Sky Studios has appointed Screenwriter Bisha K Ali, Netflix, and Sky present The Screenwriters' Fellowship a new, year-long program 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. “I am thrilled to be working alongside Netflix and Sky to launch our new Screenwriting Fellowship,” Bisha K Ali said. “Although my hope is that one day there will be no need for programs 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.”
The move forms part of Netflix and Sky’s broader commitment to improving representation at all levels of the creative process and spreading opportunities across the UK. It follows Netflix’s $5M Creative Equity fund to create opportunities for underrepresented groups to break into the industry. “Creating programs that truly reflect our world starts off-screen,” Jane Millichip, Chief Content Officer, Sky Studios, said. “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 program 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.”
The program will provide carrer opportunities for Netflix or Sky writers’ room for them to receive their first television credit for their contribution. Aspiring applicants must submit a full script to become eligible. “The Screenwriters' Fellowship will provide outstanding writers with the support, networks, and tools to find a home in our industry,” Anne Mensah, VP Netflix Original Series said. “Importantly, they will be paid for the work that they do as part of the program.
Sky will allocate £30m over the next three years to advocate against racial injustice and ensure 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. Netflix, Bisha K Ali and Sky Join Forces To Support Screenwriting Talent From Black, Asian and Other Racial and Ethnic Backgrounds. “We’ve worked to design a program 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,” Mensah said. “I am thrilled to work alongside Bisha and Sky to support fantastic British voices.”
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 programs 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.” Bisha K Ali Screenwriter, Sky Studios