Working with Industry to reduce Inequality

Horror film produced by British Academy Innovation Fellow is selected for prestigious film festival

British Academy Innovation Fellow Professor Jason Lee has produced a new horror film, Paw (Richard Elson, 2023), which will make its debut at the Rome International Film Festival in Georgia, USA, this November.

Professor Lee, of De Montfort University, was awarded the British Academy Innovation Fellowship for his project ‘Meeting the Screenwriting Skills Gap: Evolving Innovation in the British Film Industry Through Mental Health and Disability Equality’. The project aims to meet the UK film industry’s skills gap by enabling those with mental unwellness and disabilities to join the industry.

Paw – A short film take from the classic tale of the Monkey’s Paw.


A long shot – Will disabled people ever be treated equitably by the film and TV industry?

Despite the media’s focus on how artificial intelligence is about to replace screenwriters, the UK faces a shortage of more than 40,000 film and TV professionals at all levels in every discipline. In this notoriously nepotistic industry, people with disabilities are the most underrepresented minority group: 2 per cent of people working in film and TV have a declared disability of any kind, compared with an average of more than 20 per cent across all other industries.

The following facts give an idea of how marginalised they are. Disabled filmmakers received 1 per cent of the development funding allocated by the British Film Institute in 2019-20, while the nation’s entire film sector has only two honeywagons – portable toilets used on location – that are accessible to people with physical disabilities.


Ryan Can’t Read – During a meltdown outside the job centre, Ryan meets Tyrone, who offers to help him turn his life around. See more:

Ryan Can’t Read was backed by Evolution Film during post-production. 


British Academy Research

This higher education (HE) and industry collaboration tackles a dual need through meeting the UK film industry’s screenwriting skills gap by enabling those with mental ill-health and/or disabilities to join the industry. The UK film industry is booming. Nw Sky Studios in Elstree alone will create 3,000 jobs. Inward investment in the industry is £3 billion with the domestic industry matching this figure. The industry is struggling to find employees who have the necessary skills in screenwriting. This project analyses this opportunity through expanding the knowledge of mental health and disability in HE and the film industry advancing screenwriting quality and employment.


Film Submissions

If you are interested in joining our project or submitting a film to our YouTube Channel, please contact the project team at:

Treatment Submissions

If you are interested in submitting a treatment for us to review, please use the following form on the following page to send us the copy. Try to keep your documents to under 2mb, and please send only Pdf or Word files.

Screenplay Open Submission 2023 – July 4 to July 25 

Please send a logline/half page treatment and short film script (max. 15 minutes) to

This is an opportunity for new writers to break into the industry who have a disability and/or mental health issue.

For the right script this is a paid opportunity. We will only respond to those scripts that we might be interested in.

Evolution Film

Founded in 2022, Evolution Film aims to provide equal opportunities for people wanting to work in film and television who have a disability

Evolution Film, The Gateway
Leicester, LE1 9BH