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Netflix’s inaugural documentary talent fund launches 10 short films

Collage of posters for three of the documentaries made as part of Netflix UK Documentary Talent Fund (Netflix/PA)
Collage of posters for three of the documentaries made as part of Netflix UK Documentary Talent Fund (Netflix/PA)

Documentaries exploring drag communities, Nigerian party culture and beekeeping are among those that have been created by the recipients of Netflix’s inaugural documentary talent fund.

Ten UK filmmakers received £40,000 to create their own documentary short film where they had to answer the brief: “Britain’s Not Boring And Here’s a Story”.

The documentaries premiered at an event in London on Tuesday and will be live-streamed to Netflix’s 22.2 million TikTok followers on Friday at 7pm.

Still from Peach Paradise by Shiva Raichandani and Chi Thai (Netflix/PA)

Among the projects is a short film by Tobi Kyeremateng, titled OWAMBE, which explores how Nigerians have created a spirit of celebration and brought the soul of their party culture to community halls across Britain.

The documentary Peach Paradise by Shiva Raichandani and Chi Thai follows a non-binary Japanese-Irish drag artist who takes on the UK’s cabaret scene and works to dismantle racial stereotypes through their performance.

Dhivya Kate Chetty’s film The Bee Whisperer looks at community and migration through one man and his bees and Beya Kabelu’s The Detective & The Dog Thief explores how every four hours a pet in Britain is stolen.

The animal theme continues as Jakob Lancaster and Sorcha Bacon look at how London’s oldest fish market faces closure and a seal called Sammy who has been visiting the market for 20 years is its only hope in Seal And The City.

Still from OWAMBE by Tobi Kyeremateng (Netflix)

Tavie Tiffany Agama highlights the entrepreneurial women who work in London markets in the Women Of The Market and Sean Mullan and Michael Barwise follow a young Derry-Londonderry rapper, who goes by HYFIN, who is told that a Northern Irish accent cannot rap.

Jason Osborne and Precious Mahaga’s Love Languages looks at six black British men sharing their personal experiences of love, loss and masculinity while Daisy Ifama and Grace Shutti’s Twinkleberry explores the LGBT+ community in a small town between the West Midlands and the West Country.

The short film titled Tegan by Ngaio Anyia and Aodh Breathnach follows Tegan Vincent Cook, a young black woman with cerebral palsy who is a talented equestrian with the ambition of reaching the 2024 Paralympics.

As part of the talent fund, the film-making teams took part in workshops exploring multiple aspects of production including legal, creative, HR, production and finance.

Still from Tegan by Ngaio Anyia and Aodh Breathnach (Netflix)

They were also supported by a mentorship programme that gave each team connections to industry figures to help guide them throughout the documentary-making process.

The winners were chosen from 21 shortlisted filmmaking teams and featured filmmakers from across the UK including Northern Ireland, Scotland, Manchester, London, Bristol, Gloucestershire and Liverpool.

Jonny Taylor, director of original documentaries at Netflix, said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with these talented filmmakers and to watch each team’s nucleus of an idea blossom into these fully formed documentaries that we’re launching today.

“These films have been made in a year when extra challenges and pressures were added due to Covid and we are immensely proud of the tenacity, grit and creativity demonstrated to get these films made and presented to this final standard of excellence.

“These films are a testament to everyone’s hard work and an exciting glimpse into the future talent of UK documentarians.”

The documentaries will be live streamed to Netflix’s TikTok on Friday at 7pm and will later be available on Netflix’s YouTube channel ‘Still Watching’ on February 20 at 2pm.

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