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Netflix on Tuesday unveiled five filmmaking teams who will receive funding and professional support to make short documentaries on the theme of ‘Connection’ in the second year of the global streamer’s UK Documentary Talent Fund.
The winners were selected from thousands of entries, with a shortlist of 12 teams invited to Netflix UK headquarters to present their projects before a panel of industry experts.
The five selected projects and directorial teams are:
Let Snowball and Abolfazl In My House – Yellow Pages of Iran.
Iranians in London, caught between two cultures, seek connection by placing weird and wonderful ads in the Iranian Yellow Pages.
Anna Rodgers & Zlata Filipovic – Two mothers.
An unusual bond forces an Irish mother of twins to travel to war-torn Ukraine to rescue the woman who was carrying her babies.
Caroline Williamson & Troi Lee – Turn up the bass.
This is the remarkable story of Troi Lee (aka ‘DJ Chinaman’), a deaf DJ and pioneer of the UK’s deaf rave scene, as she puts on her 20th anniversary show.
Logan Rea & Krishna Istha – First quarter.
The film follows a transgender performance artist as he interviews hundreds of potential sperm donors live on stage in search of the perfect connection, one that will allow him and his partner to start their own family.
Olivia Smart – Black people can’t swim.
Drowning is not an option as three people face their greatest fear.
“Each team will now have the power to produce an 8-12 minute short documentary with a budget of £30,000 ($x,000) to be released on Netflix’s YouTube channel in the new year,” the company said. “As part of the process, they will now undergo a training course from Netflix specialists who will educate and host workshops covering all aspects of production, including legal, creative, HR, production and finance.”
The Netflix Documentary Talent Fund was created to “break down barriers to entry for emerging filmmakers”, providing a foundation of knowledge and hands-on training for filmmakers across the UK and Ireland.
“The fund’s inaugural year recipients have enjoyed great success with their films,” said Netflix. “Languages of love, a film by Jason Osborne and Precious Mahaga, was shortlisted for Best British Short Film by the BAFTAs this year. … First year winner Tobi Kyeremateng, who made her directorial debut with her film ÓWAMBÉwon the 2023 BAFTA TV Award for Short Form Program for his next project How to be a person. Fund alumni Beya Kabelu and Shiva Raichandani were also nominated in the same category, for their follow-up work. The 10 Films of Year 1 saw over 40 festival screenings, including (a) Urbanworld Film Festival, Iris Prize, London Short Film Festival and Aesthetica.
Kate Townsend, Netflix’s London vp, said: “Last years it was a huge success with the filmmakers really making the most of the opportunity and leaping towards other projects and even BAFTA nominations. We are thrilled today to announce our sophomore cohort who we are confident will continue to supercharge their careers as well.”
The five films selected for support offer different interpretations of the theme of connection. “From the incredible story of two mothers with a unique bond in Ireland, to bringing communities together as part of the Hackney rave scene, we can’t wait to kick off production on these documentaries and see what these filmmakers can achieve.” . said Townsend. “Sky’s the limit!”
Townsend headed the judging panel to select this year’s winners. She also included Julia Nottingham, founder and CEO of Dorothy Street Pictures; Orlando Von Einsiedel, founder of Grain Media and Oscar- and BIFA-winning director of Virunga, The White Helmets and Evelyn; Tamana Ayazi, director of In his hands); Jenny Popplewell, director of American Homicide: The Family Next Door; Alex Brunati, co-founder and line producer of Blue Cuckoo; Tanisha Artman, CEO of SBTV; Jonny Taylor, director of original documentaries commissioned by Netflix in London; as well as Netflix UK marketing executives Aaron Lynch and Bri Akakpo.