Young Londoners from underrepresented communities will work behind the camera on high-end productions like Universal’s Wicked and Fast X under the auspices of NBCUniversal’s Below-the-Line Traineeship.
The initiative announced on Thursday (May 12) is part of The Mayor of London, Film London and NBCUniversal’s joint commitment to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion within film production and supporting careers within the creative industries.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan joined Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley and Film London chief executive Adrian Wootton at Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles on his four-day US trip to support London’s economic recovery from the pandemic and promote the capital to international visitors as part a £10m ($12m) international tourism campaign.
Wicked and Fast X will film in London and trainees from Film London’s Equal Access Network (EAN) have already started work on Fast X working in the props, costume, assistant directing, camera, production and digital imaging technician departments.
Funding for the traineeship comes through Comcast NBCUniversal’s $100m commitment to help address systemic racism and inequality and was launched last year by the studio’s global talent development and Inclusion department providing on and off-the-job training and mentorship across select below-the-line departments.
It is estimated the UK film and TV industry will be worth more than £6bn ($7.3bn) by 2024/25. Conservative projections estimate the UK film industry needs 50,000 jobs over the next few years.
The studio has invested in the Sky Studios Elstree site under construction north of London. Once complete the venue will Sky is forecast to attract some £3bn ($3.7bn) in new production investment in the capital over the first five years. It will host Sky Originals, productions from Universal, Focus Features and Working Title, and TV series from Universal International Studios.
Khan said, “Our capital’s booming film industry is helping to drive our economic recovery, but it’s vital that we ensure that Londoners from all backgrounds can benefit.”
“Extending the Comcast NBCUniversal’s Foundation’s work to London is the natural next step for us with our deep history and ongoing connection with the UK and its thriving filmmaking community,” said Langley.
Wootton added, “This brings life-changing opportunities for Londoners, in a sector more invested than ever in long term growth in the capital. Equality of opportunity is vital, as is developing a diverse workforce that represents our city. This partnership provides people from underrepresented communities with direct pathways into training and paid roles in film and TV, building on the existing success of Film London’s Equal Access Network, and our new Creative Hub as part of the Mayor’s Creative Screen Sector Skills Academy, providing training and good jobs in the film and TV industries.”
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