Netflix, Bisha K Ali and Sky Join Forces To Support Screenwriting Talent From Black, Asian and Other Racial and Ethnic Backgrounds

Monday 17 May 2021

Screenwriter Bisha K Ali, Netflix and Sky present The Screenwriters' Fellowship a new, year-long programme to support six outstanding screenwriters from Black, Asian and other racial and ethnic backgrounds that are currently under-represented in the High-End TV and film industry.

The programme, which opens for entries today, will give the UK’s brightest new voices the opportunity to join a Netflix or Sky writers’ room and receive their first television credit for their participation. Fellows will receive a bursary and will also attend monthly seminars, workshops, and have an industry mentor. To apply for the programme, applicants will be required to submit a full script.

Bisha K Ali said:“I am thrilled to be working alongside Netflix and Sky to launch our new Screenwriting Fellowship. Although my hope is that one day there will be no need for programmes like this to exist, this fellowship serves as an attempt to move toward a more inclusive industry and, ultimately, decrease barriers to entry for those who are often made to feel like outsiders in this field.”

Anne Mensah, VP Netflix Original Series said: “The Screenwriters' Fellowship will provide outstanding writers with the support, networks and tools to find a home in our industry. Importantly, they will be paid for the work that they do as part of the programme. We’ve worked to design a programme that not only tries to remove some of the barriers to entering our industry, but provides the space, time and financial security to help writers develop their craft. I am thrilled to work alongside Bisha and Sky to support fantastic British voices.”

Jane Millichip, Chief Content Officer, Sky Studios, said: “Creating programmes that truly reflect our world starts off-screen. As an industry, we need writers from under-represented backgrounds at the table in every creative conversation. And that’s exactly what we are embarking on with Netflix and Bisha. This programme will give new, talented writers the freedom, agency and backing to make their mark on future Sky Originals. We can’t wait to get started and uncover some of the UK’s brightest new writing talent.”

Today’s announcement is part of Netflix and Sky’s broader commitment to improving representation at all levels of the creative process and spreading opportunity across the UK.

It follows Netflix’s $5M Creative Equity fund to create opportunities for underrepresented groups to break into the industry, and the UK Documentary Talent Fund to support emerging filmmakers across the UK.

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.

Apply and find out more about the Screenwriters’ Fellowship here.

About Sky

Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Across six countries, we connect our 23.4 million customers to the best entertainment, sports, news and arts including our own award-winning original content.  

Our technology, including the market leading Sky Q, connects people to everything they love – with entertainment from Sky TV, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer, and apps like Spotify, YouTube, BBC Sounds, Highbrow, Peloton, Fiit, and more, in one place, easy. Our streaming service NOW brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service. Through our new B2B broadband provider, Sky Connect, we offer superfast broadband with business-grade 4G back-up to small businesses in the UK.

Building on the success of Sky Originals like Chernobyl, Gangs of London and Brassic, we are doubling our investment in original content by 2024 through Sky Studios. Sky News provides impartial and trustworthy journalism for free, Sky Arts is the UK’s only dedicated free-to-air arts channel making the arts accessible for everyone and Sky Sports, our leading sports broadcasting service, brings customers some of the biggest and best global sporting events from the Premier League to Formula 1 and everything in-between. Our new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, which will open in 2022, is expected to create over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in the UK over the first five years.  

We believe that we can be a force for good in the communities in which we operate. We’re committed to being Europe’s first net zero carbon entertainment company by 2030 and we’re proud to be a Principal Partner and Media Partner of COP26. We take pride in our approach to diversity and inclusion: we’ve been recognised by The Times and Stonewall for our commitment to diversity and we’ve set ambitious 2025 targets to continue to increase diversity and representation.  We’re also committed to investing £30million across our markets over three years to improve our approach to diversity and inclusion, and to tackle racial injustice.

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