The independent production company behind Netflix’s critically-acclaimed Rising Phoenix, HTYT, has hired two young filmmakers to work on a new documentary about the Tokyo Paralympic Games 2021. Nothing unusual there, except for one thing: the two filmmakers learned their craft and honed their skills on a programme funded by Spirit of 2012.

Beacon Films supports filmmakers with learning disabilities, autism and additional needs to make and showcase their own film projects, and to develop creative skills. Since 2015, Spirit of 2012 has been funding Viewfinder, flagship talent development that enables filmmakers to develop professional digital and filmmaking skills, and to put these skills into practice by volunteering with other organisations.

This autumn, two Viewfinder filmmakers were appointed to log footage for HTYT, who endeavour to build production teams that are genuinely reflective of society, the subject matter and the story they tell in their filmmaking.

Will Sadler of Beacon Films says:

“There is currently − and quite rightly − a lot of talk about how to increase the representation of disabled people within the screen industries. What really impressed me about HTYT is that they offered to be part of the solution. For one of our members, this is his first paid job working for someone beyond Beacon Films. For another it provides much needed progression from a paid filmmaking placement he recently completed at a local museum. Opportunities like this can be such a confidence-boost for someone who is trying but struggling to enter the employment market – especially in such a competitive industry”

Eibhlish Fleming, Grant and Learning Manager, Spirit of 2012 said:

“We’re absolutely delighted that two Viewfinder graduates have flourished and been appointed to these roles. On top of which is the wonderful serendipity between London 2012, and our founder’s wishes, and the preparation of Paralympians for Tokyo 2021 nearly ten years on. We can’t wait to see the finished film!”

Barnaby Spurrier from HTYT said:

“When we made ‘Rising Phoenix’ we worked hard to achieve the most diverse employment standards we could and the result was that over 16% of all the crew days on the production were carried out by people with a disability. On this series we intend to do even better and work more inclusively than any other production. Working with Beacon Films will help us fulfil that ambition and I intend that this is just the beginning of a fruitful relationship with this very special organisation.”