Indielab Accelerator has announced the 2021 cohort for the sixth edition of its growth programme for TV indies looking to scale up.

The applications process brought in a record number of responses with the indies selected considered by the Indielab stakeholders, including broadcasters and platforms to be ones to watch and those that will most benefit from the programme. They are; Big Little Fish Television, Black Camel Pictures, Blazing Griffin Pictures, ClearStory, Freedom Scripted Entertainment, Kailash Films, King of Sunshine Productions, Little Bird Films, Nuwave Pictures, Rare TV, Rooster TV, Strident Media, Triongl, Vox Pictures and Wall of Entertainment.

The scheme benefits again this year from three bursary schemes: the first, a diversity scheme for three indies run by founders from diverse backgrounds, sponsored by Sony Pictures Television and further bursaries for Welsh independent production companies with support from Welsh Government funding through Creative Wales and Scottish companies funded by Screen Scotland. The overall programme is supported by its long-term partners Channel 4 and the BBC.

Victoria Powell, founder and CEO of Indielab, said: “The marked increase in applications we received this year demonstrates very clearly how much indies want to connect and supercharge their growth out of the slowdown brought about by Covid. The range, energy and diversity across this new cohort at perhaps one of the most challenging times the TV industry has ever experienced is testament to the strength of the sector. Our programmes are continuously evolving and innovating with targeted and timely support for indie founders providing impactful and enduring takeaways for every participant through the Indielab Connect platform.’

The 2021 programme has been re-formatted to deliver a blended mix of virtual events and the finale Indie Showcase, which takes place in-person in September. Indielab’s virtual events were first introduced in 2020 through the Indielab Connect platform, which provides virtual networking and learning environments, combined with a live coursebook and social-media platform available to all participants. The agenda includes briefings from the BBC and Channel 4 on strengthening PSB relationships; Indielab’s LabTalks, consisting of thought-leadership talks on new revenue and working models in TV; and briefings with SVODs, including Netflix and Apple TV. The agenda seeks to provide access to the most relevant critical intelligence to enable indies to explore the full potential of partners and platforms for their creative output and to help them understand the future direction of the TV business. The programme, which includes further masterclasses from 50-plus industry experts and consultants, also provides global market insight and investment-readiness analysis.

Wayne Garvie, President, International Production, Sony Pictures Television, who will make the keynote opening speech to the cohort said: ‘‘Indielab is a unique programme that brings together some of the most exciting independent creative businesses in the TV industry to learn and grow. It is essential that we support initiatives such as these that seek to include all voices and nurture UK indies – SPT’s commitment to the indie sector through this diversity bursary has never been more important.’

In partnership with Indigo Talent, Indielab will once again recruit top industry names to serve as virtual mentors to the 2021 cohort. Indielab’s roster of returning sponsors includes Getty Images, Banijay Rights, law firm Harbottle & Lewis, accounting, and tax consultants Ecovis Wingrave Yeats and Nyman Libson Paul.

Jon Creamer