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TNB XPO Returns to Spotlight and Support Black Talent in the Screen Industry

The New Black Film Collective, a prominent film network in the UK, is gearing up for the third iteration of TNB XPO this March, with a dedicated focus on closing the “opportunity gap” faced by Black individuals in the realms of film, television, and broader screen disciplines such as gaming.

The event will feature eminent speakers from notable institutions like Film London, the British Film Institute (BFI) and Warner Bros. Discovery, aiming to connect Black talent with industry experts, professionals, and importantly, decision-makers who can provide essential advice, mentorship, and direction for career opportunities both on-screen and in behind-the-scenes capacities.

Acknowledging the disproportionate challenges Black talent encounters, including fewer early career opportunities and a narrower margin for error, Priscilla Igwe, Founder and CEO of The New Black Film Collective, stated: “Black practitioners are not just shut out from opportunities, but they’re also held to an unrealistic standard of excellence to prove themselves. We want the screen industries in the UK to not just look at the accessibility of their opportunities, but also to adopt a strategy focussed on nurturing and cultivating Black talent.

“So, on top of opportunities for work, we’re talking about a ‘whole career approach’, for people in front of the camera or in behind-the-scenes roles. Skills development, mentoring, confidence building, fair pay are essential, that’s why we’re thrilled to welcome the likes of Warner Bros. Discovery, Film London and the BFI; all of these organisations have active programmes in place to enable the success of Black people in the UK film, TV and games industries.

“The creative sector is already the engine of the UK economy, contributing £109 billion in 2021. Just imagine what we could achieve with more talent, new skills, different experiences, new perspectives!”

Kicking off with a reception on the evening of Monday, 25 March, TNB XPO will unfold over the following three days at Rich Mix, located in the cultural heart of London’s East End, featuring a rich agenda of discussions, interactive workshops, pitch sessions, and networking opportunities.

An international online session scheduled for Thursday, 28 March aims to bridge industry professionals and audiences from the global African Diaspora.

Keynote speaker Rico Johnson-Sinclair, from Warner Bros. Discovery’s CrewHQ, will address the critical importance of inclusivity in the sector: “There is so much potential in our industry and historically fewer opportunities for Black and Global Majority people above and below-the-line.

“Positive cultures are important to break down barriers of entry and progression within our industry as well as strong and sustained interventions to level the playing field.

“That is why events such as this are so important. Changes in our industry’s structures and systems are overdue and that starts by celebrating Black and Global Majority talent.”

Participants will also have the opportunity to engage with Black creatives, animators, and filmmakers, with a special focus on the new group of Black-identifying animators from FLAMIN, and a chance for producers to pitch their projects to industry gatekeepers.

Film London’s Head of Skills, Babak Jani, expressed his anticipation for the event: “I am delighted to be speaking at this year’s TNB XPO and look forward to sharing exciting information about a new skills cluster in the capital. This fills me with pride, sculpting new avenues for growth, innovation, and prosperity.

“The foundation of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is our bedrock as we cultivate the productive ground for our creative industry’s growth and employability, ushering in an era of boundless possibilities.”

The conference will also delve into initiatives and programmes aimed at fostering a more inclusive industry, with contributions from BECTUDoc SocietyRenaissance Studios, and others. A highlight will be Warner Bros. Discovery’s revisit of their Black Britain Unspoken initiative.

Also on stage at Rich Mix will be insights from Documentary Film Council (DFC) on advocating for independent non-fiction production, Film Distributors’ Association demystifying the exhibition, distribution and sales process plus a unique look at Black representation in film collections and handling of materials from the team at London’s Screen Archives.

TNB XPO serves as a vital hub for Black creatives, offering a comprehensive lineup of film showcases, networking, and a recruitment fair. The event is free to attend for anyone involved in the UK screen industries, with tickets available at tnbfc.co.uk/tnb-xpo-2024.

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