Hear from our first Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management cohort on being selected for the scheme

Chloe Farrier-Ledden (Bournemouth)

Chloe Farrier-Ledden

I am so excited to be a part of the 2021 cohort. I graduated from university last year and it is safe to say it’s been a weird year since then. We have all been faced with a lot of uncertainties, so to get the news I will be joining such a prestigious scheme is amazing. I am very excited to start learning all about production management, to hear from industry experts and to connect with my fellow cohort and mentor. I am particularly looking forward to putting the learning into practice in the role with the Netflix documentary production that follows.

I have always found factual TV, in particular documentaries, fascinating. Accessing a new world, seeing life from a whole new perspective and learning something meaningful really captivates me. I feel so lucky to be a part of this scheme and to be involved in such an interesting, important and creative industry.


Christopher Donovan (Manchester).

Christopher Donovann

My passion for film and TV goes back to when I was a young child and has continued in my hobbies of photography and filmmaking, so I am thrilled to have been selected for the Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management scheme.

Being invited to be part of this scheme is an amazing opportunity and I am really looking forward to being able to turn the disciplines of my previous jobs and self-taught skills into something I can be proud to be a part of. I cannot wait to meet new like-minded people who share my love of factual television and I am keen to share ideas and experiences with my fellow trainees.

I am hopeful this fantastic opportunity will aid me to propel my career into the direction I have tried for so many years and enable me to gain many valuable insights into this industry.


Emmie Coxey (Manchester).

Emmie Coxey

I have always been passionate about people’s stories. Previously training and then working as a contemporary dancer, I was most inspired when creating work based on real issues and stories. I have been drawn to film my whole adult life and even as a dancer, particularly enjoyed working on dance for camera projects. In recent years, this interest in film has grown further from a passion to a serious career change. I started making films now I want to be at the heart of creating films which make a difference and can change perspectives. This can be as small as challenging a viewer’s perspective, to raising global awareness on issues of monumental and current importance. Being part of a production team on a documentary is a dream come true, I cannot imagine being part of anything more exciting.


Fi Lewis (she/her, London).

Fi Lewis

I'm Fi Lewis (she/her), born and resides in West London. I'm overjoyed on being selected for the inaugural Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management training scheme. Life, like docs, does not often go the way one intends. I've knocked on industry doors for years. It's never too late to reinvent yourself or pursue one's goals yet this opportunity was very much my final pass at forging a PM career within the insightful world of documentaries and factual TV.

I adore storytelling in all forms. I confess to having a love affair (no content harmed!) with both documentary/factual TV and fiction. I'm drawn by good storytelling and the truth/authenticity that can be found in both. I will continue to develop short and long-form fiction projects as an emerging producer (producing alumni EIFF Talent Lab 2019 & producing alumni FILMONOMICS 5 programme (Sept 2017-March 2018) led by Mia Bays, currently a participant on ScreenSkills/S.O.U.L Fest Pro-Create producers programme). With my eclectic tastes, I'm excited to tackle a wide breadth of docs/factual TV on my PM route in order to discover the one(s) I excel in and enjoy. I'm looking forward to utilising my skills, learning and absorbing from those at the top of their craft. I'm ecstatic to begin my documentary and factual TV PM adventure with the support of The Grierson Trust, Netflix, production companies and partners involved. After a traumatic 2020 I'm hopeful that things are finally moving in a meaningful direction within the industry to reflect the world we live in, off and on screen. Individually we can all make a difference. I'm raring to be seated at many inclusive tables, virtually and/or in person. Let the PM journey commence!


Kiriem Bello (Surrey).

Kiriem Bello

It is a great honour and blessing to have been chosen for the inaugural Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management training scheme.

I took a break from a career in accounts and finance nearly six years ago to pursue other interests and find a path that would allow me to build on the skills that I already have whilst being involved in a creative process.

