ScreenSkills and S.O.U.L. Fest have announced a new programme initiative PRO-CREATE to source and develop a new generation of Black British film producers. The programme will launch on 8 February and is supported by ScreenSkills using National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI as part of the Future Film Skills programme.
PRO-CREATE aims to tackle the underrepresentation of Black producers across the film sphere, an ongoing and pressing issue for the industry. Through professional expertise, successful applicants will gain increased confidence, enhanced knowledge and assured autonomy in accessing finance, sales and distribution as well as key insights to the lifecycle of the business side of releasing a film. Addressing this at a grassroots level, the initiative hopes to be more impactful in equipping aspiring producers with a foundation of skills, knowledge and network to progress in their careers.
PRO-CREATE will be a year-long mentoring programme that sits within the educational strand for S.O.U.L. Fest 2021, an annual celebration of Black British talent, showcasing new shorts and features that give audiences the opportunity to see a diverse representation of Black Britain.
Partnering with ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK’s screen industries, the intention is the cohort of 50 mentees will come through fully equipped and fit-for-purpose to transition from short film to their first feature or High End TV (HETV) production, which may include starting up their own production companies.
Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills CEO, said: “We know that mentoring can be critical in building confidence and resilience and extending professional networks, all of which are crucial assets for producers. We are really pleased to be supporting the S.O.U.L. Fest to deliver this practical programme for aspiring black film producers and look forward to seeing the impact of this initiative in years to come – in a more inclusive industry telling a greater diversity of stories that are recognised by the awards ceremonies of the future.”
Iyare Igiehon, S.O.U.L. Fest Director and BBC Creative Diversity Partner, added: “In our experience, producers are often the instigators, the catalyst, the force that brings storytelling teams together. We believe that encouraging and supporting diverse producers will naturally result in an uptick in authentic content and diverse stories. That’s why we are doing what we are doing. The S.O.U.L. Fest team has worked really hard with talent to devise a programme that focuses on the next generation of producers and we are pleased to have the support of ScreenSkills in making this happen.”
Applications for the scheme open on Wednesday 13, January 2021 and close on Friday 29, January 2021. More information about the programme can be found here: https://www.soulfilmfest.co.uk/pro-create