The Create Next Film Project is under Converse’s All Star Program, a robust, community-focused ecosystem of mentorship, commissions and funding that aims to create new and exciting opportunities for young creatives. At the heart of the Create Next Film Project is a focus on a new wave of Black talent, whilst highlighting issues within the film industry, as identified by John Boyega himself. 


 

Sat around a long-table, a group of young, Black aspiring filmmakers from London convene. The conversation is one of mentoring, an open rumination on a project coming to its end, and a blend of gems from both sides of the filmmaking industry. Spearheaded by a vested John Boyega—the A-list Hollywood actor from Peckham—the Create Next Film Project is a process that is helping to find, nurture, fund and mentor Black filmmakers on the rise, and was set up in collaboration with Converse as part of its brilliant All Stars Program. 

Converse’s All Stars Program serves a global network of creatives, providing experiences in a number of artistic forms and commissioning work, projects and opportunities like we see with the Create Next Film Project. Converse has worked with a world of creatives, from photographers and filmmakers to skateboarders, designers, artists and musicians. On this particular project, they tapped Mathieu Ajan of Bounce Cinema, a pop-up cinema that champions independent films, to help with the rollout. As much as this initiative has been about uplifting new and exciting film talent, it’s also been about acknowledging the very blatant representational issues within the industry, such as the lack of Black faces behind the silver screen.

Before the project began, Boyega was venturing through schools, setting up workshops and teaching children about the variation of roles in the film industry, in which he found many didn’t know some roles even existed. Part of the reason there’s a lack of representation within the industry is that people within such communities just don’t know the range of roles available to train into, or they don’t realise the transferable skills they already have and are invested in. There is also simply understanding the process, the caveats, of entering and maintaining work within the film industry. Having the space and opportunity to showcase such a goldmine of filmmaking talent within Black communities is a hard task. Reaching out and having an understanding with Converse, who through its All Stars Program have always advocated a multitude of ways to enable creativity to spawn, allowed this collaboration to find these aspiring filmmakers and inspire them through hands-on mentoring to produce short films in recognition of real industry experience. 

We caught up with Boyega on the back-end of the last mentoring session with the filmmakers, who all spoke with an energy about their ideas and the process as if submerged in the industry with a professional spiel. It was fascinating to witness, to see young talent who have essentially come into their own and getting to realise their progress through John Boyega—an extremely talented actor, creative, and inspirational figure stemming from the Black British community.