Former Amazon Studios Europe Boss Georgia Brown To Oversee BFI Skills Task Force

Former Amazon Studios Europe boss Georgia Brown is to chair the BFI’s Skills Task Force, which has been assembled to address major skills shortages in the UK film and TV sector over the next five years.

The Task Force has buy-in from streamers including Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV + and Disney, U.S. studios including NBCUniversal and Sony, UK broadcasters and other bodies.

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Born from last year’s BFI Skills Review, the Task Force’s first focus will be on physical production skills in film, high-end TV, scripted comedy and cheaper drama, along with unscripted and children’s.

Members of the plus-20-strong body will come up with an action plan and contribute to a series of meetings, identifying areas where the industry can work with the government to improve the current situation. Three focused workstreams have been established: industry training and investment; improving access to the Apprenticeship Levy; and pathways to industry from further and higher education.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic’s worst effects wore off, big U.S. players have commissioned and moved multiple productions to the UK to take advantage of a tax credit, cheaper prices and a strong skills sector. The likes of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 are amongst those that have been moved from other territories to the UK in recent months.

This has led to something of a UK skills crisis. When the BFI unveiled its Skills Review a year ago, it said an additional £104M ($127M) and 20,000 full-time jobs would need to be injected into the UK’s film and high-end TV sectors over the next three years for the industry to keep up with demand for projects.

“In order to implement the step change needed to address the skills gap and ensure our workforce can meet the demands of our growing industry, the Skills Review made it very clear that an industry-led response was fundamental,” said BFI CEO Ben Roberts.

“We are therefore really pleased with the commitment and dedication of these key industry players, and with an executive of Georgia’s calibre and experience at the helm, we believe industry working with key partners such as [training body] ScreenSkills, can come together to drive this work forward and help ensure sustainable change.”

Brown said the Task Force will help “accelerate change by creating a robust framework to develop, support, train and ignite the next generation of talent.”

She is the former boss of Amazon Studios Europe, who rapidly grew the streamer’s non-U.S. offering during a five-year stint from 2017, commissioning the likes of Good Omens, The Gryphon and Clarkson’s Farm. Past employers include BBC Studios and Fremantle.

The list of Task Force members in full

Prime Video
Animation UK
Apple TV+
British Film Commission
COBA (the Association for Commercial Broadcasters and On-Demand Services)

Creative Wales
HETV Skills Council
MPA (Motion Picture Association)
Northern Ireland Screen

The Production Guild of Great Britain
Screen Scotland
Sony UK
Screen Alliance
Warner Bros. Discovery

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