Sky Studios and DBK Studios today announce they are partnering for a series of short films to air on Sky Arts that nurture talent from Black and other diverse backgrounds. The initiative looks to increase and develop the representation of the Black community and empower up and coming creatives to tell their stories from an authentic perspective.
Unearthed Narratives is a five-part series of standalone short films that share a common theme of hard-hitting yet relatable stories, set across different generations and on a wide range of subjects; care work, sickle cell anaemia, social media culture, ‘middle-class hobbies’ in the Black community, racism in 1950’s England, and the culture within London housing estates.
The filmmakers came to the project with different levels of experience and were mentored through the production. They include Edem Wornoo, a well-established music video director who has worked on Dave’s Black and most recently Clash (ft. Stormzy), Charlene Wango who worked assisting Rapman while he directed his debut feature Blue Story with Paramount Pictures and BBC Films, Teniola Zara King who is a graduate of the London Film School and has worked as a producer in Nigeria on mainstream TV Dramas and Jessica Magaye who worked in production on Sex Education before starting her writing career, and Nikki Fagbemi, who was lead actress in an episode of Banana (E4), written by Russell T Davies.
The cast include: Stephen Odubola (Blue Story), Hope Ipoku and Malcolm Kamulete (Top Boy), Dorcas Shola Fapson (MTV’s Shuga), Ellis George (Small Axe: Lover’s Rock), Susannah Harker (BAFTA nominated for House of Cards, Granchester, Pride & Prejudice) and Paterson Joseph (Noughts and Crosses, Peep Show, Avenue 5).
DBK Studios was founded by Koby Adom (Haircut, Noughts + Crosses, Top Boy) in 2018. The Black-owned production company aims to give a voice and platform to stories and creatives that have been under-represented in British Film and TV, and to improve the representation of Black and diverse groups both on and off screen, providing opportunities for those who might not have access to the industry.
Koby Adom, founder of DBK Studios, says: “Before creating Haircut, I had no foot in the Industry but after making it, masses of opportunities have come my way and my film and TV career is steaming ahead with all the ideas I dreamt of executing now becoming a real possibility. However, coming into this industry, I experienced obstacles that I’d like to prevent other Black and ethnic minority filmmakers from unfairly experiencing. I want to help them get that first foot in the door and champion ownership because we have always had the fewest opportunities in the industry and when we do, we have no say in the business end of things.”
Manpreet Dosanjh, Commissioning Editor Sky Studios says: “Sometimes opportunities for Black and ethnic minority creatives to tell their stories can be on other people’s terms. For Unearthed Narratives, it was very important to us that these filmmakers had full editorial control with Sky Studios only there in a supporting role when we were needed. The ownership and vision of these films remains fully with the creatives and that’s what gives this project authenticity and integrity.”
Last year, Sky committed £30m over the next three years to support the fight against racial injustice alongside new targets to ensure that 20% of employees at Sky in the UK & Ireland are from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background by 2025, with at least a quarter of these to be Black.
Unearthed Narratives was commissioned by Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts and Entertainment for Sky and Manpreet Dosanjh commissioning editor for Sky Studios. The series is produced by DBK Studios and executive producers for the show are Koby Adom, Dola Araoye and Domenique Fragale and lead producer Danielle Goff.
Notes to Editors
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Unearthed Narratives Film Slate
Fields by Charlene Wango
Based on true-life events, Fields is about a female Pastor’s faith being challenged when her son’s previous gang life puts him in a situation she needs to protect him from.
Teju’s Tale by Teniola King
Based on true-life events in the 1950s, Teju’s Tale is about a girl who arrives in the UK from Nigeria to study nursing but faces challenges settling into the white dominated institution as two of her fellow nursing students demand to see her ‘tail’.
Why Me? by Nikki Fagbemi
In this black comedy we follow Naima, a lacklustre bookies assistant, whose life is a Jenga set of problems waiting to fall. But what will be the trigger? Her maniac boss, her over demanding mother or the secret she is desperately trying to hide? With personal issues outside of work mounting, a severe health scare that will reveal her illness to everyone is imminent.
Butterfly Affect by Edem Wornoo
Iris, a young black ballet dancer from a rough neighbourhood must learn how to survive in two opposing worlds in order to spread his wings.
Daddy’s Girl by Jessica Magaye
In the year 2050, a popular social media influencer must battle between revealing her true self and keeping her polished façade alive after her aggressive disabled father brings some hard truths to light.
About Sky Studios
Sky Studios brings to screen unique stories from the very best talent in Europe.
We develop, produce and fund original drama, comedy and documentary for Sky’s 24m customers and beyond. Building on the success of critically-acclaimed Sky Originals including Emmy-winning Chernobyl, Bafta-winning Patrick Melrose and international hits Das Boot, Riviera and Britannia, Sky Studios is the new creative home of Sky Originals, such as The Third Day with Jude Law, I Hate Suzie, co-created by Lucy Prebble and Billie Piper and BAFTA-nominated hit comedy, Brassic.
We’re an agile Studio, seeking out the best untold stories from new voices while working in creative partnership with today’s best writers, producers and on-screen talent to bring viewers stories they wouldn’t find anywhere else.
With commissioning talent and production capability across the UK, Germany and Italy, we understand local tastes across Europe better than anyone else and have plans to more than double our investment in original content by 2024, fully supported and backed by Comcast NBCUniversal.
We’re also developing a new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, which is expected to lead to the creation of over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in the UK creative sector in the first five years alone.
Sky Studios invests in the cultural economy and global production sector with equity stakes in several production companies in the UK and the US, including Great British Bake-Off creator Love Productions, and the premier reality crime producer in the US, Jupiter Entertainment, creator of long-running hit Snapped. Sky Studios has invested in high quality factual specialists Blast! Films, True North Productions, and Transistor Films; natural history producer True to Nature; drama producers The Lighthouse and Longboat Pictures; and growth businesses Sugar Films, Chrysalis Vision, and Talos Films (US).
Sky Studios launched in June 2019. The senior leadership team is Chief Executive Officer, Cécile Frot-Coutaz, Chief Content Officer Jane Millichip, Chief Operating Officer Caroline Cooper, Director of Commissioning, Drama Gabriel Silver, Director of Comedy UK Jon Mountague, Director Original Production Sky Studios Italia Nils Hartmann, and Director Original Productions Sky Studios Deutschland Marcus Ammon.