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Programme to inspire the region’s creativity of the future

Published: 18/09/2023

A launch event will be held on Wednesday 20 September as part of an initiative designed to directly connect creative, heritage and digital students and businesses with professional networks and opportunities in the Highlands and Islands.

Oscar-winning Hollywood producer Jason Lust of Soluble Fish Productions has joined forces with Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s (HIE) XpoNorth Digital programme and UHI to deliver the FutureCreative programme.

The producer is one of the original founders of management and production company Circle of Confusion, which was responsible of The Matrix Trilogy and The Walking Dead and he was executive producer on Guillermo Del Torro’s Pinocchio.

The initiative aims to help creative talent in the region to hone their skills whilst better preparing them for a career in the film and TV industry.

Through the first intake of the transformative collaboration, launched last October, Jason worked with UHI/HIE/XpoNorth Digital to deliver a specially curated mentorship to help students obtain international opportunities earlier in their careers.

Over the year, new businesses were started by students, discussions with production companies for film rights have taken place and work placements in the TV and film industry in the region have been happening as a result of the programme.

The second intake will involve a year-long screen-production programme with Soluble Fish Productions led by Jason. Jason delivered the last programme virtually, although this year he is to be in the Highlands in-person and will teach a course at UHI to help pass on some of the wisdom he has garnered over the years and break down barriers for the north’s brightest talent.

The launch is not just about students however, the day will also offer the opportunity for TV and film production businesses in the region to have 1-2-1 meetings with Jason to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face. He will highlight how the XpoNorth Digital programme might be able to help them during his year here.

HIE’s head of creative industries, Iain Hamilton, said: “This programme is so exciting.  I think what really summed up the first year, was Jason being at the Oscars ceremony at night, and the next morning he was online, mentoring a student from the Highlands and Islands. The first year gave us an idea of how much can be achieved and we can’t wait to see what to see what this second year can be do with this deeper connection. 

“Our region has a lot to offer the film and TV industry, so we are looking forward to working together to explore work experience and networking opportunities, increase their knowledge of the sector and encourage them to remain in the Highlands and Islands.”

Iain Morrison, UHI’s dean of student experience, said:

“We are delighted to once more be partnering with HIE and XpoNorth Digital to offer our creative, heritage and digital students access to professional networks and opportunities through the FutureCreative programme. The training and mentorship programme offered by Jason Lust, which is unique to UHI, will give our students a rich and potentially transformative insight into establishing a career in film and TV and will ensure they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to make the transition from education to industry.”

The launch event takes place Wednesday 20 September, 12:00 – 14:00 at An Lòchran, Inverness Campus.

Anyone in the region interested in attending and applying for a 1-2-1 advice and specialist mentorship with XpoNorth Digital and Jason who will deliver a bespoke suite of workshops, should contact Iain.Hamilton@hient.co.uk

XpoNorth Digital is delivered through the Northern Innovation Hub, designed to build on and accelerate business innovation.