Netflix has announced that it is investing a further £350k into the development of the next generation of diverse UK talent both in front of, and behind, the camera.

The cash, announced by Netflix VP of UK original series, Anne Mensah, will support 30 full, year-long scholarships for students from Identity School of Acting; double the number of young people Million Youth Media work with across the UK and will help Mama Youth expand its work and train more young people so they are better prepared for broadcast and media jobs.

The new investment is part of the $5M Fund Netflix created in July 2020 to create opportunities for Black creators and youth, and follows the launch of its recently announced UK Documentary Talent Fund.

The schemes are in addition to initiatives already in place with production partners like the Top Boy directors shadow scheme with Cowboy Films, in which four up-and-coming directors shadowed the show’s director for eight weeks each. One of them, Nia DaCosta, has been tapped to direct Marvel’s sequel to Captain Marvel.

Mensah said: “Great stories help build empathy, connecting us to people and places we’d otherwise never know about or understand. But great stories are not enough if they only come through one lens, reflect one experience or embody one type of journey through life. At Netflix we believe in stories from everywhere for everyone and we are determined to help realise that ambition fully.

“I believe the UK industry is changing. And although this change is slow, the wealth of young diverse British voices fighting their way to the top of the industry fills me with hope and excitement. Creators like Theresa Ikoko, Charlie Covell, and John Boyega resonate not just in the UK but across the world. But this is not enough. I believe we need to do more, not just to support the current generation of British talent, but also to develop a more inclusive pipeline of upcoming creatives across the entire production process.”

Jon Creamer