event into a gender reveal party.”

Igbe 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.

“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,” explained Igbe.

“This project has been a profound journey for me, serving as a cathartic outlet as I commenced my medical transition. The narrative’s focus on a trans character’s journey to happiness holds great significance. There’s a pressing need for more authentic trans representation, both in front of and behind the camera, within the industry.”


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