BFI: Film Academy

Duration: February 2013 – March 2013

In 2012 I applied to be apart of the BFI: Film Academy for Young Filmmakers ages 16-19. It was a national project, which took part in every county. I applied on a whim not expecting to get in, BUT I DID! The course started at the beginning of February on a Saturday from 10am till 4pm at Culture Works in Norwich.

On the first day it was selection day, where they had to whittle us down to the chosen groups, who would then work on either a documentary or fictional drama. We worked in 4 groups, each with a different genre. I worked in the horror group with 3 other people, as for some reason Film Noir seemed very popular. We were given a limited amount of time and materials to create a 30 second film using still images as well as live. They were then premiered in front of the group and the dead ended. We were then notified whether we had made it onto the full course. I was successful and continued with the course.

We talked with professionals Jamie Quantrill (Director of Photography) and Max Fisher (Documentary Director), they were to be our mentors as well as Sean, who was in charge of documenting our progress with the event planning to go towards our silver arts award. With them and other guest Bell (Screen Writer) we did various workshops on how to think of a story, develop it and work through the filming process. We also worked with Pro, Raj who came from London to help out for a couple of weeks. He and Jamie talked to us through casting and how it should be handled and how you can tell the difference between a good and a bad one. We were split into two groups, Doc and Drama. Even though we had no reason to hate each other we created a playful competition between us until the screening.

Actors were cast over two weeks, which was done by shouting out to local drama groups and social sites. Filming was put onto two days, we only had two days to film everything. We succeeded with an hour to spare, but it had it’s downsides. Being in winter and in England, it was freezing. It was so cold, fellow filmmaker got the flu and during the second day of filming she sat curled up on the shop floor. Filming went really well and the only issue that arose was on the first day, when the boom mic was making a noise when plugged in.

The film took a long time to edit, up to the screening night. It was complete. We then had to worry about the screening event itself with everything going wrong, as classes before hand were cancelled so the morning was a complete mess, however we were able to turn it around. The screening was a huge success despite all of us running around and panicking. A woman from the BFI came to the screening and said our work was to a professional standard. Later, it was confirmed it was some of the best work she had seen out of all the academy projects.

As well as making a terrific film and getting contacts, I made friends through the program who I am still in contact with.

Plot: Wayne is a typical chav from the council estate in Norwich. He is put in a position concerning the theft of a girls phone and he realises that the group he hangs around isn’t him any more. The main theme is prejudice between young people and general stereotypes.

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