£25k Empower Film Fund to feature Jodie Whittaker amongst the jury

Mar 4, 2024

BAFTA-nominated Ella Glendining, BAFTA-nominated Ameenah Ayub, Mandip Gill to join Jodie Whittaker on Empower Fund Jury.

With access to finance and star power being some of the larger barriers that gatekeep underrepresented filmmakers from getting their work off the ground, a new communityled fund set up in partnership between Primetime and Funding Futures, aims to change this.

The Empower fund will focus on championing female or non-binary filmmakers and will grant one of them access to a minimum of a £10k grant in addition to a camera shooting package hire with a value of up to £15k from HAWK London. BAFTA-nominated Actress, Jodie Whittaker will feature in or voice the final film, with the intention of increasing the visibility of the project and the filmmaker selected.

“Hawk London proudly announces its support for the Empower Fund by Primetime and

Funding Futures. Recognising the extraordinary pool of talent within the UK film industry, We are particularly excited to collaborate with Victoria and her team on this venture. By joining forces, we aim to amplify our impact and foster an environment where diverse voices and stories are not just heard, but celebrated”.

Launched at Cannes Film Festival in 2019, Primetime was established as a global vetted platform to help the Industry find and hire more women above and below the line behind the camera. Their community has members in 70+ countries, including multi-BAFTA, Emmy and Academy Award winners and nominees, with one aim which was to take the excuse of ‘Where are all the women and non-binary folk?’, off the table.

BAFTA-nominated Director, Ella said: “I am deeply passionate about unique stories told from diverse perspectives, and that’s something I will keep at the forefront of my mind when on the jury. Disability and queerness particularly tend to be at the heart of my own storytelling, so I am excited to see if there are scripts that celebrate intersectionality and underrepresented identities in a fresh and exciting way. It’s such an honour to be part of this project and jury, and I can’t wait to get stuck in!”

With the relaunch of the Primetime platform at the beginning of this year, it announced its Founder Membership which has a focus on community-led change. Amongst the offerings, this included the creation of a fund, accessible for their community, paid in for by a part of the the newly established Founder membership.

Mandip said: “I am honoured to be working with Primetime on their first fund. Fuelled as a woman of colour from a working-class background with my own struggles in the industry. I quickly became passionate about championing underrepresented voices from all backgrounds. It is a delight to be working with Jodie once again to further push the importance of inclusion in the Arts.”

Actor and Primetime’s Founder, Victoria Emslie said: “Community-driven change is one of the single most powerful and actionable ways to shake up traditional funding pipelines and the projects that receive finance. By paying in for each other with this focused intentionality, the rise to the top is navigated together as a collective.”

Bournemouth Film School, at Arts University Bournemouth, is proud to partner with Primetime as part of its unique and progressive Funding Futures platform, which houses several funding schemes to support filmmakers, creatives, artists, and innovators that reflect the range of disciplines at the heart of the university.

Will Shutt from Funding Futures said: “The Empower Fund hopes to create a space to make a film with filmmakers that reflects the core values of Primetime’s mission. I’m excited to see the outcome of connecting talented filmmakers with Jodie and the award. It can only lead to something special.”

The fund will be accessible for any female or non-binary filmmaker who has directed at least three short films, one of which must have screened at a BAFTA or Academy qualifying film festival. The teams applying for funding must adhere to BFI Diversity Standards in order be considered. To be the first to hear about applications, filmmakers are encouraged to visit www.primetime.network and create a profile to showcase their work.

“We know that there are many barriers to getting work off the ground, and access to finances should not be one. This is why we will also reserve a number of free and reduced rate scholarship places for those who are not currently Primetime Founder Members.”

Jodie said: “Being a part of this exciting journey and having the opportunity to work with talented new voices & creatives is an absolute joy. I can’t wait to work alongside Victoria and the amazing team at Primetime.”

The fund marks the second project Victoria and Will have undertaken together, having worked on the Creative England/ BFI Network short film Run It Off.

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