Warner Bros Discovery, Media Trust launch Black Britain Unspoken
May 9, 2022
Warner Bros Discovery and Media Trust have announced a new initiative Black Britain Unspoken ahead of Black History Month UK 2022.
Black Britain Unspoken aims to give opportunity and voice to Black filmmakers who are entering the media sector, as industry data continues to demonstrate that Black people remain particularly underrepresented across director, writer and producer roles in the UK.
A dedicated Black Britain Unspoken website launches today (May 9th) inviting Black British storytellers, filmmakers and creatives to share experiences and perspectives of being Black and British, with the chance to pitch, produce and release a short film across discovery+ and a selection of Warner Bros Discovery UK linear and digital channels during Black History Month in October 2022. The initiative aims to discover new talent, provide access and opportunity for Black creatives, and identify unique and inspiring stories about Black British history and experience.
Applications close on June 6th. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel including Simon Downing, SVP Marketing and Head of Factual & Docs at Warner Bros Discovery; Clare Laycock, SVP Planning & Insights, Head of Entertainment at Warner Bros Discovery; Emma Cassidy, Director Creative Services at Warner Bros Discovery; Bafta-winner Joanna Boateng, Producer at Minnow Films and Concordia Studio LLC, Leon Oldstrong, Film Director at Solaris2 Media and Daisy Church, Screen Industry Programme Manager at Media Trust.
The panel will select up to 5 pitches that will then move into production, fully supported and funded by Warner Bros Discovery UK. In October 2022, the selected films will run across discovery+ and a selection of Warner Bros Discovery UK linear and digital channels. The initiative will provide Black British creatives with a unique end-to-end opportunity, working with industry professionals from pitching to post-production.
Simon Downing, SVP Marketing and Head of Factual & Docs, Warner Bros Discovery, said: “We are delighted to launch Black Britain Unspoken with the Media Trust, aiming to break down some of the barriers that Black British creatives face entering our industry. We are committed to using our voice and our platforms to advocate for action around important issues and believe that diverse minds, experiences, cultures and unique points of view should be reflected in our storytelling. By creating an initiative that gives access to the end-to-end process of pitching, creating and launching content, we hope that Black Britain Unspoken will not only showcase diverse talent and stories, but also provide Black creatives trying to break through with an opportunity to share their voice.”
Daisy Church, Programme Manager, Media Trust, said: “At Media Trust, we believe it’s by giving everyone a voice that we’ll get to a more equal society. That’s why we’re proud to launch Black Britain Unspoken with Warner Bros Discovery in the UK to support Black British filmmakers, storytellers and creatives in sharing their experiences and perspectives of being Black in Britain. We hope the Black Britain Unspoken initiative will continue to elevate and offer opportunities to our network of emerging talent from underrepresented backgrounds. We are acutely aware how much talent there is in Britain and the need to support this talent in telling their own – and others’ – stories.”
Leon Oldstrong, Film Director at Solaris2 Media, said: “We have no shortage of talent within the Black British filmmaker community, the biggest obstacle is being given the means and opportunity to tell our stories. The Black Britain Unspoken initiative is giving emerging Black filmmakers of all ages the platform to speak their truth, tell their story and I am incredibly excited to join the advisory panel and see the talents that emerge. I can’t express how much I needed something like this when I was starting out, there were very few people who I could turn to for support and of those none were Black, so I am really pleased to be working with Warner Bros Discovery and Media Trust on this initiative.”
Joanna Boateng, Bafta-winner, Producer at Minnow Films and Concordia Studio LLC, said: “It’s so important to uplift and support Black people behind the camera; it can feel, at times, lonely and difficult making your way through this industry. Forming networks with one another and finding ways to realise the incredible ideas we know exist is one way to combat this. I was instantly drawn to the Black Britain Unspoken initiative for that reason – I wish I had something like this when I was starting out and I’m honoured to partner with Warner Bros Discovery and the Media Trust to help someone begin their own career in TV in this way.”