Reflecting on ScreenCraft Works’ first year, the founders of this transnational community for under-represented craft talent are struck by the kindness of others and how small interventions can make big change.
by Elizabeth McIntyre and Rebecca del Tufo, co-directors, ScreenCraft Works
ScreenCraft Works is an Industry Friend at the Be You Festival, 13th July.
Launched in Spring 2022, ScreenCraft Works is a global community for under-represented film and TV people working in production and post-production, often the least celebrated and least inclusive roles in the industry. We offer fresh approaches to career development and knowledge exchange through cross-border mentoring, talks and networking.
Our growing not-for-profit community now includes people from over 50 countries, including those working in the roles of editor, post-production sound, composer, production manager, producer, post-production supervisor, animation, VFX and multirole filmmakers.
In the community, we have Sourath Behan, one of the few women editors and colourists in Pakistan, who has had to use YouTube for some of her training. She has been mentored by LA-based Emmy-nominated editor Nona Khodai. Having fled the war in Ukraine: Veronika Malakhova (post-sound) was matched with award-winning Danish sound designer Peter Albrechtsen as her mentor. Also from Ukraine, mentee Nazim Kadri-Zade is an experienced film editor and post-production supervisor. Introduced to ScreenCraft Works by Sara Putt Associates, we matched Nazim with mentor Christopher Chow BFE.
We bring together international industry craftspeople with different creative and cultural perspectives, to exchange knowledge, ideas, lived experience and good practice, to enrich careers and increase transnational job opportunities, including remote work. We also strengthen relationships across developing and developed countries, diasporic communities and networks for displaced people such as refugees, contributing to a culture shift in the industry.
Our membership and activity are free of charge to avoid exclusion, whether that be a person from a marginalised group, disadvantaged region or developing country. For this model to work we rely on a network of highly valued supporters and volunteers, and we are grateful for the backing of individuals, businesses and organisations offering financial or in-kind support.
Our Cross-Border Mentoring scheme is supported by Brunel University London and is based on the ScreenSkills model, drawing on our ScreenSkills Mentoring Partner experience (2022 – 2023). Sara Putt Associates supports our Cross-Border Careers series, our Cross-Border Conversations are supported by Genelec, and our Cross-Border Coffees by Future Studios. Other collaborators include Deaf & Disabled People in TV, UK Muslim Film, DARE Pictures, Women in Film & TV Jamaica, and Power to Transform, Germany.
Our first year has demonstrated how powerfully small interventions can contribute to the success of individual people, how kindness is contagious, and how these small acts cumulatively contribute to a wider global industry culture shift.
Here’s what we have learned from the film & TV craftspeople in our community, about the value of cross-border mutual support:
– People want to strengthen their global networks across developing and developed countries and across a range of intersectional identities, including diasporic heritage, race, gender, sexual orientation and disability, exchanging cross-border perspectives with peers and potential hirers. This may increase freelance work opportunities between empathetic people around the world, whether that be delivering a project remotely or being contracted to work in another country on-site.
– They want to hear different cultural perspectives that craftspeople bring to their roles, to inspire each other’s work, and celebrate the creative and technical expertise that all ‘behind the scenes’ production and post production people bring to outstanding screen-storytelling.
– Our volunteer mentors wish to play their part in fairer global practice. Often, our country-to-country programmes highlight an imbalance of resources and opportunity, prompting discussions about post-colonial legacy, and the responsibility of developed-country filming within developing countries. For example, the Jamaican government is newly establishing a Screen Fund to provide financing for development and production, recognising its burgeoning film and TV industry – but it is in its nascence compared with other national industries. Through ScreenCraft Works’ partnership with Women in Film & TV Jamaica, we currently have six Jamaican production and post-production mentees matched with mentors from the USA and UK.
– The craftspeople in our community want to compare and contrast production and post-production work practices around the world, to better reflect on their own local workflow and welfare, to adopt new practices and to strengthen their ability to call out poor practice by citing other countries’ good practice.- They want to share knowledge and keep learning about newly created craft roles and rapidly changing technology, including for virtual production. This includes continuing education abroad, with a keenness for educational establishments to collaborate internationally, reflected, for example, in the international outlook of our Cross-Border Mentoring scheme partners Brunel University London.
– The craftspeople in our community want to develop their soft skills and strengthen their professional identity to position themselves well for both their local and international markets, learning from others and offering their own expertise at ScreenCraft Works’ transnational co-hosted events.
– They don’t think that remote environments are a panacea – however, they can widen opportunities for marginalised talent when within a healthy framework, and potentially lead to more inclusive and sustainable work practices.
Where trying to make a difference can often feel overwhelming, we feel inspired by the fact that any of us can make change through small, everyday acts of kindness and intervention, contributing to the diversification of ‘behind-the-scenes’ roles and to an international culture shift.
ScreenCraft Works community members
Sourath Behan is one of the few women editors and colourists in Karachi, Pakistan, compelled to learn her craft in part from YouTube. Sourath’s mentor is LA-based Emmy-nominated editor Nona Khodai. Sourath has continued to develop her international networks via professionals volunteering their time for Cross-Border Coffees, including members of UK Muslim Film following a Cross-Border Networking event. Wishing to offer support to others, Sourath has connected ScreenCraft Works with a range of future mentors in Pakistan and India.
Vignesh Balasubramaniam is an early stage editor-producer from India, pursuing his masters at Screen Academy Scotland. Vignesh is mentored by Scotland-based editor Rachel Erskine, now heading up editing departments, who was previously mentored by USA-based Paul Martin Smith, whose credits include ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’. Rachel further volunteered her time at a Cross-Border Conversation, supporting first-time speaker Sourath Behan.
Nazim Kadri-Zade is an experienced film editor and post-production supervisor who grew up in Crimea. Following a successful career in Ukraine before the outbreak of war, Nazim settled with his family in the UK. Introduced to ScreenCraft Works by Sara Putt Associates, we matched Nazim with mentor Christopher Chow BFE. Always passionate about British filmmaking, Nazim has recently secured a major editing role with leading UK producer André Singer, Spring Films. Nazim offers a helping hand to other displaced film & TV people in the ScreenCraft Works community.
Also fleeing the war in Ukraine, Veronika Malakhova (post-sound) was matched with award-winning Danish sound designer Peter Albrechtsen as her mentor. Helping her integrate into her country of refuge (UK), ScreenCraft Works asked Emma Butt (BAFTA TV Committee), Steve Little (UK Post Sound Collective) and Jamie Roden (Sound Social) to welcome Veronika into their local networks. Veronika now has her first work contract in the UK. Veronika offers suggestions for future mentors by way of giving back.
Mentee Claude Niyomugabo is an early stage producer-director who found solace in films and art after surviving genocide, settling as a refugee in North-East England. Introduced to ScreenCraft Works by his caseworker, Claude is meeting a range of supportive producers across Northern England to build local networks and has work experience planned with a network drama.
One of our writer-producer mentees, who identifies as queer, British South Asian, is matched for mentoring with an Iranian-born German writer-producer-actor, whose work has featured at BFI Flare. Our mentee has additionally had Cross-Border Coffee virtual meetups with producers in Bangladesh, to develop networks across diaspora communities.
ScreenCraft Works is an Industry Friend at the Be You Festival, 13th July. To find out more and book tickets, see the Be You website.
Elizabeth McIntyre & Rebecca del Tufo
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