Sky strengthens diversity of commissioning team
The co-creator of Sky Arts’ Broadcast Award-winning Life & Rhymes and development producers from Left Bank and Blast! Films are among six new faces joining Sky’s commissioning team as the broadcaster seeks to diversify its creative talent pool.
The broadcaster has unveiled six of the successful applicants for its two-year assistant commissioner programme, who will work across drama, arts and entertainment, factual, kids and film. A seventh recruit is set to join Sky Studios’ comedy team at a later date.
This will take Sky’s commissioning team from 23 to 30 people, of whom 30% are from a diverse background, up from 11% previously.
None of them has worked in commissioning before and Sky director of original content Zai Bennett said offering new opportunities within the commissioning ecosystem was a decisive step towards bringing new voices to the decision-making table.
“These are great jobs and our rate of attrition is very low, so we needed to create more jobs,” he said of Sky’s established team. “Success for us is reflecting modern Britain on screen.”
Each assistant commissioner will work with producers and indies on new and existing developments and will receive seminars, courses, individual coaching and mentoring through the National Film and Television School.
Life & Rhymes (pictured, right) co-creator Isaac Nartey moves across from his position as Sky’s manager of responsible productions to join the Kids team run by Lucy Murphy, while Left Bank development producer Sholla Caramba-Coker, who has also worked at South of the River Pictures, joins Sky Studios’ Drama team - led by Meghan Lyvers.
The factual assistant commissioners are Ziyaad Desai - a director who has produced and directed Mother Theresa: For the Love of God, Bad Influencer and Ambulance - and Blast! Films development executive Gilberte Phanor, who has worked on Sky documentaries including Mandela: The Struggle Is My Life. Both report to Poppy Dixon.
As well as enabling creatives to step up, the scheme aims to refresh Sky’s commissioning team with hires from outside the industry.
Joining Phil Edgar-Jones’ arts and entertainment team is Leanne Cosby, who has spent 15 years producing and programming live performance and dance. She is currently a theatre and dance producer at the Barbican and heads up the London venue’s artist development programme Open Lab.
Finally, Sabrina Parmar - a development editor for Paramount - joins the Original Film team led by Julia Stuart.
Sky has funded the positions through its £30 million commitment announced in 2021 to tackle structural inequality and support diversity and inclusion. At the time, it set a commitment for its leadership team to be 5% black and 20% BAME by 2025, up from 1% and 9% respectively.
This article first appeared on our sister site, Broadcast.
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