Star Wars actor John Boyega is backing a new project that aims to nurture the next generation of black filmmakers.
The Create Next Film Project aims to help rising stars of the film industry by giving them funding and support to make a short film. As it progresses, it will also highlight issues people of colour face working in the industry.
Each will receive funding to create a five-minute short film, as well as be supported through mentoring from Boyega and a team of creatives including Mathieu Ajan (Bounce Cinema) and Shannie Mears (The Elephant Room).
Across the next six months, each will be guided through the creative process and mentored through key moments including the initial brief, a midpoint creative check-in and at the crucial final edit.
Boyega - who is best-known for playing Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy films The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker (2019) - is working on the Create Next Film Project with shoe brand Converse.
Speaking as the project launched, Golden Globe-winning Boyega said he decided to back the project as he “wanted to create opportunities and pathways for young talent.”
“I approached Converse with a desire to start a domino effect in creating opportunities for those in my position when I first started out – those who work night after night perfecting their craft,” said Boyega.
“Black talent is underrepresented in the film industry, and I knew Converse had a strong track record of supporting underrepresented creatives. I’ve always wanted to create opportunities and pathways for young talent in the film industry and Converse’s goals align with my own.”
“There is a wealth of Black talent looking to start out in the film industry and my mission is to help highlight them. So few jobs in the film industry are filled by Black talent, this partnership with Converse is the first step in me trying to address that.”
The initiative is the latest Converse All Star Project, the brand’s community-focused programme that supports mentorship, commissions and funding for young creatives
He added: “This project isn’t only about five filmmakers. It’s really about every aspiring Black filmmaker in London and beyond. We’re going to document the process so the community can grow alongside the All Stars in this program – learn what they’re learning, seeing what they’re seeing.”