Ruth Mitchell

Film4 and Skillset nurture North East talent

Northern Film & Media have teamed up with Film4 and Skillset to offer the most talented North East writers and directors the opportunity to see their ideas realised on the silver screen.

Film4ward will enable the most innovative, bold and audience challenging film makers to take part in a 12 week commercial and creative mentoring programme, which will be led by industry experts Ivana MacKinnon, Kate Leys and Jo McClellan.

Ivana is a producer who worked on Slumdog Millionaire, while script editor Kate Leys is known for her work on classic British films including Four Weddings and Funeral, Trainspotting and The Full Monty. Jo is a development executive at Film4.

During the course of the programme, film makers will receive mentoring advice on developing a treatment, outline and visual materials for a feature package, before presenting their projects to executives at Film4.

Roxy Bramley, creative manager, Northern Film & Media said: “Film4ward has connected the North East’s most exciting new talent with Film4 and provided them with an invaluable structured development programme.

“The new funding from Skillset and continued support of Film4 will enable us to build on the success of the pilot and deliver a unique development opportunity for North East filmmakers.”

The launch of the talent scheme follows the success of last year’s Film4ward pilot, which saw Film4 invest in developing four films by North East writers and directors. Following its success, Film 4 are now working with the filmmakers to develop a diverse slate of film projects.

According to Jo McClellan, the Film4ward project has given Film 4 a focussed introduction to exciting new film-making talent outside of London.

She commented: The development process on Film4ward has been flexible and in tune with the needs of each filmmaker.

“Working with Northern Film & Media, we have been able to build strong relationships with emerging filmmakers ensuring we are exposed to a range of new voices.

Newcastle-based Northern Film and Media have developed a number of film, TV and digital media in conjunction with numerous industry partners, including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Revolver, Kaleidoscope Entertainment, Salt, Soda Pictures, BAFTA and UK Film Council.

It has also invested in a slate of feature films including Song for Marion, The Liability and The Man Inside in partnership with its venture capital partner Northstar Ventures. Alongside this, the company has a slate of micro budget film investments.

Dan Simmons, head of film (acting) at Skillset believes that schemes like Film4ward will help to strengthen the UK film industry’s diverse bedrock of creative talent.

He added: “Developing creative talent across the UK is a big priority for the Skillset film skills strategy A Bigger Future 2.

“Through participating in the Film4ward scheme, emerging writer/directors will receive specialist mentoring and support from two well-respected industry figures that they otherwise might not have easy access to.”

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