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Netflix renews UK documentary talent fund, extends opportunity to Ireland

Love Languages is by filmmakers Jason Osborne and Precious Mahaga

Netflix has confirmed its UK-based documentary talent fund will return following the success of its inaugural edition.

Designed to support emerging filmmakers, the 2023 programme will be extended to include the Republic of Ireland as well as the UK.

The fund will give five filmmakers, and their teams the chance to make a short documentary film with a budget of £30,000 (US$36,600) each. Previous experience is not required and all teams will be under the guidance of Netflix and other filmmaking professionals.

Throughout the year, the chosen teams will take part in Netflix-hosted workshops covering all aspects of production including legal, creative, HR, production and finance.

In their finished forms, each documentary must be 8-12 minutes long and will be distributed on Netflix UK’s social channels. The streamer said the brief for these fully funded short documentaries is the theme of connection.

Last year’s edition of the fund saw filmmaking teams selected from thousands of applicants from across the UK.

One of the projects Love Languages, a film by Jason Osborne and Precious Mahaga, has been long listed for best British Short Film by Bafta this year and the 10 films have now been seen at over 40 festival screenings.

Kate Townsend, VP of documentary features at Netflix, will lead a team of industry professionals who will form the judging panel to select this year’s recipients.

The panel will include Julia Nottingham, founder and CEO of Dorothy Street Pictures, and directors Orlando Von Einsiedel, Tamana Ayazi and Jenny Popplewell.

Entries are open from January 16 to February 16. For the first round, applicants will be required to submit a logline (one sentence), a short synopsis and a creative statement about their documentary idea. Further details on how to apply can be found here.

The final docs will be launched in early 2024 and will be showcased at an event attended by industry figures to help the talent expand their networks and advance their careers.

Elisabeth Hopper returns as lead producer of the fund, supported by Georgie Yukiko Donovan as supervising producer and Daisy Ifama as assistant producer.

Townsend said: “We were thrilled with the results of last year’s inaugural Documentary Talent Fund. The filmmakers we collaborated with inspired and surprised us, and we’re so pleased with how they made the most of this opportunity.

“The resulting films were varied in subject matter and style and provided a brilliant response to the brief. This year we’re looking to go one step further, on the theme of connection, and we encourage filmmakers to interrogate this and come forward with their unique take and vision, whatever that looks like.”

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