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Chris Young to spearhead newly established Sean Connery Talent Lab

Jan 25, 2024

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) announce acclaimed Scottish film producer and founder of Young Films, Chris Young will lead the inaugural Sean Connery Talent Lab as part of the expansion of NFTS Scotland. Bringing a wealth of industry expertise and a legacy of close to four decades in filmmaking, Chris will spearhead the transformative 12-month programme aimed at developing emerging filmmakers across Scotland and the UK.

Aspiring writers/directors, producers, cinematographers, editors and production designers have until midnight on 29th January to apply, with the first cohort embarking on their training journey in Leith, Edinburgh from April. To ensure the programme is as accessible to as many people as possible, each of the 30 places are substantially subsidised, with 70% of fees generously underwritten by the Sean Connery Foundation.

Since its inception in 1986, Young Films has become synonymous with critically acclaimed and award-winning productions, spanning feature films and television. From early successes like Venus Peter and Gregory’s Two Girls to developing The Inbetweeners for Channel 4, with the spin off film, The Inbetweeners Movie becoming the UK’s highest-grossing comedy film, Chris Young has been at the forefront of shaping the Scottish film landscape. His commitment to fostering talent is evident in initiatives such as the nine-series Scottish Gaelic drama Bannan, created on the Isle of Skye, and the establishment of the Young Films Foundation in 2017, focused on training the next generation of Scottish screenwriters.

The Sean Connery Talent Lab is set to become a cornerstone of the Scottish film industry. In his role as head of the Sean Connery Talent Lab, Chris Young will leverage his extensive experience to guide and mentor 30 emerging creatives as they hone and develop their craft and increase the scale and ambition of their work. They will bring to life their own unique short films, made with the support of BBC Film.

The NFTS has partnered with the Sean Connery Foundation for the Sean Connery Talent Lab and it is supported by a wide range of other industry partners, trusts and foundations who have pledged their support to underpin the programme with additional funding, bursaries and scholarships. BBC Film is the production partner with several other partners joining the Talent Lab including: The Dana and Albert Broccoli Foundation, FirstStage Studios, Blazing Griffin, DNA Films, Hartswood Films, Juniper Trust, LS Productions, the Rank Foundation and Synchronicity Films.

After 12 intensive months, the Sean Connery Talent Lab will culminate in the creation of six short films that will serve as powerful industry ‘calling cards’, offering an invaluable launchpad for the 30 talented individuals to make their mark on the world of film. The final films will be submitted for both UK and international film festivals and will premiere at a prestigious showcase event, with industry figures from across Scotland, the UK and beyond invited to attend the screenings. Upon successful completion of the programme, participants will be awarded an NFTS Diploma in Filmmaking.

Jon Wardle, NFTS Director said: “We are delighted to welcome Chris Young as head of the Sean Connery Talent Lab. This is an exceptional opportunity for the brightest talents in Scottish filmmaking to harness their unique creative voices and under the guidance of Chris, the Sean Connery Talent Lab is poised to make a lasting impression on the Scottish creative industry and beyond.”

Chris Young, Head of the Sean Connery Talent Lab commented: “For over 35 years, my unwavering passion has been to cultivate, sustain, and champion new talent in Scotland. This journey began with the establishment of Young Films, and I am thrilled to continue this mission by leading the Sean Connery Talent Lab in collaboration with the NFTS. The Lab represents an exciting opportunity to usher in a dynamic new generation of world-class filmmakers in Scotland, spanning crucial disciplines. Much like the NFTS has done over the years, and continues to do, the Sean Connery Talent Lab is poised to leave an indelible mark on the industry. To all those with talent and aspirations to contribute to the vibrant Film and TV landscape in Scotland, I wholeheartedly encourage you to apply. This Lab is more than just a programme; it’s a game-changer for Scotland, and its impact will reverberate across the industry for years to come.”

Stephane Connery, Chair of the Sean Connery Foundation said: “Chris Young’s infectious energy, connections across industry, and demonstrated commitment to launching breakthrough talent make him the ideal choice as the inaugural leader of the Sean Connery Talent Lab.” Jason Connery added: “We are so grateful to our partners who have come onboard, and we are keen to meet the first group of creators when the Talent Lab kicks off in the Spring.”

Applications for the Sean Connery Talent Lab will close at midnight on Monday 29th January 2024.

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