Screenwriter Bisha K Ali, Netflix and Sky have teamed up to launch The Screenwriters’ Fellowship a new, year-long programme to support six outstanding screenwriters from Black, Asian and other racial and ethnic backgrounds that are currently under-represented in the High-End TV and film industry.
The programme, which opens for entries today, will give new UK writers the opportunity to join a Netflix or Sky writers’ room and receive their first television credit for their participation.

Fellows will receive a bursary and will also attend monthly seminars, workshops, and have an industry mentor. To apply for the programme, applicants will be required to submit a full script.

Bisha K Ali said:“I am thrilled to be working alongside Netflix and Sky to launch our new Screenwriting Fellowship. Although my hope is that one day there will be no need for programmes like this to exist, this fellowship serves as an attempt to move toward a more inclusive industry and, ultimately, decrease barriers to entry for those who are often made to feel like outsiders in this field.”

Anne Mensah, VP Netflix Original Series said: “The Screenwriters’ Fellowship will provide outstanding writers with the support, networks and tools to find a home in our industry. Importantly, they will be paid for the work that they do as part of the programme. We’ve worked to design a programme that not only tries to remove some of the barriers to entering our industry, but provides the space, time and financial security to help writers develop their craft. I am thrilled to work alongside Bisha and Sky to support fantastic British voices.”

Jane Millichip, Chief Content Officer, Sky Studios, said: “Creating programmes that truly reflect our world starts off-screen. As an industry, we need writers from under-represented backgrounds at the table in every creative conversation. And that’s exactly what we are embarking on with Netflix and Bisha. This programme will give new, talented writers the freedom, agency and backing to make their mark on future Sky Originals. We can’t wait to get started and uncover some of the UK’s brightest new writing talent.”

This follows Netflix’s $5M Creative Equity fund to create opportunities for underrepresented groups to break into the industry, and the UK Documentary Talent Fund to support emerging filmmakers across the UK.

Last year, Sky committed £30m over the next three years to support the fight against racial injustice alongside new targets to ensure that 20% of employees at Sky in the UK & Ireland are from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background by 2025, with at least a quarter of these to be Black.

Apply and find out more about the Screenwriters’ Fellowship here.

Jon Creamer

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