My first step was to complete drama school, then I took another giant leap and decided to make short films with a couple of friends, setting up a production company to facilitate the process. Working on films opened my eyes to the machine that is the back-of-camera operation. I fell in love with the whole process, in particular production management. I love bringing people’s ideas to fruition. It is a joy to be involved in the whole process; working with budgets, sourcing the perfect team, making sure all the components are in place to make a formidable film – both in pre-production and post-production and working with people who want to achieve the same end goal as I do.

Now that my children are getting older, I yearn to build a career in production management. Being accepted onto the Grierson DocLab scheme is a dream come true, especially as it focuses on a genre I love and have grown up with; ‘Factual Film’. It has come at the perfect time. Being an older career-changer has been extremely daunting at times, particularly the thought of starting again. This initiative feels like anything but starting again. Everything I have learnt so far has been self-taught, so this is an opportunity to gain knowledge from industry professionals whilst transferring the valuable skills I have gained from managing accounting departments, owning a small production company and running a household of seven.

I can’t wait to get started as I am one step closer building a career in production management. Thank you to everyone involved in this incredible scheme.


Kristen Helmick (Beckenham).

Kristen Helmick

Whether it be Don’t F**k With Cats, The Undateables, or literally any David Attenborough documentary, I am always consuming factual television and am passionate about constantly learning and improving my knowledge. I have always loved documentaries, especially those that can make a real impact to the way we think and behave, so I am really excited about the prospect of being able to advocate this from behind the scenes. With everything going on in the world at the moment, I think it is so important that informative and constructive media is created.

I studied English Literature at the University of Warwick where my passion for entertainment and content was really enhanced, both through the studying of film alongside my course, and through my joining of multiple media-related societies.

I graduated in 2018 and have since felt that my dream to work in the industry was nothing more than just that, so I feel incredibly fortunate and privileged to have been accepted on to the scheme. I was surprised I even got an interview, let alone a place! I am really looking forward to working with industry experts, meeting like-minded people, and getting exposure to an industry I am really passionate about. I cannot wait to get started.

Phoebe Thomas (Cardiff).

Phoebe Thomas

After a year of pandemic-related upheaval I could not be more excited to take part in the first Production Management training scheme with Grierson DocLab. The past twelve months have made me appreciate documentaries more than ever and the important role that they play as a source of joy and learning, looking at what’s going on in society and contemporary issues. I’ve always had an interest in the format but never considered it as a viable path to pursue as a career. This was until I learned about the Production Manager role where I can take forward my past experience working in a busy communications agency.

Securing a place on the scheme in a highly competitive industry has reaffirmed my belief that if you are passionate enough about something then you should pursue it regardless of background. Diversity of thought and life experiences is what makes brilliant programmes. The opportunity to work in an industry where ideas are the main currency and to help bring them to fruition on-screen in the future is incredibly exciting. I look forward to meeting the other trainees with a passion for the field.


Tommy-Joe Brown (Maidstone).

Tommy-Joe Brown

I feel extremely honoured to be accepted into The Grierson Trust's inaugural Production Management scheme. I'm a recent graduate from the University of Kent where I studied Film. I've had my first couple of runners roles, where I've been able to get a glimpse of the production office and am looking to make the step up in my career. Whilst studying, there was such a focus on the more creative, editorial roles in the industry. Where my natural interests lie more with spreadsheets, organisation and logistics; I was thrilled to learn there was a huge need for roles in production, and that they're vitally important to the success of a show.

Factual content, something that has a direct link to the world we live and breathe, appeals so much to me because you're always learning whatever you're watching - from reality TV, to factual entertainment, to documentaries. They are a reflection of who we are and gives the opportunity for everyone to tell their story. To be a part of this trainee programme, where I get to combine my passion in management with the content I love, is a huge privilege. I thoroughly look forward to meeting my fellow trainees and I can't wait to learn and kickstart my career in production management.

If you would like to become a mentor to our Production Management trainees, email .




Published: 8 April 2021

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