Breakout initiative will give an unknown director, producer or writer a global launch on streaming service
Some of the world’s greatest directors launched their careers with an idea, a few thousand pounds and some friends with spare time on their hands. Those same friends would often go on to make up the bulk of the audience. But Netflix is giving Britain’s next big thing a chance to show their debut feature to the single biggest viewership the world has ever amassed – and is giving them a seven-figure sum to make it.
An unknown director, producer or writer will be given £1.5m and a global launch on the streaming service, in an effort to discover a future generation of “bold, distinctive” UK storytellers. The scheme, to be announced on Wednesday, will allow the directors to make anything from crime thrillers and sci-fi to romance and comedy, driven by the principle that “daring” film-making can “drive commercial as well as critical success and can emerge from all backgrounds”.
At least one project will be picked from six shortlisted film-makers, who will each have received £30,000 to develop their projects over a year, with intensive training from industry mentors. Netflix will accept applications from across the creative spectrum – theatre, TV, video gaming, online content, commercials, graphic novels, music promos and short films.
The programme, titled Breakout, will be open to film-makers who have not yet made a feature but whose work has already attracted industry or public attention. One of the biggest challenges for any film-maker, particularly a first-time one, is raising money for their film. Hannah Perks, Netflix’s manager of UK films, said the £1.5m budget would allow them to focus on the creative side. “They’re not going to have to think about putting that financing together – and their film will be shown on Netflix globally. It’s every film-maker’s dream to have a global release.”