Prime Video has announced the second phase of its Prime Video Pathway training initiative with the London Screen Academy and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland added to its list of organisations receiving funding as part of the initiative designed to open up access to jobs in the TV and film industry across the UK.
Prime Video has also added two new true crime series to its factual slate – see below for details
The London Screen Academy (LSA), the UK’s only free sixth form academy for students wanting to learn all the skills required for a career within the film and television industries, will receive £750,000 over the next three years, beginning this academic year (from September 2022). The funding will support the Academy in offering University of the Arts London (UAL) Level 3 and Level 4 courses to approximately 700 students at its state-of-the-art north London campus. The mission of the London Screen Academy is to diversify the screen industries with outreach work carried out to ensure the Academy reaches young people from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in film and television.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) will also receive funding from Prime Video for the next three years to support four students on its BA Production programmes. Based in Glasgow, it offers specialist training across music, drama, dance, production, film, and education. From September, two Scottish students on the BA Production Arts and Design programme and two students on the BA Production Technology and Management programme will receive financial support for the duration of their studies at RCS.
Announced earlier this year, Prime Video Pathway is a new training initiative designed to open up access to jobs in the TV and film industry across the UK. Committing to spend £10M across three years, Prime Video previously announced a flagship collaboration with the National Film & Television School (NFTS) to open up access to careers in film and television as part of a new Prime Video Craft Academy, which is open to applications via the NFTS website until midnight on 15 September 2022. The Academy is initially offering up to 25 people able to travel to either its Beaconsfield or Glasgow campuses a paid traineeship in a craft specialism within physical production (production, art department, location scouting, camera, sound, and accounting) through the opportunity to work on either a UK-produced Amazon Original series or on another Prime Video or Amazon Studios production, as well as world-class training at the NFTS. Integral to the Academy is its commitment to investing in training across the UK, with at least 50% of participants coming from outside of London.
“Growing and diversifying the UK’s film and television talent pool is a key focus as we continue to produce more Original projects in the UK,” said Dan Grabiner, head of UK Originals, Amazon Studios. “It is a privilege to have fantastic collaborators like the National Film & Television School onboard for Prime Video Pathway, and today we’re delighted to add the London Screen Academy and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to the programme. I encourage all those with a passion for storytelling and the craft of TV and film, regardless of your background or experience, to consider Pathway as you plan your next step in the industry.”
“The London Screen Academy was born out of a desire to address the need for a more inclusive and diverse industry,” said Charlie Kennard, principal, London Screen Academy. “What sets LSA apart is the partnerships we build with organisations embedded within the industry, and the commitment from Amazon will be transformative to our students. This three-year partnership will allow us to continue to grow a school unlike any other in the UK, building the next generation of storytellers.”
“This is such an exciting time for the film and TV industry, with enormous career opportunities for artists and creative producers from across the performing arts,” said professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. “We’re delighted to be working with Prime Video to nurture the next generation of technical and creative talent through the Production Arts and Design and Production Technology and Management degree programmes. In recognising the critical importance of highly skilled technicians and creative producers to the future success of film and TV, Prime Video is opening the door of possibilities and world-class training at RCS to a diverse range of young people who might not otherwise have this opportunity.”
Prime Video has also added two new true-crime documentaries to slate
The two new UK Original true-crime series, The Greatest Show Never Made and Fake Sheikh, will launch globally on Prime Video next year
The series will sit alongside the chilling Patricia Hall documentary, The Confession, three-part series Three Mothers (working title), and previously announced documentary series launching in the next six months, including a film about YouTube sensation KSI produced by Louis Theroux and Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes.
