NFTS Talent Shine As Screen International Reveals ‘Stars Of Tomorrow’ 2024!

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) is proud to announce that five talented former students have been selected for Screen Internationals Stars of Tomorrow, with four up and coming producers and one comedy writer making the coveted list.




Screen’s annual special edition puts the spotlight on the hottest on the rise actors and filmmakers in the UK and Ireland. Now in its 21st edition, over 70 NFTS graduates have previously been featured including writer/director Rose Glass (Love Lies Bleeding) production designer Luke Hull (Chernobyl), writer/director Sandhya Suri (Santosh) and director Aneil Karia (The Gold).

This year’s selection was overseen by Fionnuala Halligan, Screen’s executive editor, reviews and new talent who said: “Stars of Tomorrow comes of age in 2024 – 21 years of identifying creative talent with a bright future. The business has changed so much over that time, and although our focus is still independent cinema, it’s also clear that many of the young talents here are working across film and HETV with a next-gen ease that earlier Stars of Tomorrow might have envied. But talent is talent wherever you find it, and the UK is still as much of a creative hotspot as it ever was. I look forward to watching these Stars of Tomorrow rise.”

Meet the NFTS 2024 Screen Stars of Tomorrow!
James Bowsher - Producer 

Since joining Mike Goodridge’s outfit Good Chaos in 2019, James Bowsher has risen crisply through the ranks of producing — he was the UK line producer on Baltasar Kormakur’s Touch, production manager on Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson’s Northern Comfort and associate producer on Jessica Hausner’s Cannes 2023 Competition entry Club Zero.


James Bowsher


Bowsher’s first fully fledged producer credit was Santosh, the north India-set crime drama directed by 2023 Star of Tomorrow Sandhya Suri, which premiered earlier this year in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard. “It was a 43-day shoot, and we were trying to film it sequentially. We were filming at the end of the monsoon, our sets were [unintentionally] underwater,” he recalls of the epic shoot. “It was just very big, but we had the most wonderful crew.”

Bowsher caught the film bug through visits to his local DVD shop in Barnes, west London. Gary Golding, now head of film programming at Olympic Studios cinema, ran the shop and allowed him to borrow anything from the cult or classics sections for free, so long as he agreed to come back and debate the films.

“To this day, my aspiration with most of the movies I’m across is that they will end up in some sort of nominal cult or classics section, somewhere down the line,” says Bowsher, who is currently in Macao and Hong Kong serving as associate producer on Good Chaos’s The Ballad Of A Small Player, which stars Colin Farrell and is directed by Edward Berger for Netflix.

He studied drama and Portuguese at the University of Bristol, graduating in 2014. The following few years saw him try to etch his way into the film business, to little avail, until he began the MA producing course at the National Film and Television School in 2018. Here he first encountered Good Chaos, wrangling the internship that “changed my life”.

Bowsher is now partner and head of production at Good Chaos, where he is building his own “esoteric” slate. This includes The Wise Woman, the feature debut of Nomadland cinematographer Joshua James Richards, about the origins of witches; a Zambia-set project from Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese; horror Locked directed by Lesley Manning; and a project from Anna Biller set in Britain during the Middle Ages.

Solomon Golding - Producer 

Solomon Golding’s childhood has the trappings of a feature film. He was raised between Tottenham, Jamaica, Ghana and Cambridge, and was inspired to take up ballet and leave home aged 11 to attend London’s Royal Ballet School after watching Billy Elliot and the Harry Potter films.


Solomon Golding


In 2013, he went on to be the first UK-born Black ballet dancer to join the Royal Ballet. He also danced with the Hong Kong Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, before taking the leap into producing.

“I was always searching to be part of telling stories that weren’t perpetuating dated or binary ideas of people’s cultures and genders,” he recalls. “I got to the point where I felt like I had expended enough energy in ballet, and wanted to push my storytelling.”

Golding set up House of Solomon as an art curation, creative direction and production company in 2019, and was awarded a scholarship to study at the National Film and Television School, graduating in 2023. He connected with filmmaker Sally Potter through the School, with Golding coming on board to co-produce a modern retelling of her 1992 film Orlando, titled Orlando, Now, currently in development.

His NFTS graduate short Killing Boris Johnson, directed by Musa Alderson-Clarke, played at Cannes in 2023. “We ended up having [Reform UK MP] Lee Anderson on GB News saying the producers should be put in prison. That was amazing.”

Golding worked on Mikko Makela’s feature Sebastian (produced by fellow Star of Tomorrow James Watson), and is now in-house production assistant at Sarah Brocklehurst’s Brock Media. Here, he assisted on Sundance title The Outrun, and is helping build the TV slate, with projects including Caleb Azumah Nelson’s Small Worlds and The House, a series Golding describes as “Industry for the ballet world”.

On his own film slate, Golding is collaborating with his brother, artist Amartey Golding, and is developing a queer love story about a Jamaican man in the UK living with Alzheimer’s disease. “There’s a special alchemy I’ve fallen in love with [in producing],” he notes, “which is similar to performing and similar to being a ballet dancer — to create and manifest someone’s idea.”

