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Screen diversity programme returns for second year

Applications have opened for Film Forward, a programme designed to improve the diversity of film and television productions.

It’s the second year of the ScreenSkills Film Skills Fund-backed initiative, which aims to develop Black and Asian professionals to make the next step in their careers.

“Diversity behind the camera is just as important as it is in front of it,” said Steve McQueen, Director of films including 12 Years a Slave, Small Axe and Hunger.

“Film Forward is a vital step in the right direction to help improve our industry from within: providing the necessary support that allows a skilled workforce to develop, one that reflects our society.”

It works by matching professionals with at least five years of experience in a variety of behind-the-camera roles with paid placement opportunities. In addition, the candidates are given access to a bursary to assist with expenses needed to enable career progress.

“I’m delighted that we’re ready to recruit a second cohort to the Film Forward programme,” said Emma Turner, ScreenSkills’ Head of Film, Animation and Future Skills.

“It’s a vital initiative – both for the candidates and the wider industry – and its aims of making film production a truly inclusive and representative environment will help improve the sector’s diversity across the UK. The success of the pilot proves how initiatives like this are needed within our industry to help drive forward change.”

 Aamir Riaz was one of a cohort of 14 on the pilot programme. He said: 

“Film Forward gave me more confidence with being on set and getting to learn set etiquette. It also gave me the opportunity to demonstrate I have those skills and abilities and to show people that I knew what I was doing. The thing Film Forward gave me most was an opportunity, an opportunity to meet people, shore up the knowledge I already have and create real in-person connections in the industry.”

[Image: BTS Mogul Mowgli (© Mughal Mowgli Ltd, BBC)

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