Irish talent development initiative X-Pollinator announces CREATOR
Irish talent development initiative, X-Pollinator, is back with a new scheme and keeping the principles of diversity and inclusion at the heart of what they do, they want to shift the focus to directors, including writer/directors, by hosting CREATOR, an immersive residential talent development lab for twelve diverse female identifying and non-binary directors based on the island of Ireland.
There are limited development and training opportunities for directors to hone their artistic practice and leadership skills outside of the intensive pressure of production. X-Pollinator want to address this in a meaningful way by providing a space for the development of directing as a craft and a creative process, to set the future generation of female identifying and non-binary directing talent up for success.
CREATOR will offer its twelve participants a week-long residency in Adare, Co. Limerick from Monday 16 to Friday 20 January 2023; working on their own individual projects under the guidance of renowned director Aisling Walsh (Maudie, Song for a Raggy Boy) as lead Creative Mentor as well as participating in group sessions with visiting experts across all aspects of the directing process. X-Pollinator believes this will provide a unique opportunity for our participants to develop their distinctive voice, build their practice and articulate their vision in a creative and supportive environment while building a peer network and confidence borne of experience along the way.
Following the residency, the next phases of CREATOR will be followed up with the chance for our participants to work on their skills and test out their projects and ideas with actors in a practical workshop environment. In addition to this, the programme aims to ensure a meaningful handover from development initiative to entry or progression in the industry by facilitating participants in finding shadow directing opportunities, ongoing mentorship for directors and further networking opportunities with industry and producers. Details on these next phases are to be confirmed.
X-Pollinator is a talent development initiative and network set up to address the lack of gender diversity in the Irish screen industry. Founded in 2019, X-Pollinator’s inaugural programme of events saw 140 participants, 37 sessions and 63 industry speakers inspire collaborations and networking amongst the next wave of female Irish talent over two weekends. In 2020, INCUBATOR offered a paid and structured period of development for six female-driven projects and in 2021, ELEVATOR supported twenty emerging and diverse female and non-binary writers and directors. X-Pollinator is now a network of over 160 diverse writers, directors and producers with the talent, skills and ambition to bring feature length projects of excellence to the screen.
X-Pollinator believes that lack of diversity, equity and inclusion not only hurts under-represented groups in society including People of Colour, people from working class backgrounds, disability, women and LGBTIQ+ groups but it also limits the scope of stories on screen. X-Pollinator believes that these communities must be centered in the work they do and the programmes that they run. They also feel that some of the most exciting new filmmakers and stories are by creatives from under-represented groups and strongly encourage applications from people with these identities.
I am hugely honoured to have been invited to collaborate on the very first X-Pollinator: CREATOR initiative. I am aware that emerging directors rarely get the opportunity to discover how they want to work, what stories they want to tell and how they can find their place in our industry. This initiative is exciting because it offers the unique opportunity to do just that.
Aisling Walsh, X-Pollinator: CREATOR Lead Creative Mentor
We are so excited to be launching our new iteration of X-Pollinator: CREATOR, which comprises a residential directors lab followed up with an actors workshop session and further industry opportunities and networking. Given the recent report from the Council of Europe’s European Audiovisual Observatory that female directors made just 25% of the European feature films released theatrically in at least one European market between 2017-2021, this couldn’t be timelier. To have the trailblazing Aisling Walsh as our Lead Creative Mentor is such a coup, and we can’t wait to see our new group of participants connect, be inspired and enlightened, and to help support the next generation of Irish female identifying and non-binary directing talent.
Katie Holly, Lara Hickey and Evan Horan, X-Pollinator
Who can apply?
Female identifying and non-binary directors and writer/directors with a new feature film or television drama project / idea
Applicants may be emerging, early or mid career; or returning to the industry
Applicants must have directed at least one piece of audio-visual work, of any length, as sample of previous work
CREATOR actively supports regional talent, with a quota of 50% for talent from or based outside Dublin/Wicklow.
Priority will be given to talent from all under-represented groups. NI applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for the CINE programme: https://bit.ly/3gWHGJc
CREATOR participants can be former X-Pollinator participants, but do not need to have participated previously.
As with X-Pollinator’s original programme, participation is encouraged from those looking to work in the screen industry with a background in any art form including, but not limited to – visual art, journalism, commercial production, theatre, literature, game development and to those wishing to cross over from different formats such as factual and entertainment, and different roles and departments within the screen industry
If selected for CREATOR, you will be required to attend the whole programme.
What kind of projects / ideas can I apply with?
Full length narrative fiction feature film or television series, creative documentary, animation (series or feature film)
What do I need to submit?
Up-to-date professional bio / CV
Previous work – at least one directing sample
Personal statement – 500 words max, to include why you want to be a director and why you feel CREATOR would be valuable to you at this point in your career
Outline of the feature film / TV project – 500 words max