Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn launch new scheme to improve diversity in movie industry

Ian Sandwell
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

From Digital Spy

A lack of diversity within the movie and TV industry, both in front and behind the camera, has been widely criticised over recent months.

Now Sherlock Holmes and Kingsman makers Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn have teamed up with Creative Access for a new initiative, one aimed at improving the shockingly low BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) representation in the UK industry.

As Ritchie pointed out on Twitter, the most recent figures show that BAME representation in the UK movie industry stands at only 3%, while in terms of the population, around 70% of the UK movie industry is concentrated in-and-around London.

Photo credit: Slaven Vlasic - Getty Images

Set Access is dedicated to promoting a more inclusive workforce and Ritchie, along with Vaughn, will play an integral role in the programme, funding "at least" the first year.

As part of this, both filmmakers have committed to hiring 10 paid interns from disadvantaged backgrounds across key departments on the production teams of their next movies.

Ritchie will also approach other filmmakers to join the programme as mentors and to also commit to paid internships on their next productions.

For Vaughn, that could mean working on the currently-untitled Kingsman 3 (not to be confused with the prequel The King's Man). Ritchie's next movie is Cash Truck, with Jason Statham, but that's already been filmed.

Photo credit: Giles Keyte

"Young Black people from disadvantaged backgrounds are too often at the bottom of the ladder when it comes to career opportunities, especially those in creative industries often perceived as 'closed'," said Ritchie.

"We have a very modest initial goal of placing 50 young black trainees in productions as soon as the current situation allows.

"With the help, support and guidance of others in the industry we hope that our pilot scheme will grow quickly and our aim is to dramatically increase those numbers and then, as soon as we can, open up the on-set training opportunities to young people from all disadvantaged and under-represented communities – irrespective of the colour of their skin."

Vaughn added: "Real change is not only about enabling candidates to get a foot through the door but ensuring that they will thrive once they do so.

"We want to see candidates from a diversity of backgrounds flourish and gain senior roles, in turn offering their insight when bringing in new talent. It is from here we can enable enduring representation in the creative industries."

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

The internships, which will also feature a programme of mentoring, peer support and masterclasses, will be advertised on the Creative Access Opportunities page on Creative Access's website.

There will also be a Development Programme for emerging talent, aimed at ensuring those that "don't fit the creative industries norm" to get equal access to training, pay rises and promotions to reach senior levels within the industry.

It's an important initiative that will hopefully lead to positive change within the industry over the years to come.

Set Access follows a recent powerful letter from more than 4,600 names across TV and movies that called for fundamental changes to the industry. It stated that "after decades of enabling racism" it is "time to do more".

For more information on how you can support Black Lives Matter, please visit its official website or donate here. Readers can also donate to the UK anti-discrimination group Stand Up To Racism, and the Unite Families & Friends Campaign, which supports those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody.

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