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Andrew Haigh Weekend
A still from Andrew Haigh's film Weekend

Calling all LGBT filmmakers! BFI launches mentorship scheme

The BFI wants to help emerging UK directors replicate the success of films like Pride and Weekend

The film industry has been given a hard time over its lack of diversity of late (and Benedict Cumberbatch calling black actors "coloured" didn't help either). But as a new BFI film initiative points out, the debate over diversity in movies shouldn't just extend to ethnic minorities. It's about time we saw more lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans voices take centre stage, too. To that end, the organisation is kickstarting a mentorship scheme to give five LGBT-identified filmmakers a helping hand.

"Much has been written about the industry’s failure to recruit and develop female and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) filmmakers, and rightly so," the BFI said in a statement. "But the plight of LGBT film and filmmakers is less visible, and no less pressing."

"We’ve had a few recent UK success stories: the critical and commercial success of Pride, of course, but also Hong Khaou’s recent BAFTA nomination for Lilting, and Andrew Haigh breaking through to wider global success with HBO’s Looking, after making his mark with UK indie feature Weekend."

Launched by BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival, the nine-month scheme will give five filmmakers the chance to hone their craft within the industry. To apply, you must be UK-based and have written, produced or directed a film that has screened at BFI Flare or one of BAFTA's qualifying film festivals and have a feature film project in the works.

Successful applicants will receive mentoring from a leading figure in the UK film industry, access to industry talks and events and a roundtable with all other mentors and mentees. Does this sound perfect for you? Apply here.