The Film Business Academy at Cass Business School, Qwerty Films and Skillset have selected the next 15 participants for its pretigious Inside Pictures initiative, a scheme to support rising producers andexecutives across the UK film industry.l

While Inside Pictures has never been for newcomers, this year's group appears more advanced than in past years - for instance David Shear is already a veteran of The Works and ContentFilmand now serves as head of sales at Revolver, and producer Laura Hastings-Smith already has produced features including Rankin's The Lives Of The Saints and recent Cannes hit, Steve McQueen's Hunger.

There were hundreds of applications received and a committee selected these 15 after interviewing shortlisted candidates.

This year's participants are:

  • Jack Arbuthnott, Development Editor, BBC Films
  • Christopher Billows, Director, International Distribution, Focus Features
  • David Bishop, Head of Acquisitions, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Nicole Carmen-Davis, Producer, Pocket Watch Films
  • Stefan Demetriou, Director of Audiovisual, EMI UK
  • Arvind Ethan David, Producer/CEO, Slingshot
  • Rebekah Gilbertson, Producer, Rainy Day Films
  • Laura Hastings-Smith, Producer, Wayward Films
  • Susie Hock, Director, Business & Legal Affairs, Universal Pictures International
  • Adam Kulick, Partner, Goldcrest
  • Ken Marshall, Producer, Steel Mill Pictures
  • Andrew Reid, Head of Production, Northern Ireland Screen
  • Rachel Robey, Producer, Wellington Films Ltd
  • David Shear, Director of Sales, Revolver Entertainment
  • Gemma Spector, Head of Marketing, Revolver Entertainment

Terry Ilott, Director of the Film Business Academy at Cass, said: 'Whether working in production, sales, distribution, exhibition, finance or professional services, the members of this cohort are among the brightest hopes for the future of our industry. Being selected for Inside Pictures is a privilege sought by many but achieved by only a few.'

Janine Marmot, Skillset's Director of Film, added: 'Skillset are delighted to be supporting Inside Pictures - a really excellent programme which gives the participants unique insight into the film industry and unrivalled access to the top players on both sides of the Atlantic. It is no surprise that this programme attracts exceptional practitioners and exceptional candidates.'

The programme offers three intensive one-week modules in London and Los Angeles from July 2008 to January 2009. Inside Pictures includes talks from industry leaders, seminars, case studies, projects and visits to related businesses.

Other supporters of Inside Pictures include EM Media, Pinewood Studios Group, Screen East and the UK Film Council US Office. Also, scholarship funding has been donated by the Film Distributors Association, Ingenious Media, Revolver Entertainment and Working Title Films.

Speakers include the best and brightest of the UK film industry, including Scion's Jeff Abberley and Julia Blackman, Working Title's Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, Paramount International's Andrew Cripps, Universal's Eddie Cunningham and Christian Grass, DNA's Andrew MacDonald and Allon Reich, producer Finola Dwyer, Film4's Tessa Ross, Pathe's Cameron McCracken, Material's Robert Jones, and HanWay's Tim Haslam.