ScreenSkills and S.O.U.L Fest launch mentoring scheme

Producer, director and writer Steve Kelly (right) mentored senior producer and director Abdullai Adejumo (left) in a previous mentoring programme

ScreenSkills has partnered with S.O.U.L Fest to launch a new mentoring initiative aimed at tackling the under-representation of black producers in film production. The initiative is supported using National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI as part of the Future Film Skills programme.

ScreenSkills Pro-Create Mentoring Programme will offer mentoring support to up to 50 up-and-coming producers. Mentees will be able to improve their knowledge of accessing finance, sales and distribution and will be given greater insight into the business side of releasing a film.

Applications for the programme open on Wednesday 13 January and close on Friday 29 January. Successful applicants will start the programme on 8 February.

The year-long mentoring initiative will sit within the educational strand of S.O.U.L Fest, which works to share the talent and storytelling of black filmmakers with an aim of removing barriers they face.

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.”

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