Course Tutors

Merle Nygate

Script Editor

Merle Nygate is a screenwriting lecturer, writer and script editor. She recently script edited Blast Films’ The Queen for Channel 4 and Sky TV’s adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s third novel in the series: Going Postal.

Previously she assessed, sitcom, comedy drama series and full-length features for BBC Comedy Commissioning for six years. During that time, she script edited, BAFTA winner A Very British Sex Scandal for Blast; Blackbeard, a major factual drama for Dangerous Films transmitted on BBC1, wrote another two-hour factual drama about William the Marshal, a medieval knight for Pro-Sieben and a further factual drama for the Smithsonian Channel. 

In addition, she lectured at the University of Surrey, London Film Academy and trained film development executives. She has previous commissions for writing original sitcoms from Carlton, Yorkshire, Channel 4 and Granada (Dark Ages) as well being a writer/producer on BAFTA nominated interactive movie, Running Time.

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Aisling Walsh


Aisling is a graduate of The National Film and Television School, Beaconsfield, England. She has written and directed feature and television films as well as directing a number of highly acclaimed television series. Her television credits include; Damage – which she wrote and directed and was nominated for Prix Europa in 2007, Fingersmith – which was nominated for both a Bafta and Royal Television Society Award in 2005, The multi award winning 2002 television film – Sinners, Trial and Retribution and Doctor Finlay for which she won a Bafta Award in 1992.  

Her film credits include; the multi award winning Song For A Raggy Boy which she wrote and directed, Joyriders – for which she won the Irish Tribune Arts Award and Invisible State – Ireland’s segment for the European Film Ominbus in 2004. Recently she completed filming The Daisy Chain a psychological drama starring oscar nominee Samantha Morton, due for release in Autumn 2008.

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Richard Kwietniowski

Writer-Director and LFS 6th Term Tutor

Writer-director, born in London to Anglo-Polish parents. After studying literature then film at University of Kent at Canterbury, became Visiting Research Scholar in Film at University of California at Berkeley before returning to the UK to work in the independent film sector and higher education. Short films including Alfalfa and Flames of Passion were distributed internationally. Work as a director for British TV received Royal Television Society and D&AD (Gold and Best of Year) awards and a Prix Italia nomination. Feature-films Love and Death on Long Island (John Hurt and Jason Priestley), and Owning Mahowny (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Minnie Driver) both made Best of Year critics’ lists. Awards include prizes from Cannes Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, New York Film Critics Circle, US National Board of Review, and BAFTA. He teaches directing, screenwriting and acting-to-camera at a range of institutions in the UK and beyond, and has contributed to many European initiatives in feature film development. His LFS directing workshop for film students and actors has just celebrated its 300th edition. His name is easier to pronounce than it looks: Kfee-etnee- ov-skee.

Sue Austen

Producer and LFS 6th term Tutor

Sue has worked in independent film and television production since 1982.  Her career began at the now legendary Goldcrest Films, where she worked for four years on programmes produced for the new Channel 4. After Goldcrest’s collapse Sue spent a short time as a freelance script editor, before joining Granada Films as Head of Development.  Whilst there she worked on a number of feature films including David Hare’s STRAPLESS and Aisling Walsh’s first feature, JOYRIDERS.  Sue left Granada to co-produce the medical thriller, PAPER MASK, co-funded by Film 4 and British Screen, released in over 70 territories and selected as the closing film in Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 1990. 

Sue then spent 5 years working at the European Script Fund, part of the MEDIA (Creative Europe) organisation and returned to production in 1997 with her first television film, VICIOUS CIRCLE, developed and produced for BBC Films and Irish Screen. This was followed by the BAFTA nominated comedy drama DONOVAN QUICK starring Colin Firth. Over the next twelve years she produced more than 50 hours of primetime television drama for BBC1, BBC2 and ITV and received a second BAFTA nomination.

She continues to develop new productions as well as tutoring and lecturing part time at the London Film School, Goldsmiths University, Serial Eyes and Regents University.

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Mike Leigh

Writer/Director, Chair of LFS

Writer-director Mike Leigh trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Camberwell and Central Art Schools in London, and at the London Film School, of which he is now the Chairman.

His first feature film was Bleak Moments (1971); this was followed by the full-length television films, Hard Labour (1973), Nuts in May (1975), The Kiss of Death (1976), Who's Who (1978), Grown-Ups (1980), Home Sweet Home (1982), Meantime (1983), and Four Days In July (1984).

Other feature films are High Hopes (1988), Life Is Sweet (1990), Naked (1993)), Secrets and Lies (1996), Career Girls (1997), Topsy-Turvy (1999), All Or Nothing (2002), Vera Drake (2004), Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) Another Year (2010) and Mr. Turner (2014).

He has written and directed over twenty stage plays. These include Babies Grow Old (1974), Abigail's Party (1977), Ecstasy (1979), Goose-Pimples (1981), Smelling A Rat (1988), Greek Tragedy (1989), It's A Great Big Shame! (1993), Two Thousand Years (2005) and Grief (2011).

Photographer Eamonn McCabe.

View Mike Leigh on IMDb