The EIFF Ideas Lab offered a fantastic opportunity for talented UK-based writers and writer/directors to benefit from access to scientific research to help develop ideas and projects.

The idea was to build connections between the worlds of film and science through access to the newest thinking and ideas, and to the scientists and researchers leading their fields.  The selected writers were offered access to some of the most exciting and inspiring research being carried out across the country and had the chance to discuss what it means to be in a world of constant scientific development, and the impact that science has on our lives.

Between October 2018 and June 2019, when the 73rd edition of the film festival took place, writers were invited to attend three events based at high end research labs across the UK where they had the opportunity to develop project ideas with science and humanities researchers.


The confirmed writers are:

Ronan Blaney

Ronan currently has two films due for release in 2018: A Good Woman is Hard to Find, a revenge thriller for February Films directed by Abner Pastoll (Road Games) starring Sarah Bolger (Spiderwick Chroicles) and Don't Go, a chilling horror for Wide Eye Films and the Irish Film Board by director David Gleeson starring Steven Dorff and Melissa George. In 2015, Ronan and Michael Lennox’s short film Boogaloo and Graham won the BAFTA for Best Short Film and was nominated for an Oscar.

Kefi Chadwick

Kefi started her writing career as a playwright, and has worked with the Royal Court Young Writer's Programme, Paines Plough, The Arcola and Nottingham Playhouse. Kefi has adapted her critically acclaimed play Any Means Necessary for Wellington Films. Her shorts include, Girlpower, which won Best Comedy Short at Aesthetica Film Festival 2014 and Sexlife, which was screened at Tribeca in the USA and Encounters in the UK.

Kieran Hurley

Kieran is a writer, performer, and theatre maker based in Glasgow. His Fringe First-winning & critically acclaimed play Heads Up played at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016 and 2017, and toured the UK between February and June 2017 and again in February 2018. Kieran’s debut screenplay is an adaptation of his play Beats co-written with Brian Welsh who also directs. Rosetta Productions Ltd are producing with Steven Soderbergh attached as an executive producer.

Jane Linfoot

Jane is a writer - director from Yorkshire.  Her debut feature The Incident was nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British feature at Edinburgh International Festival in 2015. She was BAFTA nominated for her short film Sea View in 2014 and selected as a Star of Tomorrow by Screen International in 2008.

Simon Lord

Simon’s debut feature Jellyfish had its World Premiere at Tribeca Film Festival in April 2018 and its European Premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival, where stars Liv Hill and Sinéad Matthews won the prestigious Best Performance award. Jellyfish also won the Grand Jury, Critic, Screenplay and inaugural Performance awards at Dinard Film Festival 2018. His second feature Above The Clouds had its World Premiere at Raindance Film Festival 2018 and will have its International Premiere at Austin Film Festival in late October. 

Gillian Roger Park

Gillian is a writer from Ayrshire whose work focuses on women. Since graduating NFTS, she has been working in features and TV with a number of projects at development stage. She was nominated at BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards 2015 for Best Writing, for her short Flotsam, which she wrote and directed.

Matt Redd

Matt’s feature script The Toll, a black comedy thriller developed on Ffilm Cymru Wales’ Cinematic scheme, has been greenlit for production. It will shoot in November 2018, produced by Vaughan Sivell at Western Edge Pictures. Matt is also developing a feature adaptation of the poem The Highwayman with producer Vivien Muller-Rommel at Studio Hamburg UK and a relationship comedy Dating Katie, produced by Kathy Speirs and Andee Ryder.

Wilma Smith

Wilma has been writing and making films for 25 years. Including a number of micro budget feature films, that have won awards and screened internationally including, Black Coffee and My Life as a Bus Stop. She edited and sound designed the viral campaign for Mark Millar’s graphic novel Kickass and in 2016 was commissioned by the Scottish Documentary Institute and Creative Scotland to make a short creative documentary, The Review.

Ideas Lab 2018/2019

EIFF delivered the Ideas Lab with story editor Kate Leys. The programme was supported by Wellcome and EIFF, working in partnership with the Beltane Public Engagement Network who provided links and facilitated access to research at The University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Napier University and Queen Margaret University.

The initial visit of the programme was to the Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridgeshire, home to the Wellcome Sanger Institute and EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute. Leading institutes in genomics and computational biology, they are committed to delivering life-changing science with the reach, scale, and imagination to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges.

Their second visit in April 2019 was the UCL Pathology Collection, in London. Their third and final visit took place during the Edinburgh International Film Festival, where writers had a private tour of the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic and the Edinburgh BioQuarter research facilities. 

Ideas Lab Team Photo
Ideas Lab Participants and organisers at the Wellcome Genome Campus, November 2018


Ideas Lab June 2019
Ideas Lab at the Edinburgh BioQuarter. 21/6/2019 


About the partners

Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We’re a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. We support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations, and spark debate.

The Beltane Public Engagement Network (Beltane) is a network for people interested in making academic research accessible to a wide variety of audiences. Beltane are providing access to the best researchers in the region and facilitating access to behind-the-scenes at the research labs. The Beltane is supported by four Edinburgh universities: the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Napier University and Queen Margaret University.