Neal Street Productions is launching a new screenwriters bursary scheme aimed at supporting and training emerging Black, Asian and ethnic minority screenwriters.

Five successful writers will each receive £20,000 to write an original screenplay, which can either be a TV pilot or a feature film script.

Neal Street, run by Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Caro Newling, and Nicolas Brown, is behind recent productions include the Oscar and Bafta winning 1917, and for TV, RTS winning and BAFTA nominated Informer and Call the Midwife, currently in production on its 10th series.

Pippa Harris said: “There is a wealth of un-tapped screenwriting talent in the UK, and we are keen to help identify and support those people to tell their stories. All writers, regardless of background deserve an equal chance to succeed, and the strength of the overall industry depends on the richness and diversity of the screenplays which get produced.”

During the writing process, each bursary recipient will receive meetings with the Neal Street Productions Development team and Company Directors as well as access to networking opportunities with established writers and commissioners. The scheme, which is supported by Neal Street Productions’ parent company All3Media, is aimed at writers who are near the start of their careers and haven’t yet had an original screenplay produced for film or TV. Neal Street Productions may work with the successful applicant/s to develop the screenplay further.

Sam Mendes said; “We hope these bursaries will provide the resources to offer a stepping stone into the industry for underrepresented voices. Applicants shouldn’t feel restricted by subject matter, but instead be encouraged to develop whatever story they feel inspired to write, in whichever medium (TV or Film) is best suited to tell it. We’re excited to discover new talent, explore new perspectives and work with our writers collaboratively to help kickstart their careers.”

Jon Creamer

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