Elizabeth Rufai - Producer

Elizabeth Rufai’s way into film came through meeting Lionsgate UK’s then-head of publicity Lorna Mann at an exercise club and clinching work experience that evolved into a marketing assistant job. She sidestepped into producing, working with production banner Somesuch before being awarded a BBC scholarship for the National Film and Television School’s Producing MA, graduating in 2023 and landing the BAFTA with Yasmin Afifi for their graduate short Jellyfish and Lobster (in treatment stage with BBC Film and Agile Films).


Elizabeth Rufai and her sister Abiola Rufai-Awojide

L-R Elizabeth Rufai, Abiola Rufai-Awojide

Rufai is currently back at Somesuch as an associate producer on 2017 Star of Tomorrow Harris Dickinson’s untitled feature directing debut and co-founded Carbon Pictures which has a fledgling film and TV development slate, with her sister, fellow producer and Screen Star of Tomorrow 2024, Abiola Rufai-Awojide.

Jess Bray - Comedy Writer

Jess Bray is focused on bringing back the UK romantic comedy. “I am obsessed with writing about relationships. I want to watch two people talk to each other and fall in love.”


Jess Bray


In fact, she might soon be giving Richard Curtis a run for his money — one of the two features she has inching towards production is even with Working Title, and is about a couple who take a break to save their relationship. The second, with Mews Films, is a “playful take on My Best Friend’s Wedding”. Bray’s Channel 4 pilot Break Clause filmed recently and is about a young couple — played by 2023 Star of Tomorrow Samuel Bottomley and Mexican comedian Lara Ricote — who move into a flat, but split up on the first night and must live out their break clause. “It’s like a younger version of [Channel 4 sitcom] Catastrophe,” she says.

While at university, Bray penned a “farcical play about swinging”, which went to Edinburgh, and had such a good time doing it, she realised she wanted to write. Bray moved to London, performed stand­up and worked at Fremantle for three years. She took a comedy writing course at the National Film and Television School, then quit her day job to write, tutoring Spanish and working as a barista to pay the bills.

Bray has been part of writers’ rooms for Netflix and Sky, was one of seven people selected for Chris Chibnall’s Next Generation Showrunner Programme, and one of 12 writers picked by BBC Studios TalentWorks for its The Writer Spotlight scheme.

She has penned episodes of upcoming Roughcut/BBC Two comedy drama We Might Regret This and Stephen Merchant’s Big Talk/BBC series The Outlaws, is working with an Oscar-winning actress on a comedy series, and has another pilot about to go out, about a girl who fakes her own death to seek attention. In addition, Bray has written and directed several shorts.

“I never want to stay still,” she says. “I feel very lucky and am aware I need to have lots of irons in lots of fires, so I’m not resting on my laurels. I do have shows that aren’t just about breakups.”

James Watson - Producer

Producer James Watson made quite the budgetary leap with their second feature, UK queer drama Sebastian, reteaming with Finland-born writer/director Mikko Makela following 2017’s A Moment In The Reeds.


James Watson


The pair shot their first film mostly in a single location — in a rustic dwelling by a lake in Finland — on a micro-budget of $38,000 (£30,000). For Sebastian, which had backers including BFI, Watson and Makela were working with $3.2m (£2.5m).

Sebastian stars Ruaridh Mollica (2022 BIFA-winning short Too Rough) as aspiring writer Max, who channels his own queer sex-worker experiences — working under the name Sebastian — into his debut novel. The film launched at Sundance in January and will be released in the US by Kino Lorber in August; a UK deal is lined up but unannounced at press time.

Despite the support of an impressive roster of executive producers (including Good Chaos’s Mike Goodridge) and co-producers (including Finland’s Helsinki-filmi and Scotland’s Barry Crerar) on Sebastian, Watson — as sole producer and a self-starter — felt the pressure to step up, taking National Film and Television School courses for line producer and production manager. “I didn’t want to be the person who didn’t know something on set,” they explain.

Watson and Makela connected through a film society at the University of Nottingham. The pair’s joint company Bêtes Sauvages aims to continue making “outsider narratives” involving “people who are at odds with society in some way, who tend to be underrepresented or marginalised groups”, says Watson. From a dual-heritage background — with a white father and Punjabi mother — the producer is interested in both “diaspora stories” and “queer stories”.

Upcoming is Amrit from writer/director Rory D Bentley, in late development with the BFI and out to casting. Makela is directing Spiral, “about a Finnish dancer who comes to London and becomes embroiled in the city’s nightlife underground”, and TV project Bolla, based on the award-winning book by Pajtim Statovci. Watson is also in talks to become the UK minority co-producer on a film lead-produced by Sebastian co-producer Dries Phlypo, set in Flanders.

Watson — recipient of a BFI Vision Award in 2020 — intends to continue making films with Makela, “not least because we’ve got the production company together”, and cites Killer Films’ Christine Vachon — known for her sustained working relationships with filmmakers such as Todd Haynes — as an inspiration.

“She’s probably the most prolific queer filmmaker ever, outside of Fassbinder, but she’s not usually spoken of in those terms because she’s a producer.”

All of this year’s UK & Ireland Stars of Tomorrow will be celebrated in a special event in London on 4th July. 


Watch: Introducing Screen’s 2024 Stars of Tomorrow

The National Film and Television School is incredibly proud to see talent nurtured at the School consistently selected for this prestigious list. We look forward to celebrating the future accomplishments of our 2024 stars!

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