Andrew Haigh cut his teeth in the editing suite, on such mainstream hits as Gladiator and Notting Hill, but his own shorts display a much more indie sensibility. His debut, Oil, employs fast cutting and voiceover to create a poetic and poignant portrait of a man reminiscing over his departed lover. Cahuenga Blvd and Markings, both shot in California during a year Haigh studied at a Los Angeles film school, are atmospheric portraits of misfits and loners.

This year, he moved from self-funding to working with real money on Five Miles Out, about a young girl sent from home while her sister dies of anorexia, which was made under the Ukfc's Cinema Extreme umbrella and is now in post-production.

Haigh has also been shooting a semi-improvised micro-budget feature film over six months about London-based rent boys, while developing two features. "I'm not interested in easy answers or conclusions or an over-emphasis on plot," says Haigh. "It is the slow struggle, the muddle, to get places that interests me."

Contact: ahaig^ (44) 7958 314641


It is no wonder Esther May Campbell's compelling visual style has caught the eye of UK film executives. Her short films - Delilah, Poppy and most recently September, about a man's infatuation with a circus performer - make the most of their modest budgets and have a mesmerising sense of mood and place. But it is not just about the look. As Rebecca Mark-Lawson, managing executive of Lifesize Pictures which runs the UK Film Council's (Ukfc) shorts scheme that part-financed September and Poppy, says: "(Campbell) loves the underdog and she wants to celebrate them through cinematic study. She's passionate about her characters and that comes across in her work."

Three short films for BBC's teen website Slink - one in particular about a young girl coping with the death of her mother - demonstrate that commitment to storytelling. This self-taught film-maker is now talking to Company Pictures' Robyn Slovo about a feature project, as well as writing the black comedy Gaddibledah with Philippa Goslett (Little Ashes) and developing family drama The Number 9, produced by Met Films with backing from South West Screen.

Contact: Casarotto Ramsay, (44) 20 7287 4450


After a decade in television in which she proved herself to be one of the UK's brightest comedians - her witty interviews with well-known public figures have become TV classics, while her investigations into US subculture showed her playful, self-deprecating sense of humour - Daisy Donovan is now embarking on a career in screenwriting.

The move happened by accident rather than design, after Working Title approached her last year to work on the script of Nick Moore's teen comedy Wild Child starring Emma Roberts, which rolls out in August. Donovan's contribution led Working Title development executive Rachael Prior to call her "the best emerging female comedy writer for film in years". She is now writing another comedy for Working Title, as well as developing a film set in northern England for Warp X.

"My television work was very high energy so just writing and researching feels like a luxury," Donovan says. "Comedy is my area but I'm interested in satirical comedy which has emotion."

Contact: Independent, (44) 20 7636 6565


Tom Marshall has not let money - or lack of it - get in the way of making films. Twenty one years old and just out of Teesside University, he has been making films since he was 17. Two, shot for less than $1,000 (£500), have got him noticed. Daddy's Girl (2006), co-directed by Matt Rozdoba-Hallows, is a partly improvised story about a man's spiral into despair. And bigboy_74 is a funny tale of a suicidal man who, on a desolate hillside, has an unexpected and violent introduction to the kinkier side of internet dating. Smartly written and crisply put together, the film showcases Marshall's wit, talent at editing comedy and ability to draw engaging performances from his actors. Marshall won the BBC New Talent Award at last year's Encounters festival and Hat Trick Productions has optioned a series based on the short. He has finished two more shorts, one about a boy with an invisible friend and a two-minute horror about a murderous satnav. "I want to move between genres," he says. "There's nothing better than watching an audience respond to something I've made."

Contact: (44) 7846 826033


With a background at Intermedia Film & Video in Nottingham, where she produced short documentaries for Carlton TV as well as shorts for the Ukfc's digital strand, Laura Rees has just graduated from the Nfts' producing course. She is now developing a slate of features which reflect her wide-ranging taste and eye for emerging talent. They include Jane Rogoyska's dark drama Ward Six for Parallax East, which has Timothy Spall and Phil Davis attached; an adaptation of Russell Hoban's romantic novel Amaryllis Night And Day, which the Ukfc has development financed; a comedy set in an Irish TV station by writer Vega Powell; Brian Welsh's Kin about a man with learning difficulties, now in post-production; a thriller about a Ministry of Defence cover-up; and a project with Nfts animation graduate Chris Gooch, whose film Mummy's Boy she produced. "Laura is a dynamic young producer, full of enthusiasm," says Karin Bamborough, head of producing at the Nfts. "We expect to see more imaginative and exciting films from her in the near future."

Contact: (44) 7968 333261 lauraree^


Having cut her teeth directing video games and commercials, China Moo-Young is now ready to graduate to feature films. Her debut short, Liar, was a tightly constructed exercise on deception starring Glenn Doherty. Her follow-up Juvenile, made for the Ukfc and shown this year at Sundance and Berlin, is an affectionate portrait of a hopeless single father (Doherty again, who wrote the screenplay) and his teenage daughter.

Her most ambitious film so far is Emo for Channel 4, a nuanced tale about a man coping with the aftermath of a breakdown which sucks in the audience with its tight focus on the performances. Next up are two shorts: The Devil's Play, about a preacher and a high-class prostitute, and a six-minute period comedy. She is also in discussions to option a cult novel set in the 1960s London porn world.

"I want to avoid being pigeonholed," she says. "The most important thing is that the story and characters are compelling."

Contact: Curtis Brown, (44) 7393 4400.