The Sean Connery Talent Lab Announces First Participants Under The Leadership Of Chris Young, Alongside A New Collaboration With Prime Video

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) and the Sean Connery Foundation are delighted to announce the first intake of 26 emerging filmmakers who will join the prestigious Sean Connery Talent Lab, set to begin later this month in Leith, Edinburgh. In an exciting development, the Talent Lab is also proud to welcome Prime Video as its newest collaborator.

Prime Video’s contribution will form part of Prime Video Pathway, the multifaceted training initiative set up by the streamer to open up access to jobs in the TV and film industry across the UK. This marks the expansion of a successful collaboration between Prime Video and the NFTS, running alongside other positive initiatives delivered by the two organisations, such as the Prime Video Craft Academy.


collage of participants of the sean connery talent lab


With the Sean Connery Talent Lab, Prime Video will join a wide range of industry organisations, trusts and foundations dedicated to working with the NFTS to foster the next generation of creative talent.

Under the seasoned leadership of renowned Scottish film producer Chris Young, the Sean Connery Talent Lab, named in honour of the legendary Scottish actor and supported by the Sean Connery Foundation, will embark on its mission to discover and nurture a new wave of filmmaking luminaries. Chris Young, whose legacy includes founding the award-winning Young Films, brings invaluable experience and vision to the Talent Lab, with a career spanning critically acclaimed and award-winning film and television productions including The Inbetweeners.

Following an extensive search for the most promising ‘on the rise’ creative talent across Scotland and the UK, the final 26 participants were selected from hundreds of applicants, with each showcasing a diverse range of skills across writing, directing, producing, cinematography and editing disciplines.

Introducing the Sean Connery Talent Lab Participants
  • Alex Salam
  • Cat MacLeod & Lana Pheutan
  • Josefa Celestin
  • Mairead Hamilton
  • Miranda Stern
  • Ryan Pollock

“To get the chance to bring my short film to life with the support of the Sean Connery Talent Lab is mind-bogglingly thrilling. I hope to come away from the experience a stronger storyteller with a few more industry connections and to have found like-minded creatives with whom I will continue to collaborate long into the future.”

Writer/Director Mairead Hamilton

  • Carys Evans
  • Isabella Bassett 
  • Katie Mallinder 
  • Katriona Tweedie
  • Kitty McMurdo-Schad
  • Saffia SagE
  • Steven Jeram

“It feels like a full circle moment to have such an icon of Scottish history – Sir Sean Connery – leaving a legacy that I am now a part of. I can’t wait to see how this bolsters Scottish talent and look forward to working with the rest of the cohort on what will undoubtedly be a strong selection of films!”

Producer Kitty McMurdo-Schad

  • Alyson Thompson
  • Fiann McLeod 
  • Iona Ward 
  • Matt Mead 
  • Simon Williamson 
  • Vasileios Kapnis

"I believe the Sean Connery Talent Lab will accelerate my career as a cinematographer. The opportunity to train on state-of-the-art equipment, collaborate with other up-and-coming filmmakers, and shoot a short film in gorgeous Scotland will be the catalyst I need to propel myself to a more professional level. This experience will mark a major turning point for me.”

Cinematographer Alyson Thompson

  • CJ Lazaretti
  • Fraser Ballantyne 
  • Jonathan Ley
  • Lu Kemp
  • Roddy McDonald
  • Sam J Thomson

“I am thrilled to be part of a new cohort, and to collaborate with my colleagues to produce an ambitious body of new work which I hope will magnify the energy and force of Scottish film talent.”

Editor Lu Kemp


The Sean Connery Talent Lab offers a rich curriculum, designed to challenge and inspire these emerging filmmakers. Through hands-on training, mentorship by industry professionals, and collaborative projects, participants will develop their skills, culminating in the creation of six short films, working to a budget of £25,000 per project.

With the support of Prime Video and inaugural supporters BBC Film, the Dana and Albert Broccoli Foundation, FirstStage Studios, Blazing Griffin, DNA Films, Hartswood Films, Juniper Trust, LS Productions, the Rank Foundation and Synchronicity Films, the projects are set to serve as significant calling cards for the participants, showcasing their talents at film festivals and industry events worldwide.

The Sean Connery Talent Lab is noteworthy for its accessibility, with the Sean Connery Foundation generously underwriting 70% of the fees for each participant. This initiative highlights the commitment of the NFTS and its umbrella of partners, supporters and collaborators to making world leading training accessible to a broad array of aspiring filmmakers.

Jon Wardle, Director of the NFTS commented: “We are thrilled to welcome Prime Video to the Sean Connery Talent Lab. Under the leadership of Chris Young, the Lab embodies our shared commitment to nurturing emerging talent across the UK. We are excited to explore the innovative perspectives and contributions these filmmakers will make to the industry, both within Scotland and on the international stage."

Chris Young, Head of the Sean Connery Talent Lab shared his enthusiasm, saying: "The addition of Prime Video as our newest collaborator highlights the broad industry support for the Sean Connery Talent Lab. Their involvement, along with our other partners and supporters, underscores a collective commitment to fostering a new generation of filmmakers. I am beyond excited to embark on this journey with our newly selected participants. Together, we're not just kicking off a new programme; we're launching careers and redefining what's possible for filmmakers across Scotland and the UK.”

Stephane Connery, Chair of the Sean Connery Foundation said: “We are so pleased that Prime Video has joined the extraordinary cohort of committed organisations supporting the Sean Connery Talent Lab to ready the next generation of new filmmaking talent. In establishing the Lab, we hope not only to honour Sir Sean’s Scottish roots, but also to contribute to increasing the scale and ambition of Scotland as a pivotal destination for film and TV production and creating more opportunities for local employment both above and below the line.”

Jason Connery, Ambassador for the Sean Connery Foundation added: “Scotland's rich heritage, versatile landscapes and dynamic talent have long contributed to its cinematic success, paving the way for ground-breaking storytelling. We are so looking forward to getting to know this talented cohort of filmmakers and are excited to see the films they create together over the course of the next year.”

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