Sky Mandates ScreenSkills Training for HoD’s and Managers

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Sky has mandated ScreenSkills HETV Leadership and Management training for all heads of production and leaders on its scripted productions.

As part of its updated safeguarding measures, the broadcaster has written to all its major suppliers containing a suite of new policies including the directive on the Leadership and Management training which was developed and is funded by the High-end TV Skills Fund with contributions from industry. The training has been designed for Heads of Department and Managers in high-end TV production, post and VFX to help them to get the best from their teams by helping them address issues such as underperformance, unconscious bias and bullying and bad behaviour.

Other mandatory policies, which apply to all Sky and Sky Studios productions, include requiring all productions to have a trained safeguarding representative; all cast and crew to undertake a ‘respect in the workplace’ training; prominently advertise reporting and support lines on-set and freelancers to fill out anonymous exit questionnaires. Sky is also talking to the new Unscripted TV Skills Fund about rolling out similar leadership and management training in unscripted.

Comment from Sky

The letter, which was issued by Sky UK’s Managing Director of Content, Zai Bennett and Sky Studio’s Chief Content Officer, Jane Millichip, outlined that the new policies were being rolled out in response to recent media stories around allegations of sexual misconduct and other unacceptable behaviour:

“It’s our belief at Sky that we have good and appropriate policies in place on our sets already, […}, but recent events have shown us that we could and should do more. We believe the cast and crew of every production commissioned or produced by Sky and Sky Studios, has the right to work in a safe and supportive environment. Now is the time for us all to take a firm stand and ensure there is no ambiguity whatsoever on the behaviours, culture and levels of professional standards we expect on our productions.”




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ScreenSkills HETV Fund shows Covid Resilience

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Screenskills’ High-End TV (HETV) Fund received £3.3m in industry contributions in 2020/2021, compared with £3.9m the previous year, illustrating a robust bounceback for the production industry despite a hiatus of more than three months last year due to Covid.  The contributions are invested in skills and training, to deliver workforce growth and upskilling in the high-end TV sector in accordance with priorities identified by working groups of industry professionals.

Kaye Elliott, ScreenSkills director of high-end television, said: “It is a testament to the value industry places on the skills and training we provide, that contributions bounced back even though it was a very challenging year. We were able to deliver a relatively successful year of training given the circumstances, which has been much needed as production returned with gusto and production is now at levels not experienced before.”

What the HETV Fund Supports

Investment from the HETV Fund supported 1,881 people with training and career development in the year to March 2021, with a tranche of activity moved rapidly online. This was in addition to 56,000 people in the same period who undertook the online coronavirus basic awareness on production training, designed to support safe working in the context of Covid-19. Training placements resumed only when it was safe and possible to do so.

Nearly 100 individuals were supported to step up to a more senior role or grade through the Make a Move programme as well as grade shortage programmes, including in craft and tech shortage areas and producers, accountants, production managers, line producers, script editors and locations. The Trainee Finder trainee programme worked with 156 trainees, of whom 66% were women, 20% Black, Asian or minority ethnic, 68% from the nations and regions, 21% LGBT and 12% disabled.

Working groups have met in recent weeks to decide investment priorities for the coming year using the contributions from 104 productions in 2020/21 including Bridgerton, Call the Midwife, Death in Paradise, Sex Education, The Pursuit of Love, King Gary and Ted Lasso.




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First Steps into Film and TV Event

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First Steps into Film and TV is a not to be missed one-day event. It will put you in the driving seat so that, by the end of the day, you will feel empowered with the knowledge you need to Switch On Your Potential and go out and find the work that best suits you in Film and TV. This one-day event is designed to demystify how you can build a career in the film and TV industries. This is the place to find out how the film and TV job search really works. It is designed to showcase the wide variety and range of roles for new entrants in film and TV and as such is open to everyone, not just those who have studied media.

First Steps into Film and TV features a curated series of talks and panel discussions backed up with useful industry resources. You’ll hear from industry experts whose role it is to hire for productions – and they’ll let you in on the secrets of what they look for – and how to make that all important first impression. You will also hear from those who have recently embarked on the TV and film journey and how they are building their careers. You will discover their tips and tricks for gaining traction, and the various DOs and DON’Ts that they’ve learned along the way.

If you are looking to gain traction with a career in Film or TV and struggling to get your foot in the door then First Steps into Film and TV is the event for you.

Attend ‘First Steps into Film and TV’

See the full schedule and register your place here.

This event will be recorded and available to ticket holders for a limited period of time following the event.


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Makers & Shakers Awards for Creative Screen Professionals and Facilities

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The makers & shakers Awards is calling for entries from the creative screen industries.

