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Participants and programme revealed for X-Pollinator: Elevator
07 Oct 2021 : News Desk
X-Pollinator: Elevator
X-Pollinator has announced the participants selected to take part in Elevator, a brand-new development programme that seeks to support twenty emerging and diverse female and non-binary writers, directors, and creative partnerships, to become the inclusive leaders of the future.

The further goal for the initiative is to support a deeper range of under-represented and emerging voices, and nurture members of the LGBTIQ+ community, People of Colour, Talents with disabilities, and those from under-represented groups & diverse socio-economic backgrounds. 

Elevator is also focusing on regional voices, having more than half of its participants from outside of the Dublin region. Each participant will have a project that they wish to develop and pitch across the initiative. 

The successful participants for Elevator are: Oyindamola Animashaun, Al Bellamy, Nicola Cassidy, Becky Cheatle, Ker Costello, Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi, Alba Fernandez, Martha Fitzgerald, Nell Hensey, Esosa Ighodaro, Nina Jablonska, Tosin Jerugba, Sinead Lemass, Caitlin Magnall-Kearns, Tania Notaro, Allie O’Rourke and MJ Stokes, Lynn Rafferty, Jenny Roche and Hazel McGuire, Shannon Welby, and Kristina Yee.

Supported by Screen Skills Ireland, Screen Ireland, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), Elevator will offer its participants a comprehensive understanding of the development process through case studies and panels. 

The programme will consist of six online sessions, with speakers including director Kate Dolan (You Are Not My Mother), festival programmer and producer Roisin Geraghty (Sunlight), a case study with production company Fable Pictures (Anne Boleyn, Rocks) and an introductory pitching workshop with pitch and public speaking coach Bonnie Williams, supported by Creative Europe Desk Ireland. 

These sessions will lead up to an online pitch event, where the participants can opt in to present their project in front of an industry panel. The winning pitch will be awarded development funding of €2,500 to write a treatment, and have the support of a script editor, producing mentor and a designer to create a pitch book for their project. 

From over one hundred and thirty applications, the review process was highly competitive. The Elevator selection panel included Katie Holly, Lara Hickey and Evan Horan from X-Pollinator as well as Dr. Zélie Asava, a lecturer, author and public speaker on race, gender, and representation in screen studies, acting as an external assessor.

Speaking about the iniative, Katie Holly, Lara Hickey and Evan Horan of the X-Pollinator Team said: “With each iteration the X-Pollinator community has continued to grow, and for Elevator we felt it was time to go out and find more diverse and underrepresented emerging female and non-binary talent. We were thrilled with the huge number of applications, and the wealth and range of talent on display, which bodes well for the Irish creative industries.” 

“We are so excited to be working with the selected participants to help provide an access point to the industry, and support in networking, developing their skills, knowledge and their projects. We can’t wait to get started and thanks again to our funders who make it possible.”

On behalf of the selection panel, Dr. Zélie Asava said: “X-Pollinator: Elevator is a crucial initiative in creating and sustaining diversity in the Irish media industry, addressing the significant gaps in access identified in 2021’s Gender and Diversity Audit. X-Pollinator’s programmes are models for creating new pipelines into industry and supporting established artists to effect transformative change.

“The selection process for X-Pollinator: Elevator was extremely competitive, showcasing the wealth of diverse talent in Ireland, and the urgent need to dismantle barriers across the creative industries,” added Asaya. “The impressive range of projects, collaborations and connections which X-Pollinator: Elevator will enable promise to enrich and expand the future of Irish film and television by amplifying the voices of artists who represent the brilliant multiplicities of our culture.”

Gareth Lee, Screen Skills Ireland Manager added: “Screen Skills Ireland has been delighted to support X-Pollinator from its inception and champion its mission to address the lack of gender diversity in the screen sector. Elevator is an important next step and will build on the achievements of previous iterations of the programme by including a wider range of underrepresented groups. The project-focused programme will provide the participants with the tools they need to succeed as writers and directors, and join the next generation of new, exciting filmmakers.”

Celene Craig, Deputy Chief Executive of BAI said: “The BAI is delighted to support X-Pollinator’s new Elevator initiative and would like to congratulate all the successful participants. The BAI is committed to fostering a media landscape that represents and is accessible to the diversity of Irish society. Development programmes such as Elevator further this goal, providing crucial support and opportunities for under-represented groups within the audio-visual industry, nurturing their talent and in so doing, contributing to creativity and diversity across the sector. I would like to wish the best of luck to all those taking part.”

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