PGGB and BFC complete inaugural diversity scheme with reception at House of Commons
The Production Guild of Great Britain (PGGB), in partnership with the British Film Commission (BFC), celebrated the completion of its inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Mentor Scheme. The scheme launched in August 2021 with the core aim of helping underrepresented talent working in UK film and High-End TV production reach the next level of their career in their chosen field. An evening reception at the House of Commons marked the occasion.
“What a valuable experience the last six months has been for our mentees,” says Lyndsay Duthie, PGGB’s CEO. “They have soaked up guidance and picked the brains of experienced senior figures behind some of the most successful UK-produced films and TV dramas of recent years. A supply of talented crew is vital for the production industry’s continued growth. More equal and inclusive hiring practices are also crucial if we’re going to tap into the best new and emerging talent. I’m proud to see our mentoring scheme providing such beneficial progression for individuals who have encountered barriers in the past.”
The event was hosted by Kemi Badenoch, the Minister for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. 15 talented mentees - working at entry, early, experienced and expert levels in departments represented by PGGB’S membership (including production, accounts, assistant directing, locations, post-production and VFX) were matched with experienced senior industry mentors who have worked on some of the biggest titles recently made in the UK, such as Killing Eve, Luther and Gangs of London.
Jay Ruthnam, a legal and business affairs professional moving into scripted production, was mentored by Bianca Gavin, Pulse Films’ Head of Production (Scripted Division). Gavin’s credits include the critically acclaimed second season of Gangs of London (Sky Atlantic) and forthcoming feature film Perfect directed by Olivia Wilde.
“For years I’d been slowly making my way towards the decision of changing careers from law to TV production,” explains Jay. “Bianca provided helpful, candid and clear guidance over our six months of talking together. She not only gave advice on how best to navigate the industry, but shared her own experiences - the challenges, lessons learnt and the enjoyment the work brings. Together we planned a series of steps, including attending PGGB/BFC Production Coordinator training where I connected with a larger group of talented people with similar goals and learnt how best to prepare my CV. With Bianca's mentoring, I was able to accelerate my plans and confidently achieve my goal, finally making the move into production.”
Emerging production accountant Michael John Kilpatrick was mentored by Ruby Avards, who won the Production Guild of Great Britain Spotlight on New Talent award in 2018 when she was an Assistant Production Accountant. Avards has since risen to the role of Financial Controller on credits including Lena Dunham’s upcoming feature Catherine, Called Birdy (Working Title/Amazon) and Wes Anderson’s upcoming feature The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (Netflix).
“It’s great to have the ability to have open, candid and frank conversations with such an established industry practitioner as Ruby,” Michael details. “Ultimately, mentorship is a personal journey of self-reflection and Ruby is helping me build the toolset one requires to succeed.”
The 15 mentees and their mentors were:
- Anthony C. Green, camera operator moving into producing - Christopher Granier-Deferre, producer (Gone Too Far, Scarborough) and executive producer (County Lines, Lady Macbeth, The Levelling)
- Anand Tiwari, recent graduate moving into production - Valeria Bullo, Project Lead for the Film and TV Charity’s Whole Picture Programme, previously Production Consultant, Protagonist Pictures and Production Executive, Pathe (Judy, Selma, Pride, Suffragette)
- Bernadette D’Mello, Executive Assistant and Production Coordinator - Jane Soans, location manager (Brave New World, Closer, Zero Dark Thirty, Me and Orson Welles)
- Cheyenne Conway, experienced unit production manager - Alex Boden, PGGB Chairman and producer (Cursed, Sense8, Cloud Atlas, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
- Darius Midcalf, entry level post-production & VFX - Dee Allen, Vice President for Artists & Client Relations at Company 3/Method Studios and Managing Partner at No Chiefs
- Dawn Furness - Victoria Dabbs, line producer (Elizabeth is Missing, Our Ladies, Malevolent, Tommy's Honour)
- Fi Lewis, emerging scripted and unscripted producer - Andy Noble, producer (Creation Stories, Killing Eve, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, Extraordinary Rendition)
- Jay Ruthnam, legal and business affairs professional moving into scripted production - Bianca Gavin, Head of Production (Scripted Division) at Pulse Films (Gangs of London 2)
- Katrina Grey, actor/writer/director moving into production - Samantha Brayson, production accountant (The Bubble, The Little Mermaid, Pennyworth, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil)
- Michael John Kilpatrick, emerging production accountant (Game of Thrones, Dungeons & Dragons, The Son) - Ruby Avards, financial controller (Untitled Wes Anderson project, Catherine Called Birdy, Mothering Sunday)
- Paul Reilly, production assistant moving into production coordinating - Jacquie Glanville, Head of Production, Dancing Ledge Productions (for BBC Studios - Time, Luther, Three Girls, Dr Who)
- Reshma Madhi, production assistant - Alice Dawson, line producer (Yardie, The North Water, The Father, Blinded by the Light)
- Joshua Fakunmoju, gaffer moving into cinematography or directing - Mia Martell, producer (Slate and Diamonds, Take Away, Ben Hur, Dunkirk)
- K.C. Hughes, early-stage producer - Christopher Granier-Deferre, executive producer (credits above)
- Surani Himasha Weerappulige, acquisitions, licensing and research professional from a film festival background, moving into producing - Victoria Dabbs, line producer (credits above)
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