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Netflix invests in diverse UK talent

Global streaming giant Netflix has announced it will invest £350,000 (US$478,990) in UK grassroot organisations to create new opportunities in film and TV for young people from black, Asian and ethnic minority communities.

Anne Mensah

The investment will fund 30 full, year-long scholarships for students from Femi Oguns’ Identity School of Acting, which nurtured stars like John Boyega (Star Wars), Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You) and Letitia Wright (Black Panther).

It will also help the Mama Youth Project expand its work and train more young people in broadcast and media jobs, as well as double the number of young people Million Youth Media works with.

This investment is part of the US$5m fund Netflix created in July 2020 to create opportunities for black creators and young people and follows the launch of the recently announced UK Documentary Talent Fund.

Anne Mensah, the former head of drama at Sky who joined Netflix as VP of original scripted series in the UK in 2018, said: “Great stories help build empathy, connecting us to people and places we’d otherwise never know about or understand. But great stories are not enough if they only come through one lens, reflect one experience or embody one type of journey through life. At Netflix, we believe in stories from everywhere for everyone and we are determined to help realise that ambition fully.

“I believe the UK industry is changing. And although this change is slow, the wealth of young diverse British voices fighting their way to the top of the industry fills me with hope and excitement. Creators like Theresa Ikoko, Charlie Covell and John Boyega resonate not just in the UK but across the world. But this is not enough.

“I believe we need to do more, not just to support the current generation of British talent, but also to develop a more inclusive pipeline of upcoming creatives across the entire production process.”

In other Netflix news, scripted drama Bridgerton has been renewed for a second season.

From Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland and creator Chris Van Dusen, the series follows Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) as she makes her debut onto Regency London’s competitive marriage market.

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