This follows the success of Beacon Film’s three-year Viewfinder programme, a talent development initiative that supported filmmakers with disabilities, autism and additional needs.

Beacon Films, based in Tyneside, is one of the official BFI Film Academies and focuses on supporting filmmakers with disabilities and autism. Beacon filmmakers have received more than 100 international festival selections, and won 11 nominations and 15 awards for their work.

Viewfinder Plus, which has received £99,000 in extended funding from Spirit of 2012, is another three year programme that will engage 40 participants across 48 film workshops.

Filmmakers will be supported to more independently develop their creative skills and use their talents to engage in their local communities, as well as continue to target global audiences with their work.

By designing and delivering ‘Focus First’ events that show off their skills, Viewfinder Plus members will build connections with third sector, private and public organisations. Those organisations will then be invited to explore how Viewfinder filmmakers’ skills can be used in their own work.

“We are delighted to have been awarded this grant from Spirit of 2012,” said Will Sadler, Development Director, Beacon Films CIC. “Our Viewfinder Plus project aims to enable filmmakers with learning disabilities, autism and additional needs to pursue their creative abilities more independently and use those skills in their local communities.

“We hope that in doing so, people and organisations will become more aware of the amazing and unique abilities our filmmakers have to offer.”