Celebration of Black Talent in Screen Industry to Address “Opportunity Gap” at TNB XPO

The New Black Film Collective, a UK-based cinema network, is set to host the third annual TNB XPO this March, focusing on bridging the “opportunity gap” for Black professionals in the film, television, and extended screen industries, including gaming.

Confirmed speakers from prestigious organisations such as Film London, the British Film Institute (BFI) and Warner Bros. Discovery will converge at TNB XPO to offer guidance, mentorship, and highlight opportunities for Black creatives, both in front of the camera and in technical roles.

The collective recognises the challenges faced by Black actors and creatives, who often encounter limited opportunities early in their careers and face a higher threshold for success. Priscilla Igwe, Founder and CEO of The New Black Film Collective, elaborated: “Black practitioners are not just shut out from opportunities, but they’re also held to an unrealistic standard of excellence to prove themselves. We want the screen industries in the UK to not just look at the accessibility of their opportunities, but also to adopt a strategy focussed on nurturing and cultivating Black talent.

“So, on top of opportunities for work, we’re talking about a ‘whole career approach’, for people in front of the camera or in behind-the-scenes roles. Skills development, mentoring, confidence building, fair pay are essential, that’s why we’re thrilled to welcome the likes of Warner Bros. Discovery, Film London and the BFI; all of these organisations have active programmes in place to enable the success of Black people in the UK film, TV and games industries.

“The creative sector is already the engine of the UK economy, contributing £109 billion in 2021. Just imagine what we could achieve with more talent, new skills, different experiences, new perspectives!”

The TNB XPO will commence with an evening reception on Monday, 25 March, followed by three days of insightful talks, interactive sessions, pitching opportunities, and networking at Rich Mix in London’s vibrant East End.

An online session on Thursday, 28 March will connect international audiences with industry leaders from the African Diaspora.

Rico Johnson-Sinclair, Skills and Training Director at Warner Bros. Discovery’s CrewHQ, will deliver a keynote on the critical need for inclusivity in the industry: “There is so much potential in our industry and historically fewer opportunities for Black and Global Majority people above and below-the-line.

“Positive cultures are important to break down barriers of entry and progression within our industry as well as strong and sustained interventions to level the playing field.

“That is why events such as this are so important. Changes in our industry’s structures and systems are overdue and that starts by celebrating Black and Global Majority talent.”

The event will showcase the latest cohort of Black-identifying animators from Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN) and provide a platform for producers to pitch their ideas to key industry figures.

Babak Jani, newly appointed Head of Skills at Film London, shared his enthusiasm for the event: “I am delighted to be speaking at this year’s TNB XPO and look forward to sharing exciting information about a new skills cluster in the capital. This fills me with pride, sculpting new avenues for growth, innovation, and prosperity.

“The foundation of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is our bedrock as we cultivate the productive ground for our creative industry’s growth and employability, ushering in an era of boundless possibilities.”

The TNB XPO will also feature discussions on creating a more inclusive industry, with insights from BECTUDoc SocietyRenaissance Studios, among others. Warner Bros. Discovery will revisit its Black Britain Unspoken programme, supporting Black British storytellers.

Also on stage at Rich Mix will be insights from Documentary Film Council (DFC) on advocating for independent non-fiction production, Film Distributors’ Association demystifying the exhibition, distribution and sales process plus a unique look at Black representation in film collections and handling of materials from the team at London’s Screen Archives.

TNB XPO aims to be a comprehensive platform for Black creatives, offering film showcases, networking opportunities, and a recruitment fair. The event is free and open to anyone in the UK screen industries. Tickets are available at tnbfc.co.uk/tnb-xpo-2024.

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