Meet our RISE Producer Programme cohort!

Meet our RISE Producer Programme cohort!

The BFI Doc Society Rise Producer Programme (RISE) will offer sustained producer guidance and training for 6 UK based producers, aimed at breaking down socio-economic barriers of access and sustainability for emerging first time feature documentary producers.

From 70+ applications we selected the following cohort, who will benefit from flexible modes of guidance centred around tailored advisories, group discussions, and attendance at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

We are excited to work with these excellent emerging producers and look forward to seeing the impact of the programme on their career.

If you want to get in touch with any of the producers, please email

Conal Clapper

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Conal has always been fascinated by two of our shortest questions: 'Why?' and 'How?'. These questions have led him on a somewhat meandering but always enlightening journey, beginning with a degree in Film & Theatre from Queen’s University Belfast. He has worked across fictional and factual film & television, on projects including Four Seasons in a Day (2021, OffWorld) and Blue Lights (2023/24, Two Cities Television). As a producer, he is determined to bring unique voices and stories to international audiences, and to continue pondering those two short questions. He is currently producing a short documentary in association with the New York Times, Elemental Shorts and Nightstaff.

Fern Scott

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Fern is a Bristol based producer/director motivated by stories which explore the impact of shame - especially where this intersects with stories about women, class and money. She aims to create films that encourage us to build towards a more considerate future. Her films have been viral successes, exhibited internationally at BAFTA qualifying festivals, and selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick. She was selected for Encounters Widening the Lens programme, as a finalist in Netflix’s Britain’s Not Boring documentary competition and most recently long-listed for the Primetime Empower fund. She is a member of BAFTA Connect, and is developing her first slate of feature films.

Leo Nelki Gopfert

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Leo is a Merseyside-based documentary producer and director. He produced the 2022 short film Mulika (Sundance, Locarno, Clermont-Ferrand) directed by Maisha Maene. He is now developing a slate of documentary projects, including Maisha Maene's feature documentary Spaceman in Kongo - selected for Berlinale Doc Station 2024.
Leo is directing his feature debut, a documentary hybrid titled Sunday in Japan (produced by Moon Road Media and Elda Productions, funded by Creative Europe and Docs Up Fund).

Nadja Lapcevic

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Nadja is an independent producer from Serbia. She graduated in Film and TV Production from The Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. Awarded an Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, Nadja graduated in 2021 from the Kino Eyes Movie Masters. She is a LiM | Less is More, MIDPOINT Series Launch, and IDFAcademy alumna. She produced a short documentary Mother’s Milk which had its world premiere at Dok Leipzig and was nominated for the Silver Eye Award. In 2021, Nadja founded Varda Pictures, a production company based in Scotland and Serbia, through which she is working on a slate of projects. As a freelancer, she works for established production companies in Scotland.

Nadja's participation in the RISE programme is generously supported by Scottish Documentary Institute.

Shaun Rakesh Rhodes

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Shaun is an accomplished independent filmmaker experienced in producing commercials, short films, and feature films. His work has been recognised as finalists for Best British Film at Iris Prize and featured at international festivals. Furthermore he produced short documentaries for platforms like Netflix.
He served as the production manager for the acclaimed feature film Raging Grace, winning Best Film and Best Debut at SXSW 2023. His expertise extends to line production for documentaries worldwide, reflecting his versatility and commitment to quality content. As a BAFTA Connect member, Shaun has participated in industry events like the BFI Creative Producer Lab in 2023 and the BFI Weekender in 2020, showcasing his dedication to professional growth.
Currently, he’s focused on developing a diverse slate of narrative and non-fiction projects, highlighting his passion for storytelling across genres.

Tolu Stedford

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Tolu Stedford has over 20 years of industry experience and has produced, written and associate director credits encompassing television, film, and stage. As the former CEO of the Independent Film Trust, she has supported and developed BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated talent and projects created by marginalised creatives. Tolu is a co-founder of Compound Productions, a dynamic film, TV, and immersive media production company and consultancy with a particular emphasis on sharing the untold stories of the global majority that resonate globally. It has several projects in commissioned development.
She recently completed her debut documentary, The Medallion, commissioned by BFI Doc Society. This compelling documentary has noteworthy official selections and has been acquired by the renowned The New Yorker magazine (Conde Nast Entertainment) for worldwide distribution. She also pioneered the Creative Corridor programme sponsored by SONY Entertainment Television, developing international co-pro-opportunities for BGM writers from the US and UK.