Drama indie, Rope Ladder Fiction, founded by Sky’s former Head of Drama, Cameron Roach, is in post-production with two short films ‘Osoro’ and ‘Surprise, Baby!’ a direct result of an outreach programme and a trainee scheme, in partnership with Wall to Wall and Screen Manchester.

Rope Ladder launched in 2022 with one of its primary aims being to “support and enable emerging and next generation talent.” is co-producing Waterloo Road alongside Wall to Wall and is currently in funded development with a range of broadcasters and is developing ‘The Twyford Code’ with Janice Hallett, Paul Andrew Williams and Sharon Hughff.

The two short films are ‘Osoro’ and ‘Surprise, Baby!’

‘Osoro’, a co-production with Norto Productions written and directed by Sheila Nortley and produced by Martina Russo explores magical realism “whilst simultaneously delving into the poignant and resonant themes of grief, classism, and mythology” set against a backdrop of black Britain in the early Noughties.

Osoro is being entered into international film festivals, whilst the team focus on feature and series development.

Sheila Nortley says: “I wanted to explore grief – a profoundly otherworldly yet profoundly human experience, in a way that was beautiful and nuanced. ” And on teaming up with Rope Ladder Fiction says: “These partnerships are a dynamic, symbiotic relationship, blending industry resources with gripping stories and new outlooks for mainstream films and TV shows.”

‘Surprise, Baby!’ is a co-production with Northern Fortress Films, written and directed by Zane Igbe and produced by Louisa Rose Mackleston. Diva Rodriguez serves as Executive Producer; Diva recently produced two episodes of Waterloo Road for Rope Ladder Fiction.

The film tells the story of parent-to-be Taye contemplating confiding in their pregnant partner Serena about their own gender identity on the day of their baby shower.  Taye is unsure how to go about this but as the baby shower looms the ticking clock becomes more overwhelming.  He has to tell Serena before it is too late..  Meanwhile Serena finds herself convinced by her assertive mother and baby shower co-host Pam, to turn the event into a gender reveal party.

Zane Igbe, who first worked with Rope Ladder Fiction as a Screen Manchester trainee on Waterloo Road and went on to work as an AD whilst developing their writing and directing work says, “Embarking on the creation of ‘Surprise, Baby’ coincided with my role as a runner trainee at Waterloo Road, where I forged meaningful connections with friends who provided invaluable support throughout the development process. This project has been a profound journey for me, serving as a cathartic outlet as I commenced my medical transition. The narrative’s focus on a trans character’s journey to happiness holds great significance. There’s a pressing need for more authentic trans representation, both in front of and behind the camera, within the industry.”

Cameron Roach adds, ‘At this time, we are in need of more spaces for creative talent to find their voice and explore themes and ideas in an experimental, safe and brave space, away from the immediate pressures of the commercial environment. We aim to be innovative with our development, creating original projects and a unique environment for writers and directors to truly harness their voice and authorship. With ‘Osoro’ and ‘Surprise, Baby!’ we have invested in two highly original projects from two brilliant voices.’

‘Osoro’ and ‘Surprise, Baby!’ will have industry screenings in the coming months as well as being entered for international festivals.

Jon Creamer

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