Thirty trainees will be offered jobs on the next Star Wars film as part of a programme that gives young people from under-represented backgrounds the chance to work in the industry.
The BFI (British Film Institute) and Lucasfilm announced the the next round of the BFI Film Academy Future Skills programme at a special presentation of Solo: A Star Wars Story at BFI Southbank on Wednesday night.
The programme will have places for 30 new young people, the majority who are graduates from the BFI Film Academy.
They will work as paid trainees in a variety of craft and technical roles on the next Star Wars film, Episode IX, which is in production at Pinewood from July 2018.
It follows a successful pilot of the programme with Lucasfilm on Solo: A Star Wars Story in 2017, which placed 28 trainees in production roles ranging from sound and lighting to art department and camera.
Some of the trainees discussed their experiences on stage at Wednesday night’s event, which was attended by cast members Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Thandie Newton.
In the first porgramme, 75% of the trainees were women, 45% came from black, Asian and minority ethic backgrounds, 68% were recruited from outside Greater London, and 36% received free school meals.
Since completing Future Skills, many participants have gone on to work on other productions including Artemis Fowl, Wonder Woman 2, Blinded By The Light, Men In Black, Dr Dolittle, Mary Poppins, Pinocchio and Star Wars Episode IX.
Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “It is great to see the British Film Institute continuing to lead the way in creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce for our thriving film industry.
“Diversity is not only the right thing to do but it also makes good business sense.”
I have often said that talent is everywhere, but opportunity isn’tAmanda Nevill
Jason McGatlin, Lucasfilm SVP of physical production and executive producer on Solo: A Star Wars Story, said the programme is “so important in bringing more diversity behind the camera, which is vital if we are going to have films that represent the world we live in”.
“The BFI Film Academy trainees took on their roles with great passion and commitment and it’s wonderful to see so many of them moving on to future careers in the industry,” he said.
BFI CEO Amanda Nevill said: “I have often said that talent is everywhere, but opportunity isn’t.
“This brilliant and pioneering programme with Lucasfilm proves it’s true. I thank them for having the foresight to give these incredibly talented young people a genuine opportunity to develop their skills and confidence and learn from the very best on one of the most iconic film franchises in the world.
“Film and television is booming but its success depends on bringing more skilled workers to the industry and, crucially, ensuring the workforce is truly diverse and inclusive.”