Inbetweeners producer to spearhead Leith film and TV talent school backed by Sean Connery's family
An Edinburgh-born film and TV producer best known for his success with The Inbetweeners is to head up a new talent school being launched by Sir Connery's family in the city.
Chris Young, whose latest feature opened last year's Edinburgh International Film Festival, has already been running an annual talent school from the Isle of Skye, where he has lived for years.
He has hailed the project as a “game-changer for Scotland” which will have an impact in the industry for years to come.
The venture, which is being targeted at emerging filmmakers, is being launched under a new partnership between the Sean Connery Foundation, the charity set up in memory of the Edinburgh born actor, and the National Film and Television School. The foundation will be underwriting 70 per cent of the course fees.
Mr Young’s appointment as the initial programme leader has been unveiled ahead of the deadline for applications for the first course on Monday.
The talent school, which was first announced in November, will be run from a converted listed building beside the FirstStage Studios comlex which Sir Sean’s son Jason co-founded nearly four years ago.
Open to aspiring writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors and production designers, the talent lab will offer 30 places in its first year.
Six teams of participants will get a £25,000 production budget to make their own "calling card" short films, which can be submitted to film festivals around the world.
Mr Young’s track record includes Gaelic language feature film Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle, the long-running Gaelic drama series Bannan and Hebridean surfing drama Silent Roar. He set up his own Young Films Foundation on Skye seven years ago to try to encourage a new generation of screenwriters in Scotland.
Mr Young said: “For over 35 years, my unwavering passion has been to cultivate, sustain, and champion new talent in Scotland.
"This journey began with the establishment of Young Films, and I am thrilled to continue this mission by leading the Sean Connery Talent Lab in collaboration with the NFTS.
"The lab represents an exciting opportunity to usher in a dynamic new generation of world-class filmmakers in Scotland, spanning crucial disciplines.
"Much like the NFTS has done over the years, and continues to do, the Sean Connery Talent Lab is poised to leave an indelible mark on the industry.
"To all those with talent and aspirations to contribute to the vibrant film and TV landscape in Scotland, I wholeheartedly encourage you to apply.
“This lab is more than just a programme, it's a game-changer for Scotland, and its impact will reverberate across the industry for years to come."
Sir Sean’s son Stephane Connery, chair of the Sean Connery Foundation, said: “Chris Young’s infectious energy, connections across industry, and demonstrated commitment to launching breakthrough talent make him the ideal choice as the inaugural leader of the Sean Connery Talent Lab.”
Jon Wardle, director of the National Film and Television School, said: “This is an exceptional opportunity for the brightest talents in Scottish filmmaking to harness their unique creative voices and under the guidance of Chris, the Sean Connery Talent Lab is poised to make a lasting impression on the Scottish creative industry and beyond.”
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