Netflix has announced that it is investing £350,000 to support the development of diverse British creatives.

The investment is part of the $5M Fund Netflix created in July 2020 to create opportunities for Black creators and youth, and the recent launch of their UK Documentary Talent Fund.

The projects that will benefit from the £350k include:

  • 30 full, year-long scholarships for students from Femi Oguns’ Identity School of Acting, which nurtured stars like John Boyega, Michaela Coel, and Letitia Wright;
  • Doubling the number of young people Million Youth Media work with across the UK;
  • Mama Youth Project in expanding its work and train more young people so they are better prepared for broadcast and media jobs.

These schemes are in addition to initiatives Netflix already has in place with production partners – for example, the Top Boy directors shadow scheme with Cowboy Films, in which four up-and-coming directors shadowed the show’s director for eight weeks each. One of them, Nia DaCosta, has since been tapped to direct Marvel’s sequel to Captain Marvel and recently achieved critical success for her film Miss Juneteenth.

Anne Mensah, Netflix Vice President, Original Series says, “I believe the UK industry is changing. And although this change is slow, the wealth of young diverse British voices fighting their way to the top of the industry fills me with hope and excitement. Creators like Theresa Ikoko, Charlie Covell, and John Boyega resonate not just in the UK but across the world. But this is not enough. I believe we need to do more, not just to support the current generation of British talent, but also to develop a more inclusive pipeline of upcoming creatives across the entire production process.

I first met Bob Clarke, the founder, and CEO of Mama Youth, when I was at Sky. He blew me away with the depth of his personal connection to its students and perseverance over many years to drive positive change at times when the wider industry took no notice and quite frankly didn’t care.

I have the same deep admiration for all the inspirational people who saw what needed to be done in the TV & Film sector. For over a decade Femi Oguns, Teddy Nygh, Rosa Powlowski, Nicky Bedu, and Bob Clarke have worked tirelessly to develop opportunities for underrepresented talent. They understood the importance of diversity in storytelling before many others, relying on their own time and money to create three extraordinary organizations – Identity School of Acting, Million Youth Media, and Mama Youth – to provide young Brits with skills and training as well as their first break in our industry.

Our members come from all across the UK, and all around the world. We succeed when our series and films like Sex Education, His House, and Top Boy not only entertain people but also help them connect to new voices, cultures, and perspectives. This is only the beginning.