The Be You Festival took place on 16th July: a day of sessions, talks, meet-ups and workshops focused on inclusion and diversity, held in venues around Soho, including the Dolby Theatre in Soho Square, Gravity House, Picture Shop and the rooftop space at Zero-One.

The day kicked off with a discussion about where the industry is now, with speakers including BBC creative diversity partner Iyare Igiehon and Brazen Productions’ Jules Hussey.

This was followed by a spotlight on disability, with a behind-the-scenes session on upcoming ITV Studios/ Keshet/ Tiger Aspect drama Ralph and Katie for the BBC, which features disabled talent, both in front of and behind the camera. The audience heard from the series’ director Jordan Hogg, alongside two members of crew with disabilities, in a panel moderated by  ITV creative diversity partner Nahrein

Co-founders of youth-driven production company Fully Focused – Teddy Nygh and Nick Bedu – led a session, moderated by inclusivity champion Jasmine Dotiwala, with input from some of the inspiring young people working on Fully Focused projects.

Motion capture actor, Ace Ruele, give an inspirational talk, Exercising your potential to create your own path, followed by a discussion with creative technologists exploring how technology can level the playing field.

Director, Jessica Swale (Summerland, Netflix drama Ten Percent, upcoming feature Persuasion) and Cara Kotschy, managing director and co-founder, Residence Pictures also led a career discovery meet-up for new entrants looking for guidance and progress in their career.

Issues around mental health and bullying in the industry featured heavily in the programme, with a practical workshop being led by Matt Longley and Leo Anna Thomas who explained the practical steps production companies can take to care for the mental health of their freelance film crews. Panel sessions, led by broadcaster Sean Fletcher and Reverend Peterson Feital, squared up to cancel culture and mental health.

Other speakers included director Ursula Macfarlane (Untouchable, upcoming Anna Nicole Smith Netflix documentary), Brian Hill of Century Films and Joyce Adeluwoye-Adams of Reuters and Nevision creative director Anne Morrison.

The day ended with the The Be You party, at Zero-One in Hopkins Street, with music from ex Earth Wind and Fire performer Joseph ‘Mo’ Pleasure.

Pippa Considine

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