EXCLUSIVE: Sky Studios and DBK Studios are partnering on a five-part short film series that will spotlight the UK’s emerging black and diverse talent, with filmmakers including an assistant on Rapman’s Blue Story and the lead actress from E4’s Russel T Davies show Banana.
The producers said Unearthed Narratives will share a common theme of hard-hitting yet relatable stories, set across different generations and on a wide range of subjects: care work, sickle cell anaemia, social media culture, ‘middle-class hobbies’ in the black community, racism in 1950’s England, and the culture within London housing estates.
The filmmakers, who were mentored through production, are: Edem Wornoo, a well-established music video director who has worked on Dave’s Black and most recently Clash (ft. Stormzy); Charlene Wango who worked assisting Rapman while he directed his debut feature Blue Story with Paramount Pictures and BBC Films; Teniola Zara King who is a graduate of the London Film School and has worked as a producer in Nigeria on mainstream TV dramas; Jessica Magaye who worked in production on Sex Education before starting her writing career; and Nikki Fagbemi, who was lead actress in an episode of Banana (E4), written by Russell T Davies.
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Cast in the films include Stephen Odubola (Blue Story), Hope Ipoku and Malcolm Kamulete (Top Boy), Dorcas Shola Fapson (MTV’s Shuga), Ellis George (Small Axe: Lover’s Rock), Susannah Harker (BAFTA nominated for House of Cards) and Paterson Joseph (Noughts and Crosses).
Unearthed Narratives was commissioned by Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts and Entertainment for Sky and Manpreet Dosanjh commissioning editor for Sky Studios. The series is produced by DBK Studios and executive producers for the show are Koby Adom, Dola Araoye and Domenique Fragale and lead producer Danielle Goff.
Production company DBK Studios was founded by Koby Adom (Noughts and Crosses) in 2018 and is focused on giving a platform to stories from under-represented British creatives.
“Before creating Haircut, I had no foot in the Industry but after making it, masses of opportunities have come my way and my film and TV career is steaming ahead with all the ideas I dreamt of executing now becoming a real possibility. However, coming into this industry, I experienced obstacles that I’d like to prevent other Black and ethnic minority filmmakers from unfairly experiencing,” explained Adom. “I want to help them get that first foot in the door and champion ownership because we have always had the fewest opportunities in the industry and when we do, we have no say in the business end of things.”
“Sometimes opportunities for black and ethnic minority creatives to tell their stories can be on other people’s terms,” added Manpreet Dosanjh, Commissioning Editor Sky Studios. “For Unearthed Narratives, it was very important to us that these filmmakers had full editorial control with Sky Studios only there in a supporting role when we were needed. The ownership and vision of these films remains fully with the creatives and that’s what gives this project authenticity and integrity.”
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