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BBC Film Helps Support UK Producers

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BBC Film has announced two new opportunities to help support UK producing talent and address under-representation in the UK production sector.

The Associate Producer Programme will see BBC Film fund the placement of emerging producers on up to eight BBC Film productions per year, with particular emphasis on supporting those from under-represented groups. The programme, led by BBC Film Head of Production Emma Kayee, is open access and production companies must advertise the posts. BBC Film will also directly accept expressions of interest from those who wish to be considered for Associate Producer roles.

Additionally UK film companies are eligible to apply to the BBC's £1 million Small Indie Fund has opened. The fund, which has been running since 2020, backs talented small independent production companies with turnovers of less than £10million across factual, daytime, drama, comedy, entertainment and children’s TV genres, prioritising diverse-led companies and those based in the Nations and English regions. It is granted to companies based on the strength of their creative potential and aims to support growth and deliver sustainability within the company. Successful companies receive tailored support packages to help their development along with commissioning mentors from the BBC.

Eva Yates, Director of BBC Film said: "Through discussions with the producing community we identified a need for clearer and more inclusive routes of progression for the next generation of producers, so it’s exciting to now present this Associate Producer opportunity and hopefully welcome a broader range of producing talent into the industry. We’re also really pleased to work alongside BBC commissioning colleagues to open the Small Indie Fund to film companies, offering vital business and creative development support. We recognise that challenges for independent producers are much greater than these measures alone can address, but we hope these initiatives speak to BBC Film's ongoing recognition of the value and talent in the UK producing community."

BBC Film has piloted the Associate Producer Programme over the last two years and received positive feedback from participants and productions. Films to have participated in the programme include Rye Lane, In Camera, The Old Oak, Scrapper, Hoard and more.

Beneficiaries of the Associate Producer Programme have included Manchester-based creative producer and screenwriter RadhaBhandari who was Associate Producer on Naqqash Khalid's In Camera and is now in-house Development Executive and Producer at Mary Burke's Public Dreams Ltd.

Mary Burke, CEO of Public Dreams Ltd and Producer of In Camera commented: "The BBC associate producer programme provides the best hands-on learning and enables established producers to train the next generation on set rather than in a hypothetical situation. This hire would not have been possible without the support of the BBC, and I really lucked out meeting someone as talented as Radha, who is now an essential part of my new business at Public Dreams."

Radha Bhandari, Development Producer at Public Dreams Ltd and Associate Producer of In Camera said: "The BBC AP programme changed the course of my career. It was an invaluable opportunity to learn 1-1 from acclaimed UK producers, watch a debut filmmaker bring their vision to life and form lasting relationships with local crew in Manchester.

"At the time I wanted to break out from factual television and, having made short films, this was a vital step to learn about all aspects of production, development and post from outstanding, experienced producers. This translated to working at Public Dreams, where I was fortunate enough to watch Mary’s vision for the company ignite and where my colleagues graciously took me under their wing. With the support of BBC and Mary, I feel empowered to explore the work that excites me and hopefully continue to make British feature films."

Kareem Adeshina is producer of Caleb Femi's Sundance London-selected short Giraffe and was appointed Associate Producer on Charlotte Regan’' Scrapper. He has subsequently gone on to gain an Associate Producer credit on upcoming LFF Closing Night film The Kitchen directed by Kibwe Tavares and Daniel Kaluuya and is a producer of the LFF-selected short A Very Short Film About Longing directed by Eimear McBride.

Kareem Adeshina commented: "At a point in my career where I was in need of a big change, Emma Kayee, Dionne Farrell and the BBC Film team really got behind me to assist that transition. The experience and connections I've gained are invaluable. It's given me a great foundation to go on and produce my first feature. I'd encourage anyone considering the programme to pursue it."

Associate Producers will join films as early as possible during late stage development/early prep and be involved in casting, financing, crewing up and working alongside the lead producer(s) across creative, financial, legal and practical production. The aim is to better support emerging producing talent – those who may be developing their first feature, with existing producer credits on short films, or in other creative mediums – through learning and contributing to the life cycle of a feature film, from before prep right through to distribution.

Productions will benefit from an extra pair of producing hands and support across the whole life of the film. Associate Producers will benefit from learning all aspects of film producing through a structured programme with a clear plan of responsibilities, and regular check-ins with members of the BBC Film team throughout the project.

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