The second annual makers & shakers will once again place a spotlight on innovative and impactful contributions made by production professionals, freelancers, film commissions, government film liaison offices, studios, production services, facilities and support businesses. The deadline for submissions is the 23rd of July. Professionals from the world’s advertising, TV, film, animation and gaming sectors are encouraged to enter.

Entry Categories

This year’s jury of leading international professionals, including some of last years winners is ready to judge entries across the six categories:

To Enter the makers and shakers awards

To be eligible to enter all work must have been completed between the 1st of September 2020 and the 31st of August 2021. You can enter yourself or nominate a colleague for trailblazing work in each of the categories using the online submission form.
The awards shortlist will be revealed in October, with the winners being announced at the awards ceremony on the 9th of December.


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West Midlands Voices To Commission Regional Documentaries

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BBC Three and BBC England are partnering with Create Central to launch West Midlands Voices, a new creative partnership focused on nurturing West Midlands-based talent and creativity. The partnership is inviting independent production companies based in the West Midlands to submit documentary ideas that reflect the life experiences of 13-24-year olds, and will be commissioning two production companies to make a film each.

The scheme aims to celebrate the inclusive spirit of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, focussing on people and stories within the West Midlands in the lead up to the Birmingham Games, with a broad theme of “Making Your Way” in life. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, relationships, family, friendship, money and business, jobs, study, sport, and overcoming hurdles.

Create Central launched its initial programme of activities in July 2020 to help drive forward the growth of the creative content sector.

In March, the BBC announced a new commitment to the Midlands as part of its efforts to better reflect the UK. The plans will see at least one new primetime drama series and one new primetime entertainment series in the region, joining Great British Menu in the Midlands, and The Asian Network will be consolidated in Birmingham and Newsbeat will move to the city – providing news content for Radio 1, Radio 1Xtra and Asian Network. The BBC will also pilot an Apprentice Training Agency in the Midlands.

Word from BBC Three and BBC England

Fiona Campbell, controller, BBC Three, says: “This latest partnership reinforces BBC Three’s commitment to developing better working relationships across the UK to deliver programming that is more representative of the whole of the UK. These incentives are a brilliant breeding ground for creativity and new talent which is positive for the industry and positive for the audience. We’re looking forward to working with BBC England again and excited by what we can achieve with this new partnership with Create Central.”

Aisling O’Connor, head of TV commissioning, BBC England, says: “BBC England TV Commissioning is based in Birmingham and the West Midlands is a key areas of focus for us. We want to grow our existing commissions in the West Midlands and help nurture local talent and companies. We already have a close working relationship with BBC Three and I’m delighted to extend that with this new creative partnership. I also look forward to working with Create Central and finding diverse and rich stories from this vibrant and exciting region of England.’

Apply to West Midlands Voices

Expressions of interest will be accepted from 10 June 2021 – 22 July 2021. A briefing will be held towards the end of June, where BBC and Create Central representatives will talk about the partnership and the creative brief in more detail.
The BBC Three and BBC England team will then shortlist up to six Indies to share further details of their ideas via BBC Pitch, prior to entering into a period of paid development and project scoping. Successful submissions will be notified, and invited to pitch in front of a team of BBC England and BBC Three commissioners in September 2021.

After the pitching session, BBC England and BBC Three teams will select two indies to each produce a documentary film, to be TX’d on both network television and iPlayer in the lead up the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

The full commissioning brief, details on the partnership, how to apply, guidance on pitching, selection criteria and the timeline are available via the BBC Commissioning website.




Coventry Rescue Diver to be played by Viggo Mortensen in Hollywood film

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The heroic rescue of 12 boys in Thailand by a Coventry cave diver is being made into a blockbuster Hollywood movie. Former Coventry firefighter Rick Stanton was a key player in the dramatic rescue back in July 2018 and now the incredible story is being turned into a film and a book. The blockbuster is being directed by Ron Howard and will see the former Green Watch firefighter at Canley fire station played by Lord of the Rings actor Viggo Mortensen.

Working with Viggo Mortensen

Stanton spoke about his excitement about the film to ITN News, in which he revealed that he has been having zoom calls with the actor to help him get into character. Speaking on ITV News, he said: “Right from the very start people were saying ‘this would make a great Hollywood movie’, it pretty much has all of the elements you would need. We signed up to do that and it is now being made. The director is Ron Howard, whose other notable film of a similar style was of course Apollo 13.

“I have got an actor playing me, who I think is an excellent choice, I have been spending the last nine months on Zoom calls with him, training him up to be me. It’s Viggo Mortensen, who plays Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. My companion while in Thailand John is being played by Colin Farrell. So the two of them are the lead players in a major Hollywood movie.”