The Greatest Show Never Made reveals how, on a wet morning in June 2002, four cameras filmed 30 contestants who had travelled to a park in South East London, to take part in the biggest reality show on TV. The show is going to change their lives – and it is all captured on camera. They have quit their jobs and given up their homes to be here. Some have left long-term partners and sold their possessions; all want to escape the 9-5 grind, and start on the road to adventure, fame and fortune. It’s the new millennium and anything is possible. Just one small thing…the show does not exist. At the heart of this gripping, funny and emotional series is an exploration of fame, identity and the desire we all share to escape the traps of everyday life. Across 5 days and a rollercoaster of highs and lows, this charismatic, determined group try and turn disaster into triumph as they confront the collapse of their dreams. The 2 x 50’ series will be produced by Factual Fiction, with Executive Producers Emily Dalton and Jonathan Smith and BAFTA Breakthrough and RTS Award winning Producer/Director Ashley Francis-Roy.
Fake Sheikh, from Voltage TV, tells the story of maverick reporter Mazher Mahmood, whose exposés generated headlines by his use of false identities to ensnare royals, sports stars, politicians, celebrities and members of the public. The three-part UK Original documentary series will track his meteoric rise to the highest ranks of the tabloid press—twice winning Reporter of The Year at The British Press Awards—and his subsequent downfall and imprisonment. The interviewees include those within Mahmood’s inner circle who, in some cases, are talking for the first time about the operation and tactics of the reporter, with never-before-broadcast footageof the so-called “King of the Sting” in action. The series will also give a voice to those who were stung, so that they will have the chance to tell their side on some well-known tabloid stories that in many cases had devastating effects on their lives. This will include household names whose targeting by Mahmood generated some of the biggest headlines of the time. Fake Sheikh is directed by Ceri Isfryn, with executive producers Sanjay Singhal and Jonathan Smith.
“Original documentary storytelling is a key part of our growing UK slate, from nail-biting sport to intriguing whodunnits and stranger-than-fiction history,” said Dan Grabiner, head of UK Originals, Amazon Studios. “We’re excited to be working with tremendously talented filmmakers, both new directors and legends of the genre, to bring these remarkable human stories to a global audience.”
Prime Video also confirmed the title of The Confession, a compelling documentary from ITN Productions that examines the chilling disappearance of British housewife Patricia Hall. When Patricia vanishes from the small Yorkshire town of Pudsey, her husband Keith becomes a suspect, caught in a storm of rumour and suspicion. Only after a year, when Keith falls in love with a beautiful stranger, does the terrible truth about his wife’s disappearance seem to emerge in a shocking series of twists and revelations. The Confession is directed by Sam Hobkinson, and produced by Vivienne Perry, with executive producers Nathaniel Lippiett and Ian Rumsey.
Three Mothers (working title) is a three-part series from Scottish independent production company Firecrest Films. In 2000, Alan and Judith Kilshaw adopted twin baby girls from the U.S. and brought them home to north Wales. Within days, they found themselves at the centre of the biggest media storm of the new millennium, as stories emerged that the Kilshaws had bought the babies online for £8,000. An extraordinary transatlantic battle blew up when an American couple claimed the two baby girls had been kidnapped from their home in California. Then the birth mother entered the fray to claim the babies back. Three Mothers revisits these astonishing events and the ripples they caused across the world. For the first time, all three mothers speak out, setting the record straight with powerful testimony and reflection. Alice McMahon-Major is the series director, Zehra Yas is the series producer and the executive producers are Nicole Kleeman and Vari Innes.
The Greatest Show Never Made, Fake Sheikh, The Confession, and Three Mothers will launch on Prime Video in the next 12 months. The films represent Prime Video’s growing UK Original slate, along with new UK-produced series and movies launching across 2022 and 2023. These include The Devil’s Hour, a six-part thriller series produced by Hartswood Films starring Jessica Raine and Peter Capaldi; Jungle, a rap and drill music drama from first-time TV producers Nothing Lost; The Rig, Wild Mercury’s six-part epic thriller series starring Martin Compston and Emily Hampshire; Mammals, a six-part comedy-drama series written by Jez Butterworth and starring James Corden and Sally Hawkins; My Policeman, a romantic drama film set in the 1950s directed by Michael Grandage staring Harry Styles, Emma Corrin, and David Dawson; and Catherine Called Birdy, a medieval comedy film written and directed by Lena Dunham, based on the 1994 novel of the same name.
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