Press Release: Inspiring, defiant and life-affirming LGBTQ+ stories brought to air by Together TV’s BAFTA-winning initiative
- Four LGBTQ+ stories brought to life by Together TV are to be released in November: from the aquatic adventures of two queer mermaids, the tumultuous tale of a trans boxer campaigning for the right to fight, to Britain’s first out Muslim drag queen undergoing gender affirmation surgery and the struggles of two gay dads going through a painful child adoption process.
- Together TV’s Diverse Film Fund was created with the aim to give underrepresented narratives a platform. Four filmmakers have been commissioned to create 20-minute documentaries and will have their films aired on Together TV
- The filmmakers include Hollyoaks star Ross Adams, who explores his painful journey and reflection upon the adoption process for LGBTQ+ couples, and former Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Shiva Raichandani.
- This year's theme is LGBTQ+: Queer Lives Today, which celebrates the LGBTQ+ community while bringing attention to important issues affecting the day-to-day lives of its members.
- The 2022 Diverse Film Fund includes mentors and judges from media giants including, BBC, Sky, Paramount, TwoFour Productions, Zinc Media Group, alongside Bafta-nominated director Ashley Francis-Roy and industry expert Stephen D Wright.
London, 11th October 2022 - Together TV proudly presents the premiere of four films exploring queer lives in Britain today. Brought to you by Together TV’s BAFTA-winning Diverse Film Fund, this year’s storytellers include the aquatic adventures of two queer mermaids, the tumultuous tale of a trans boxer campaigning for the right to fight, Britain’s first out Muslim drag queen undergoing gender affirmation surgery and the struggles of two gay dads going through the painful child adoption process.
How does somebody find their place in the world when they feel different to everyone around them? When don’t they feel ‘normal’ or that they don’t ‘fit in’? These funny, raw, touching and honest voices from LGBTQ+ communities across the UK, explored with passion and heart from four exceptionally talented filmmakers, will take you on a journey of resilience and strength in the face of adversity as our protagonists seek to change hearts and minds in order to find acceptance within their communities:
MERMAIDS REALLY DO EXIST by Anna Mouzouri, Monday 7th November 10.30pm: A fun and touching documentary following the aquatic escapades of two queer mermaids, Kaia and Caitriona, as they compete in mermaid relay races and attend mermaid conventions. Expect amazing hairdos, fabulous outfits and under-the-sea action as you sail through an amphibious world causing a real splash.
Caitriona said: "It is an extreme sport, and it is hardcore as well. I probably feel most at home in the ocean, completely submerged underwater". Kaia added: "Mermaiding is about the freedom, because there's not an LGBT community around where I live."
COME OUT FIGHTING by Tom Gaisford, Monday 14th November 10.30pm: Jill, a gay trans man, prepares mentally and physically to step into the ring for his next boxing bout- finding strength in an emerging LGBTQ+ fight community to square up to old attitudes and challenge a current ban on trans boxers. This knockout documentary provides a ringside seat to the intimate journey of a trans athlete, at a time when trans access to sport makes headlines worldwide.
Contributor Nessie said:“The reason we need to maintain queer spaces for sport is that we already know that change doesn’t get handed down from the top- any big social change happens because it has been fought for at the community level. We’re going to be the ones to figure out how to change boxing, they’re not going to do that for us.”
LOVE, DAD AND DADDY by Ross Adams, Monday 21st November 10.30pm: Following a painful adoption journey which comes to an abrupt halt, Hollyoaks star Ross Adams explores what can be done to make the system easier for LGBTQ+ adopters. Can he find the strength to go through the process again? In a system where resilience is essential, “Love, Dad and Daddy” sees Ross talking to other adopters in a deeply cathartic personal quest to rediscover his.
Ross said: “We had this vision about how life would be and it was taken away from us. We lost a child. Nobody died in our situation but the dream died. It’s just a very grey area not many people know about or speak about. This is a reason why it’s important we do this.” He also added: “From that day, we took what happened and put it in a box. It’s only now, a year on, that we are starting to think about – do we try again?”
ALWAYS, ASIFA by Shiva Raichandani, Monday 28th November 10.30pm: As Asifa prepares to finally undergo gender affirmation surgery, the disabled trans activist, who is also Britain’s first out Muslim drag queen, reflects on how her life has - and hasn’t - changed during her transition. With Asifa having featured previously in documentaries on Channel 4 and the director, Shiva Raichandani, having reached the semi-finals of the 2017 edition of Britain’s Got Talent with the London School of Bollywood, there is an abundance of flair and creative pedigree to show these two really can talk the talk, and walk the walk.
Contributor Asifa said: “We’re all transitioning. We’re all constantly evolving. People just reduce us to that one moment of surgery as transitioning, but there are different types of transitions that take place parallel to that surgery”. Asifa continues: “My hope for myself with this transition is peace”.