It is being filmed in Australia and he has travelled there to check out the set.

“That was really fascinating,” he told ITN. “Seeing how a movie is made, seeing the set, seeing the whole process and just being, actually involved in actually altering the script. Training Viggo to be me and, of course, such a quality actor, he can play me as well or better than I can.”

Rick’s Rescue

Rick and John Volanthen were the first divers to reach the group nine days after they went missing in the underground network in northern Thailand. He spoke about the moment they found them: “Of course it was a euphoric moment, that wasn’t the rescue, that was just the start of a massive process to think about how to get them out. It had never been done before , we were really flying blind and we had to make it up on the go, so that was really the challenge and that is why it took a week from when we found them until we started to bring them out.”

It is not the first accolade to have been heaped on the former firefighter, he was also honoured by Coventry City council.




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Birmingham Film Market Connects Filmmakers, Investors and Distributors

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Birmingham Film Market, supported by The Producer’s Forum will launch later this year.

The BFM is a professional, exclusive pitch and networking event designed to facilitate film production and further careers. This marketplace event provides opportunities for Midlands-based filmmakers and investment and distribution bodies to connect and close production deals. Completed films, films in development or production stage, as well as film concepts are all included. The BFM wants to give more stories the chance to be told in their best way possible.

About the event

Birmingham Film Market is scheduled for November 26, 2021 in the iconic ballroom at The Grand Hotel Birmingham. 50 filmmakers/teams will be selected by a panel of international Industry professionals to pitch their projects to leading production companies, sales agents and distribution teams. There are incredible attendees on the day, and an amazing partnership surprise at the exclusive drinks reception later in the evening.

If you are seeking funding or have a film ready for release then this is the event for you!

For more info and submissions, visit


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Coventry Moves Screens Short Films on June 5th

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Coventry Moves starting June 5th is part of the celebration of Coventry’s designation of City of Culture 2022. Highlights include 6 short films to be streamed during the day.

About Coventry Moves

Coventry Moves will start at 8am and is scheduled to run at intervals throughout the day. It is being created for people in Coventry, Warwickshire and across the UK to experience from home – online, on their radio or on their social media feeds.

The city’s past, present and future is highlighted by six Energies played by well-know people from Coventry.

The stories will be told through a series of films throughout the day that will also include the legend of Lady Godiva – a pioneer for activism and social justice whose story is known throughout the world. Fourteen modern day Godivas have been chosen to represent the famous figure after a public nomination process.

When and Where to Watch

You can watch the whole day unfold from your home, online or on your timeline.

The whole event can be viewed at There will be also be live coverage on the BBC News Channel and on BBC CWR and BBC online.

Coventry Moves Schedule – June 5th


Pauline Black, our energy of Sustainability, celebrates our hidden river with a song written specifically for Coventry Moves in a magical moment that starts our journey.


Five Friends,  River Runners, trace the path of the hidden river which runs under Coventry. Exploring through Parkour, BMX Biking and Dance.


An introduction to the city’s long-standing commitment to sustainability and protecting our environment. The story behind the name of Coventry, Cofa’s Tree, will be explored as we look to the future and the impact we can have across the world.


Focusing on the personal stories of individuals and communities who have traveled from across the world to build Coventry.


We meet Navin Kundra, the energy of People Power, as city residents and some well-known faces, bring the streets alive in a whirl of music and dance celebrating our car manufacturing history and the people who made Coventry.


Meet some of the people who inspired the stories of Coventry Moves, with a focus on our theme of Innovation.


The energy of Innovation, Daniel Lismore, guides us as the spokes turn and we’re off again. Coventry created the bicycle and we’ll celebrate the city’s innovation from past, present and future with extravagant custom trikes.


Meet some of the people who inspired the stories of Coventry Moves, focusing on our theme of Resilience, before we meet our energy, Kare Adenegan.


Meet some of the 14 Godivas, who share what being a Godiva means to them.


Meet our energy of Social Justice, Sue Bent, as 14 powerful modern day Godivas arrive at their destination after riding on horseback from across the city. Then River Runners and Pauline Black will help us look to the future. A gift from Coventry’s schoolchildren will appear with an incredible AR experience ready for in person enjoyment over the coming weeks in Coventry.

As the tree starts to pulse, vibrating with energy. The sounds of children’s voices will sound in the canopy above ushering in the future, moving us towards the end of our journey.

Get involved

The day will culminate at 20:21 with Coventry Moves Together with a piece of music composed by Dan Jones. The whole city will form an orchestra – simply by switching on radios or web-based devices and tuning into one of several local or community radio stations taking part.

