Vertical Lab

A Diverse Film Industry Makes Better Cinema


The Vertical Lab is a mentoring programme that fosters original cinema by supporting underrepresented film professionals working in development, production and distribution. We believe that brilliant film requires a wide range of voices and an inclusive, representative industry. 

Only 14% of top UK film directors are women

With such a lack of representation in key production roles, there is a limit to which kinds of stories will be told, and whose life experience will be included in them. By working with a wide range of artists over a six-month period, the Vertical Lab provides key insights into why a lack of diversity persists and develop further advocacy work aimed at remedying this

16% of the UK population have a disability. yet, we rarely see disabled people on or behind the screen.

The Vertical Lab selects fifteen underrepresented filmmakers to join the Vertical Lab. The Vertical Lab Sessions event gives the Lab artists an opportunity to screen their work to a large audience of film professionals. The Lab Artists then enter a two-week intensive period of mentoring, followed by a six-month part time mentoring period where they are able to meet with top directors and producers. In the past, these private events have involved such talent as Jeremy Irons, Joanna Natasegara (Violet Films), Simon Young (Shorts TV), Charlie Phillips (Guardian) and Ken Loach.

Less than 5% of UK film directors are people of colour


Vertical Lab artists attend the Raindance Film Festival.


Vertical Lab artist, Leaphia Darko gets distribution advice from Simon Young, VP of European Sales at Shorts TV.


Vertical Lab Artists 2018 - 2019


The Vertical Lab filmmakers of 2018-2019 represent talent in a range of disciplines: writing, cinematography, directing, producing, documentary, drama, comedy, editing, animation, performance and music. Since joining the lab, we are extremely happy that four of the Lab artists are now in production on short films and two feature films are in development. Films made previously by Lab artists have been featured at international festivals this year, with one Lab artist - Siobhan Fahey - even winning a BAFTA! We are so happy and excited for all of the Vertical Lab artists and continue to support them as they develop their independent film careers.