Bradford’s innovative FilmMakers25 mentor network returns for a third season this autumn, funded as before by Bradford Council and ScreenSkills and this time with Channel 4 as a co-funder.
The programme is designed to connect 25 Bradford-based content creators of all kinds with film and TV industry experts who can help them develop their career journeys, build contacts and secure paid work. This year, along with mentees who are already working in the world of film/TV and digital media or who are leaving college or university, FilmMakers25 is also looking for returners to the industry and those who may be coming to media careers at a later stage in their lives.
A free-to-use screen hub called The Unit is now open and will shortly transfer to Keighley Creative from the city centre, to ensure good access for everyone. The Unit is a place where content creators can work, share and learn from one another – and also get their hands on equipment to help them produce films and videos as part of a package of measures to support screen sector growth.
Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, Councillor Sarah Ferriby, said, “We are really committed to offering opportunities to people of all ages and backgrounds to take part in this programme.”
“In 2020 we commissioned a comprehensive screen sector development strategy, As Seen On Screen, to boost the number of people working in film, TV and digital production locally. All we require from our mentees is some relevant experience, a willingness to learn and the ability to work hard to achieve their objectives.”
Council leader Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe said, “We have a rich and diverse film and TV heritage and Bradford is a UNESCO City of Film, we believe the opportunities to develop local screen skills and help raise the district’s profile are greater than ever.”
“The screen sector is growing rapidly across the UK and we’re determined that our talented filmmakers and content creators in Bradford, Keighley and the wider district get the opportunity to benefit from that growth.”
The programme is headed up by Ruth Pitt, MD of Yorkshire-based media consultancy Under The Moon, who developed Bradford’s As Seen On Screen strategy and is advising the council on screen sector policy. Under The Moon provides strategic support for the screen sector outside London and the company runs a number of creative mentor networks, festivals and events to help grow the industry across the UK.
“We know from experience that matching mentees with industry leaders is productive for both parties,” says Ruth. “Mentees gain a better understanding of commercial content production and distribution and mentors get to meet talented people from diverse backgrounds who’ve got something fresh to say. Mentoring is a brilliant way to level the playing field of access to the screen industries.”
Many previous FilmMakers25 participants have been building their screen careers since joining the programme. Jordon Scott Kennedy, who is now helping run The Unit, is one of a number of mentees who have secured funding from the Channel 4 Short Form Content Fund. “Filmmakers 25 was a game-changer for me and was instrumental in developing my confidence to pursue career and funding opportunities. Their guidance and mentoring helped me gain employment at The Unit as well as receiving Channel 4 funding for my short film ‘Youthless’. I would highly recommend this scheme to any emerging or returning filmmaker.”
Applications for this opportunity close on 31 August 2022