The track has been split into multiple streams and will come together as a full piece of music when radio stations can be heard at the same time.

So, families, friends and neighbours are being asked to head out to their doorsteps, into their gardens or on their balconies and tune into different streams so that the whole city can hear the full, eight-minute piece.

It is being broadcast via BBC CWR, Hillz FM, Radio Panj, Radio Plus, Vanny Radio, Fresh Radio, Arawak, Block Radio and Radio Abbey to create a world first moment – a city-wide surround sound musical performance.

If you miss it…

The BBC are providing major support for the event, not only with live coverage but also with the creation of a fast turnaround documentary called Curtain Up On Coventry, which will bring the energy of Coventry City of Culture’s signature event into people’s homes.

It’ll be broadcast across the Midlands on BBC One on Monday, June 7, at 7.35pm and nationally on BBC Four at 19.00 on Wednesday 9th June.




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Nominations and Jury Panel for Midlands Movies Awards 2021

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Leicester-based film organisation Midlands Movies has announced the nominations for its annual film awards across 16 hotly-contested categories with the participation of Midlands film legend Shane Meadows. Despite delays owing to the pandemic, Midlands Movies will again be rewarding the region’s movie-making talent across categories such as Picture, Best Actor/Actress, Best Director and many more. Even with the challenges experienced during the year, over 130 completed films were submitted and the awards will be a platform to honour the many amazing local films completed in difficult circumstances. The nominations and the eventual winners have been chosen by an experienced jury panel made up of a wide range of industry experts and are set to be announced at a forthcoming event in Summer.

The Awards Jury Panel

The Midlands Movies Awards 2021 panel is headed up by Shane Meadows (This Is England, Dead Man’s Shoes) who will be deciding the winner of the Best Short category.
It also comprises key industry representatives including Chief Executive of Northampton Filmhouse Jo Gordon, CineQ organizer and BAFTA voting member Rico Johnson-Sinclair, Script Sirens founder and RTS Award-nominee Scarlett Kefford, BFI Talent Executive and Short Cinema festival director Alexzandra Jackson and Midlands Movies editor Michael Sales.
Each year, the Midlands Movies Awards is brought to you by a group of film fans pooling the expertise of volunteers while celebrating the creativity of artists and actors, and a collective passion for the movie community in the region.

About Midlands Movies

Like many arts organisations, Midlands Movies was affected by the pandemic resulting in a 3-month setback to the Awards which previously took place each February. Yet despite 2021’s challenges, the Awards are positively moving forward with the support of the region’s film community and their passion for creative projects. Midlands Movies editor Mike Sales explains, “The last 12 months have been unbelievably difficult for filmmakers and we definitely wanted to ensure we still had a channel to recognize the hard work that’s being undertaken.
Building upon the previous years’ success, we have been lucky to have the backing of even more filmmakers and film fans to keep the awards a special place for everyone. And the feedback from the incredibly diverse and experienced jury panel has been fantastic with each one being incredibly excited to watch all the films involved”.

All Midlands Movies Awards 2021 nominations

The nominations for Best Short Film:
Pennywort by Rebekah Fortune
Judas by Adam Palmer
Swiped by Luke Collins
Trick Shot by Christopher Deans
Stranded by Tenisha White
Safekeeping by David Yorke
Ghosts by Joey Lever
Corrupt by Michael Ellis

The nominations for Best Costume & Makeup & Hairstyling:
Natalie Kay, The History Bunker and Khaki Devil for Divided We Stand
Joy Bott and her team for White Feather
Elfyn Round, Tracey Cooke, Laura Baines and Ivana Ivanova for Socks & Robbers
Nisaro Karim and his team for The Two

The nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role:
Nick Preston for Judas
Simon Page for The Holes We Leave Behind
Sonny Michael Chohan for Corrupt
AJ Stevenson For What Happens at Sea

The nominations for Best Editing:
Arthur Harrison & Theo Vann-Leeds for Lepidopterist
Nathan Coetzee for Judas
Daniel Brock, Phee Simpson and Nuno Magalhaes for Red Light
Daniel Arbon for White Feather

The nominations for Best Music (Score or song):
Alex James Lewis for The Mysterious Button
Joel Fossard-Jones for Dreamlike
Joni Fuller for Lepidopterist
Veronica Sandwell for On 3…

The nominations for Best Actress in a Supporting Role:
Michelle Regis for Number 3
Olivia Rose Aaron for Pennywort
Patricia Hobday for A Past Tense
Sarah Feltham for On 3…

