Gareth Ellis-Unwin, head of film and animation at UK film and television training body ScreenSkills, is stepping down from his role to return to full-time producing.
The King’s Speech producer will leave ScreenSkills at the end of May with two film projects already in the works. Emma Turner, currently head of film continuing professional development and future skills, has been appointed head of film and animation on an interim basis.
Ellis-Unwin joined ScreenSkills in 2017, and has been responsible for both the film and animation skills funds. He delivered the Future Film Skills programme of National Lottery funding for the British Film Institute (BFI) during its previous funding cycle. The Future Film Skills programme launched in 2017 and drew to a close at the end of March.
“The Future Film Skills programme had a limited term and reached its natural conclusion. I am incredibly proud of everything we’re achieved,” said Ellis-Unwin.
“What was exciting at the outset was the breadth and depth of the Future Film Skills programme. The seduction from the outset was that scale of ambition, and as that shifts and changes over time, it reaches its natural end.
“Alex Pumfrey, when she stepped down [as CEO] from the Film and TV Charity, referred to these roles as [us being] custodians, rather than people who define them forever more. I feel a similar way.”
Over the last five years, the programme has enabled over 120,000 beneficiaries, including 50,000 new entrants, to pursue a career in the screen industries as well as creating bespoke online training assets accessed by over two million people; trained over 3,000 teachers and career advisers; and issued 2,765 bursaries totalling over £2m.
“Gareth has been instrumental in improving the impact and stature of ScreenSkills’ programmes and activity across film and animation over the last five years, and his passion for all aspects of the screen industries has been the driving force of his success,” commented Seetha Kumar, CEO, ScreenSkills.
“His leadership of the Future Film Skills programme, our most ambitious and successful publicly-funded programme of the last five years is testament to his total commitment to ensuring that everyone who wants to pursue a career in the screen industries, has equal and fair access to training and development of the highest standard. Everyone at ScreenSkills is incredibly grateful to Gareth for his dedication and support.”
“Under Gareth’s leadership, the film and animation skills funds have made a real difference in terms of helping to tackle the skills gaps and shortages in the sector,” continued Anita Overland, chair, Film Skills Council. “On behalf of the Film Skills Council, I would like to thank Gareth for his dedication and commitment to helping people realise their dream of having a career in this incredibly exciting and creative industry – he will be missed.”
“Gareth has been an unrelenting champion for skills within the animation industry, helping drive so many impactful initiatives that have helped thousands progress their careers, always in the most caring and equitable ways,” said Tom Box, Chair, Animation Skills Council and co-founder and managing director, Blue-Zoo. “I’d like to convey the Animation Skills Council’s immense thanks for everything Gareth has helped us achieve.”
“After 5 amazing years ScreenSkills I will be returning to full time producing from the start of June. I am incredibly proud of all we have achieved. Whilst there is still a long way to go with regards training the screen sector workforce (at all levels of seniority and department) we have to recognise good work when done, and build from there.”
“Thank you to everyone at ScreenSkills for their love and support, to all the Film and Animation Skills Councils members, to all the industry volunteers, the teachers and trainers, peer organisations and friends.”