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Home > News > September 2005 > 22-Sep-2005

Skillset launches mentoring scheme for film professionals

A new initiative pairing established industry figures such as Gurindha Chadha, Simon Pegg, Paul Greengrass, and Michael Kuhn, with young film professionals has been announced by Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for the audio visual industries.

'Guiding Lights', run by Brighton based training provider Lighthouse, is a year long programme of mentoring, advice and support for 25 people in the early stages of their film careers.

Judy Counihan, director of film at Skillset, said: "'Guiding Lights' will identify emerging talent from diverse backgrounds and match them with top industry figures. Over 12 months those new talents will learn from the best and most experienced practitioners working in the UK film industry today. It is an amazing opportunity for young professionals to further their careers and for the industry to help nurture the new talent needed for future success."

Tim Bevan, co-chairman of Working Title and chair of the Guiding Lights Steering Committee, said: "Training in film is very difficult as most skills used in the movie business from producer to production runner are learnt on the job. This is why the concept of mentoring is such a good one for our industry. Having a formal bond where someone learning about their chosen career in the industry can have ongoing advice from someone with great experience should be invaluable and help in the demystifying of all of our roles."

Skillset said mentors and mentees will be carefully matched and a personal development plan agreed with each mentee. As well as having regular monthly contact, where appropriate, mentees will get the chance to shadow their mentor in the workplace.

A nationwide call for applications for mentees opens on 15 September 2005, closing on 1 November 2005. Eligible applicants are writers, directors, producers, distributors, exhibitors, marketing executives, film publicists, sales agents, talent agents and business affairs executives who can demonstrate experience within the film industry.

Confirmed mentor Marc Boothe, producer of 'Bullet Boy' and a member of the steering committee, said: "The film business, like any other business is not just about what you know, but who you know. The 'Guiding Lights' initiative is not just about supporting tomorrow's talent today, its also one of the few initiatives that will connect talent, regardless of their background, with the desire, ambition and talent to succeed, with some of the smartest and sharpest minds in the business."

Cameron McCracken, deputy MD of Pathe, and steering committee member, said: "One-to-one mentoring with experienced industry insiders offers a warts-and-all immediacy to the learning process. I can't think of a more effective way of delivering a custom made education."

Confirmed mentor Shawn Slovo, screenwriter of 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin', said: "For screenwriters, the 'Guiding Lights' mentoring scheme is an opportunity to develop projects through a dynamic relationship with a working professional. And for the mentors, this is a chance to share some of the skills and experience gained working in the industry, and to participate in a creative process with another writer."

Shane Meadows, director of 'Dead Man's Shoes' and a member of the steering committee, said: "The idea of mentoring in the current climate of the British Film Industry is revolutionary. To give support to up and coming film makers who would ordinarily struggle to find such help is great. It draws upon more established artists talent and passes it on to those who need it, in a first hand and easy to understand way. I am excited by the concept and look forward to witnessing the fruits of this wonderful project in the years to come"

The scheme is a part of 'A Bigger Future', the UK film skills strategy, a joint project between Skillset and the UK Film Council to help address skills development across all job roles in the film industry. All initiatives under 'A Bigger Future' are funded by the Skillset Film Skills Fund made up of lottery money via the UK Film Council and industry investment.

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Related Information

For related news, case studies, articles and research, visit our Coaching and mentoring home page

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