Stars of Tomorrow backed by ScreenSkills

Professionals whose careers have been supported by ScreenSkills training are today named on Screen's list of ones to watch.

The Stars of Tomorrow today unveiled by Screen International include a string of people supported by ScreenSkills – from former Trainee Finder trainee Claire Anne Williams to producer Chi Thai who has been backed by bursaries at key points of her career.

ScreenSkills is a proud supporter of the Stars of Tomorrow initiative because it is an opportunity to spotlight how training enables screen professionals to fulfil their potential and keep doing what they do brilliantly, ensuring the UK remains a great place to make film and television – shining a light on heads of department alongside actors, writers, producers and directors.

Many of this year’s Stars of Tomorrow have taken the ScreenSkills coronavirus awareness e-learning or the unconscious bias training developed as part of a suite of resources aimed at helping make the industry more inclusive and a better place to work.

Other interventions are more intensive. Claire Anne Williams (pictured) joined the ScreenSkills year-long Trainee Finder paid placement programme four years ago and has been also supported since with bursaries for further specialist training.

“ScreenSkills helped me into the industry. This world can be quite lonely, especially when you’re starting out, but if I had any questions, you had someone to speak to,” she said.

Sorcha Bacon was backed with a place on iFeatures, the Creative England programme supported by ScreenSkills, which has proved a step change in her career.

“For me as a filmmaker, all the things that have been instrumental to my career have been these development labs,” she said.  She is also a firm fan of the ScreenSkills unconscious bias training, developed with BIFA, and recommends it to all her colleagues. “I think it should be mandatory for everyone. It was brilliant.”

London-based producer Chi Thai, who grew up in the Midlands after arriving in the UK as a Vietnamese refugee, has received a number of bursaries from ScreenSkills for training including investor pitching, business development and documentary filmmaking.

“I didn’t have any background in the film industry growing up. ScreenSkills is part of a wider ecosystem that has given me access to things that I didn’t have access to,” she said. ” I'm a self-confessed scheme queen - a lot of my career has been forged through ScreenSkills-supported labs, programmes and bursaries. They’ve been vital building blocks to my career.”

She is currently producing her first feature, Raging Grace, written and directed by Paris Zarcilla. “It would have been even harder to reach this breakthrough point without the support I’ve had from ScreenSkills over the years,” she said.

Gareth Ellis-Unwin, ScreenSkills’ head of film and animation, thanks productions that contribute to the ScreenSkills Skills Funds and the BFI, awarding National Lottery funds as to deliver its Future Film Skills strategy, who have made vital training to support talent possible.

He said: “Stars of Tomorrow celebrates talent, but talent can be nurtured and isn’t just inborn. ScreenSkills will continue to work with our industry partners to create opportunities for people from all backgrounds to get in and develop their screen careers. We congratulate the Stars of Tomorrow and look forward to helping build the next cohort.”

Screen International editor Matt Mueller said: “Congratulations to all of our 2021 Stars of Tomorrow, who really are an incredibly talented and exciting group of actors, writers, directors, producers and heads of department. I’m thrilled that we will be able to celebrate with them in person this year while also introducing them through a virtual event, and I’m also delighted that we can invite our 2020 Stars to celebrate in person with us.”

ScreenSkills is able to deliver training to support the industry thanks to contributions from productions to our skills funds (in film, high-end TV, children's TV, unscripted TV and animation) as well as from the BFI, awarding National Lottery funds as part of its Future Film Skills strategy.

For more details on the 2021 UK and Ireland Stars of Tomorrow, go to Screendaily

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