Together TV broadcasts on Freeview channel 83, Sky 170, Virgin 269, Freesat 164 and on its BRAND NEW FREE streaming service Together TV – Live and On-Demand. Visit our website and social media channels for more information on how you can get involved in our change-making campaigns.
For further information and assets, please contact:
Francesca Aita, Head of Marketing, Together TV
020 3196 1562
Notes to Editors
About Together TV
Together TV is the UK broadcaster inspiring positive change. We run a national TV channel, engagement platform and streaming service to motivate people to do good in their lives and communities.
We programme entertainment shows that focus on wellbeing and creativity, whilst championing diverse voices. In doing so, we open our audience’s eyes to the opportunities around them and motivate them to take part.
As a result of watching, our viewers change attitudes, improve their well-being, gain confidence, do more for themselves and connect with their community.
Together TV broadcasts on Freeview 83, Sky 170, Virgin 269, Freesat 164 and on its BRAND NEW FREE streaming service Together TV – Live and On-Demand to deliver change-making campaigns through its engagement platform, website, fulfilment partner and social media channels.
Together TV is owned by over two hundred individual shareholders with a wider group of funders and donors alongside the media and digital industry.
The Community Benefit Society and its board include representatives from the broadcasters and charity sector alongside its elected Members.
The Community Channel operating as Together TV is a charitable Community Benefit Society registered with the FCA (RS007400).
The Together TV Annual Report 2020/21 is available to download
This year’s top filmmakers are –
Ross Adams (he/him)
Ross Adams is an award-winning actor best known for his long-running role playing Scott Drinkwell in the Channel 4 continuing drama, HOLLYOAKS. Originally from the North East, Ross now lives in Manchester with his husband Phil. Before moving in front of the camera, Ross enjoyed a career within the drama department at ITV initially at CORONATION STREET before moving to EMMERDALE as both a storyliner and script editor.
Tom Gaisford (he/him)
Tom Gaisford grew up in Devon and studied Human Sciences before moving to London in 2016 to pursue his career in television. Since then he's worked as a Researcher and Assistant Producer on various documentaries and specialist factual programmes, including for Netflix (Babies), Channel 4 (Unreported World, Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon), and National Geographic (Buried Secrets of WWII). Outside of TV, he volunteers at Knockout LGBTQ+ boxing club where he is training to become a coach.
Anna Mouzouri (she/her)
Anna Mouzouri is a filmmaker based in London. Anna’s most recent short film, Fruity, was a part of BBC Four’s “BBC Introducing: Women in Film” where she was cited as an up-and-coming female director by the programme. During her time at the University of Gloucestershire, she directed her graduate documentary “Yes Mistress!” which is to be released on Amazon Prime this year. She hopes to create more work that will sit on accessible platforms and more art that spotlights amazing women and queer lives in the UK.
Shiva Raichandani (they/them)
Shiva Raichandani is a non-binary British filmmaker who is passionate about telling inclusive, intersectional, gender-expansive stories with a focus on social justice, and by using the performing arts as a narrative device. They were a semi-finalist on Britain’s Got Talent; have recently directed a Netflix documentary called, ‘Peach Paradise’; and have had their independent community-funded musical film ‘Queer Parivaar’ nominated for the prestigious Iris Prize's ‘Best British Film’ award.
This year’s judging panel included senior LGBTQ+ leaders from across broadcasters, platform operators, documentary funders and LGBTQ+ charities. The selection process was completely anonymised, all judges received the submissions with all identifying elements removed.
The generous media experts who have graciously donated their time to become mentors for this year’s Together TV’s Diverse Film Fund are –
- David Clews (he/him) - Creative Director at TwoFour
- Ashley Francis-Roy – Documentary Filmmaker and Director of “Damilola: The Boy Next Door” for Channel 4
- Emma Hindley - Creative Director at Brook Lapping, Zinc Media Group
- Kit Morey – Commissioning Editor (VP) Unscripted at Channel 5 / Paramount +
- Steven D Wright – TV Consultant, Journalist and Broadcaster
In addition, the filmmakers have received private webinars with industry giants including BAFTA, Albert, Helen Landeau from Rogan Productions, former Head of Channel 4 Drama and Controller of BBC Drama Production, John Yorke and Entertainment Commissioner at ITV, Natalie Rose. Each seminar will help the filmmakers navigate the various aspects they may not have thought of including pitching to TV commissioners, the world of Legal, Compliance and intellectual property rights plus advice on submitting their films to festivals and awards – including BAFTA itself.
Images available to download from - https://togethertv.box.com/s/9e91rw74j01t7xvkekkcl3lneuhoxhp5