Studio prepares for royal opening of revamped Leavesden facility
LONDON – On the eve of its Leavesden Studio facility’s official opening, Warner Bros. is doubling down on investment in Blighty, announcing a multi-year program to train the next generation of British filmmaking talent.
The Warner Bros. Creative Talent program will offer a variety of scholarships, apprenticeships and other training, including guaranteeing two trainee positions on every Warner Bros. film production in the U.K.
“As we continue to make more films, TV shows, video games and stage plays here, as well as investing in state-of-the-art studios, we will be calling upon the very best talent the country has to offer,” said Josh Berger, president and managing director of Warner Bros. U.K. Ireland and Spain.
“To that end, it is crucially important to us to invest in the next generation, so that we not only have a diverse pool of exceptional talent to work with, but that we also play our part in maintaining the U.K.’s position as a global creative industries leader.”
With Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden to be officially inaugurated April 26 by their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, the U.S. studio announced the planned investment in U.K. skills and training Thursday. It will offer skills training across the studio’s film, television, games and legit operations.
The nationwide program will offer 12 scholarships at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), the National Film and Television School, University of the Arts London, Glasgow Caledonian University, Ravensbourne and University of Hertfordshire, and selected courses at other U.K. institutions.
The multi-year multi-layered investment will also include six apprenticeships in everything from lighting to post-production; 25 year-long training course places at legit company Chickenshed; 20 work experience places for local schoolchildren at Warner’s London offices; and five work placements on Sam Mendes’ upcoming West End musical production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which opens in May, with the three most talented receiving an additional three-month placement.
Warner Bros.’ is already the single largest contributor to U.K. skills and training industry body Creative Skillset’s Skills Investment Fund (SIF), having invested more than £1 million ($1.5 million) over the past nine years and hosting a variety of educational classes at its “Making of Harry Potter” visitor attraction that has reached approximately 25,000 school children.
“We welcome this significant investment in skills by Warner Bros., which builds upon its industry-leading contribution to the Skills Investment Fund, beneficiaries of which are already working on Warner Bros. productions here in the U.K.,” said Dinah Caine, chief executive of Creative Skillset. “It has been incredibly exciting collaborating with Warner Bros. on this new program, which will undoubtedly inspire and train young people through education classes for schools right through to post-graduate training and, by doing so, help ensure the U.K.’s competitive advantage.”
Warner Bros. will also partner with BAFTA on the creation of the Prince William Scholarships in Film, Television and Games. The three annual scholarships, worth up to £10,000 ($15,425) each, were announced by Prince William Friday at the inauguration of Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden.
As well as the $15,425 to cover course fees successful post-graduate applicants will receive mentoring support, free access to BAFTA events across the U.K. and a funded work placement with Warner Bros. group of companies. The Duke of Cambridge is the prexy of BAFTA.
The first production to use Warner’s Leavesden facility after it opened for business last year was Doug Liman’s “All You Need Is Kill,” starring Tom Cruise. The Wachowskis are based at the studio with their next film “Jupiter Ascending,” starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis. “Jupiter Ascending” started lensing at Leavesden April 2 and remains there through June when the production will move to Chicago.