This January Channel 4 launched the Alpha Fund, an annual fund managed by the Creative Diversity Team. The fund is designed to identify and support creative talent at its earliest stage.

Headed by Director of Creative Diversity Stuart Cosgrove, Ade Rawcliffe, Ian Mackenzie and Susie Wright also work in the team as Media Project Managers.

The fund has £2million in which to support new start ups, regionally based companies, projects with diverse talent attached and grassroots innovation. It is designed to kick-start original ideas that can grow in scale and ambition.

Over the past nine months the Creative Diversity team has engaged with over 320 emergent companies and put 54 projects into development of which 22 have progressed to full commissions.

Click to find out more about the Alpha Fund or contact the team.

Please see below a full list of projects funded so far:

  • Hey Buddy Productions – secured their first three Channel 4 commissions within 6 months of working with the Creative Diversity Team. Nelson Mandela Superstar is a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and his legacy in a film that shows how he transcended politics and became a global superstar. A Diverse Nation ripped up the standard awards show format to give us revealing and intimate films on Cultural Diversity Network Awards nominees as well as famous faces from the world of media. White Man Can’t Run and Brand Bolt are short features which form part of Channel 4’s coverage of the IAAF World Athletics Championships.
  • Acme Films – New urban start-up founded by Oscar-nominated producer, Jamie D’Cruz, has already secured several commissions with Channel 4. Life of Rhyme decodes the culture, slang and street styles of Britain’s modern-day life of rhyme with the definitive guide to the biggest explosion in homegrown lyrical innovation of modern times. He received support from the Alpha Fund for his drama project Run which showcased new talent from Brixton.
  • Lemonade Money – Supported by Creative Diversity, Lemonade Money have been commissioned by both T4 and Arts. Inside SBTV: From Boardroom to Bedroom is a contemporary observational documentary introducing 19 year old CEO Jamal Edwards and the other faces behind YouTube phenomenon SB:TV, which aired in T4.
  • Greenacre Productions – Introduced to Channel 4 through the Creative Diversity team, Greenacre are now in paid development on a drama set in 1970s multicultural London.
  • Cinnamon Films – Newly formed Cinnamon have begun their journey with Channel 4 with a development commission. Running for Gold sees black British filmmaker Alrick Riley (Spooks) directing the untold story of America’s ill-fated relay team, whose members met very different fates after their victory in the 2000 Olympics.
  • Brighthand Pictures – Multi-faceted new indie won their first commission Channel 4 with Creative Diversity to make a film as part of Channel 4’s coverage of the World Athletics Championships.
  • Maroon Productions – Supported by Creative Diversity, Maroon Productions are developing ideas for Education and Arts and are creating Facebook Requiems, an online tribute to victims of gang related violence, which documents the immediate aftermath of families and friends coming to terms with their loss.
  • Mixcloud – The award-winning digital audio platform, won their first Channel 4 commission – Sound Track, which crowd sourced fresh new music to support our World Athletics coverage.
  • The TV Collective The fund facilitated the relaunch of the UK’s premier BAME Media Network. The TV Collective is a community interest company dedicated to promoting the creative and commercial value diversity adds to the British TV and film industries. It is a central hub sharing the latest industry news, recruitment, commissioning, funding, development opportunities and initiatives aimed at promoting diverse talent.
  • Big Hug – Support for The New Cross Fire Project, an online creative project with embed- ded media that uncovers the untold story of The New Cross Fire – a devastating house fire at a party in New Cross which killed 13 black youngsters

Talent supported by the Apha Fund:

  • Anoop Pandhal – British-Asian film-maker Anoop Pandhal directs a longitudinal film about the devastating effect of a miscarriage of justice on a family from Hoxton, when their son is wrongly accused of murder.
  • Debbie Tucker Green – Her first TV film Random follows a day in the life of an African-Caribbean family shattered by a random act of violence. Channel 4’s Alpha Fund helped showcase the film via innovative community-based events, prior to its TV transmission.
  • Baff Akoto, Levi David Addai and Nick Mohammed – Coming Up is the only talent scheme in the UK where new writers and di- rectors have the opportunity to make an authored drama with a guaranteed network broadcast. This year Baff Akoto, Levi David Addai and Nick Moham- med made films that were broadcast on Channel 4.
  • Satnam Auithi and Fozia Khan – New directors Fozia Khan and Satnum Auithi had their debut films broad- cast on Channel 4 as part of the First Cut strand, which gives a prime-time 30 minute slot to the country’s best up and coming documentary directors.
  • Kibwe Tavares – We are working with Kibwe Tavares, whose short film is set in 2050 Brixton and features robots being discriminated against by humans. The film has deliberate echoes of the Brixton riots in the early 1980s.
  • Aisling Ahmed – Producer from Crowhill Films in Edinburgh has embarked on an ambitious documentary project with Alpha Fund support to chart the progress of a children’s economy in a small inner-city Indian community

Programmes:

  • Street Summer The season included How Hip Hop Changed the World fronted by Idris Elba, Banksy’s own Oscar-nominated film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, produced by Jamie D’Cruz and The Antics Roadshow.
  • StreetDance, was a two-parter that drilled down into the culture of the dance crews whilst Graffiti Wars explored the fierce rivalry between street artists and the authorities.
  • Life of Rhyme, a co-production between two diverse-led start ups, explored British emcee culture and its unique contribution to spoken word and poetry Concrete Circus brought together five of the world’s best street sport talents and their amazing filmmakers.
  • IAAF World Athletics Championship 2011 Next week our coverage of the World Athletics Championships in South Korea begin, and Channel 4 will broadcast thought-provoking and markedly different content made by small companies and featuring great talent.

There are also four very different sports films, all made by diverse-led indies, that look at the huge impact athletics has on our society, and the big topics its got us talking about.