Bristol's Blak Wave TV company to tell 'untold stories'

By Caroline Le Marechal
BBC News, Bristol

image copyrightBlak Wave
image captionDr Fombo said: "We're a values-led TV production company and central to that for us is representation, being authentic, leadership, collaboration - and we're mavericks."

The only black-owned TV production company in Bristol has been launched, with a mission to "tell untold stories that reflect the population".

Founders Michael Jenkins and Dr Mena Fombo said Blak Wave would be the only black-led company out of 140 TV production companies in Bristol.

Dr Fombo said: "These stories will be told through a different lens than currently found in the mainstream."

"Between 2013-16, 2.2% of UK programmes had BAME directors," she added.

Michael Jenkins said: "I've been a filmmaker for the past seven years and more often than not, when I enter a commissioning room, I'm the only black person in it.

"We want to try and set new levels. We naturally do inclusiveness, we don't have to try and change our [working] culture."

'World-class content'

Blak Wave is being supported and helped by Bristol-based production company Drummer TV, which is run by Tamsin Summers and Rachel Drummond-Hay.

Ms Summers said: "When Drummer started we were one of only a handful of production companies owned by women and now Blak Wave is paving the way for BAME-led TV in our region.

"There's a misconception that the underrepresented want to make niche programming and Mike and Mena will prove this wrong with ideas that are broad, big and bold."

Dr Fombo said: "The face of Bristol is literally changing and with diversity and inclusion at the forefront of every conversation - from football, universities, the tech industry and the media.

"It is integral for companies like us to exist and contribute to ensure that stories are told authentically and that they represent the whole audience."

Mr Jenkins said their aim was "to create world-class content that better represents audiences".

"We know the ripple effect of that will be more people from diverse backgrounds will see a path into the industry that is traditionally quite closed."

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