“Future Film Skills includes plans to provide equal opportunities for those from all backgrounds, irrespective of socio-economic background or geography, to have the skills they need to access jobs that will be created in the screen industries of the future. This will only be achieved by reaching out to the broadest pool of talent from across the UK, starting in schools through ‘Into Film’ (the BFI’s National Lottery-funded partner which delivers school film clubs and film education resources for teachers), and with support for the growth of craft and technical skills outside of London and the south-east.
“This initiative is meaningful for both Lucasfilm and the film industry at large,” says Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “Diversity is just as important behind the scenes as it is on the screen. More points of view, more perspectives, and more voices will only make films better.”
This skills strategy is supported by Lucasfilm, which has pioneered a pilot programme with the BFI placing 28 trainees – the majority of which are alumni of the BFI Film Academy, as paid trainees, working in various craft and technical roles across the Untitled Han Solo Project, currently in production at Pinewood Studios.
The Lucasfilm programme is an exemplar in industry-led youth training with a specific focus on inclusion and designed to provide opportunities to address under-representation in the workforce. On this programme 75% of the trainees are women, 45% come from BAME backgrounds, 68% were recruited outside Greater London, and 36% received free school meals. Some of the trainees spoke at the House of Commons event tonight.”
BFI Film Academy alumni/Lucasfilm trainees, The Untitled Han Solo Project movie
Brahim, aged 20:
“I grew up on a refugee camp in north west Africa and the entire reason I got into filmmaking and I tried to get into this industry was because the love that I have for storytelling and all the stories that I have from my background that no-one has ever heard about because of the huge conflict that has been going on for the past few years. I came to live in London almost two years ago and it seemed impossible to wrangle and tangle the British film industry. I came across the BFI Film Academy and it was a documentary residential and it couldn’t have been more perfect because that’s what I wanted to do.”
Sonia, aged 21:
“My advice to any young person who has a dream of the industry but not found an ‘in’ yet, is that it’s really hard; I think the biggest thing is don’t stop trying, you do get rejected and there are people who are more suitable for some jobs and some people who are more experienced for others, so it just about not taking that too personally and keep trying. Perseverance.”
Jordan, aged 19:
“I just try and learn as much as I can because genuinely I am so lucky to be here, I don’t want to name drop but… Star Wars. My mind is blown. I just want to take in as much as I can while I am here, I can’t believe that I am 19 years old and I am doing the job that I want to do, it’s not even work to me – I go home and end up wanting to come back, just can’t wait to get back.”