The nominations for Best Cinematography:
Calum Rhys for Divided We Stand
Aram Atkinson for Judas
Adam Whitehouse and Sam Bridges for Domestic Bliss
Rob Gurney for Open Up

The nominations for Best Feature:
Sam and Dan Get Lost by Lee Price
Morris by Jason Brown
Spider-Man: Another World by Joey Lever

The nominations for Best Documentary:
Shape, Refine by Dean Harris
No Fare: The Sian Green Story by Matt Holt
Women of Impact: Defying the Odds by Danielle Vassell and Christopher Bevan
Redt’Blue by Jay Martin

The nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role:
Laura Fleming for Swiped
Elinor Machen Fortune for Pennywort
Lara Lemon for Chloe: Daily
Val Monk for One Day

The nominations for Best Animated Film:
Afro Goblin & Chums: Tea Break by Thomas Crook
Elevaterror by Lee Charlish
Dragonfly by Matt Williams
Blather – The Series: Rutger Hauer by James Pyle

The nominations for Best Director:
Michael Ellis for Corrupt
Idriss Assoumanou for Out on the Field
Rebekah Fortune for Pennywort
Georgie Cubin for Tell Me Who We Are

The nominations for Best Sound (Editing or Mixing):
Brad Sweetman for Divided We Stand
Michael B Clifford & his team for Number 3
Alex Stroud for Socks and Robbers
Sophie Simpson and India Picton for Red Light

The nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role:
Daemian Greaves for Stairwell
Sebastian Wegner for Divided We Stand
Paul Findlay for Corrupt
Darrell Amory for Stranded

The nominations for Best Visual Effects:
Nick Willett, Matt Burkey & Steve Askey for Socks and Robbers
Joey Lever and his SFX team for Spider-Man: Another World
Raquel Ballester for Pennywort
Matt Blakey and his team for Devoid

The nominations for Best Writing (Original/adapted):
Idriss Assoumanou for Out on the Field
Joey Lever for Ghosts: A Mockumentary
Christopher Deans for Trick Shot
Laura Turner for Pennywort


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LIFF Unveils Line-Up for 2021 Film Festival

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The London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) unveiled the line-up for its 2021 edition as a “love letter to India”. This is amid the ongoing hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic in the sub-continent. The Bagri Foundation backed annual film festival will also be screening across Birmingham and Manchester until July 4. This is with support of the British Film Institute (BFI) and funds from the National Lottery.

LIFF Screenings

The festival will open on June 17 with a UK premiere of ‘W.O.M.B. (Women of My Billion)’, an inspirational feature documentary on Srishti Bakshi as she walks the entire length of India (nearly 4,000 km) over 240 days to explore the experiences of other women in its billion-plus population.

Another highlight of the festival is a special focus on British filmmakers of South Asian origin and their continued contribution to British cinema’s success.

“We will be showcasing the unstoppable force that is India’s rich and diverse filmmaking, and of course the festival will be helping to highlight and support COVID charities working in South Asia,” said LIFF Director Cary Rajinder Sawhney. “In this year when ”Britishness” is being re-defined, we offer our ”Great British Asians” strand which will celebrate British Asian filmmakers and throw a spotlight on exciting emerging talents.

Special Events

The year’s highlights include on stage “Special In Conversations” with filmmakers like Asif Kapadia and Gurinder Chadha. The festival also has a new strand dedicated to ecology-related films, called “Save The Planet”, screening features that in different ways reflect lives affected by deforestation and rising sea levels.

“It was a difficult year for many these past 12 months, and we are pleased to support a little escape for you via LIFF’s hybrid festival this year,” said Alka Bagri, Trustee of the Bagri Foundation. “Our seventh year as title sponsor showcases classic films and Q&As, as well as a range of UK premieres from some top British Asian and South Asian talent. Whether you attend in person, or watch from the comfort of your sofa, we hope you feel as excited as we are to see fresh faces and legendary stories from across Asian cinema.”

Films will be across several languages with English subtitles, including Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Urdu, Malayalam, Marathi and Gujarati.

The festival also premieres the feature documentary ‘Ahimsa: Gandhi The Power of the Powerless’ and celebrates the legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray on his 100th birth anniversary. We see one of Ray’s greatest actors, the late Soumitra Chatterjee, in the premiere of ‘Abhijaan’. Also, there are some light-hearted moments with the Bengali drama ‘Searching For Happiness’, plus black comedy in ‘Ashes On A Road Trip’.

The Tiger Award winner at the 50th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Tamil film ‘Koozhangal’ (Pebbles) makes its UK debut at the cinema, as does Sanal Kumar Sasidharan”s ‘Kayattam (A’hr)’ in Malayalam.



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