Funding boost for project helping to give young filmmakers a break

Students at Beacon Hill Arts working on one of their films.
Students at Beacon Hill Arts working on one of their films.

A project helping disabled people get involved in the film industry has received a funding boost.

Beacon Hill Arts is one of four organisations in the UK to get backing from the first round of the Spirit of 2012’s Arts and Culture Challenge Fund.

This new programme will be an excellent opportunity to pass on, and improve skills, knowledge and understanding of the video production industry

Juliet Fraser, filmmaker and Beacon Hill Arts Steering Group member

Beacon Hill Arts’ project is a talent development programme called “Viewfinder” for filmmakers with learning disabilities, autism and additional needs.

Project members will attend a regular programme of Filmmaking Surgeries to develop talents in specific film production areas, and showcase their abilities through a series of professionally commissioned filmmaking opportunities.

Juliet Fraser, filmmaker and Beacon Hill Arts Steering Group member, said: “This new programme will be an excellent opportunity to pass on, and improve skills, knowledge and understanding of the video production industry.”

With over 60 festival screenings across three continents and more than 20 awards, Beacon Hill Arts has developed an impressive track record in supporting filmmakers with disabilities and autism create and exhibit convention-breaking and ambitious work.

Andrew Coats, creative director at Beacon Hill Arts, said: “We are so delighted that our Spirit of 2012 project has been successful.

“Our Viewfinder project will offer a lasting opportunity for talented filmmakers with learning disabilities, autism and additional needs to develop and progress their skills and bring them closer to achieving their creative and personal ambitions within the film industry and beyond.”

Will Sadler, development director, added: “People with disabilities and autism are chronically underrepresented in the film and TV industries. The talent and potential of filmmakers with disabilities needs to be recognised and supported.”

Debbie Lye, chief executive of Spirit, said: “I am confident we have selected four outstanding projects, in spite of receiving many wonderful applications.

“It was hugely encouraging to see the quality of activity going on across the country, and just how many organisations are working to create lasting social change through creativity.”

The programme will begin in September 2015.

For more information visit www.beaconhillarts.org.uk/viewfinder