Film stars of the future learn from the best

Director/producer Brendan Sheppard(centre) talks to young people wanting to enter the world of film

Director/producer Brendan Sheppard(centre) talks to young people wanting to enter the world of film and TV and Norwich Arts Centre. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Budding actors, directors and producers of the future put their heads together to learn from some of the best in the business at a BAFTA careers surgery.

Norwich Arts Centre hosted prominent names including Brendan Sheppard, assistant director on Harry Potter films and Kamilla Kristiane Hodol, producer of BAFTA nominee MANoMAN.

The project on Saturday for members of the Norfolk and Suffolk BFI Film Academy alumni was organised by Culture Works East, who deliver courses for the best and brightest young talents on the film industry for the East of England.

Elli Chapman, artistic director for Culture Works East, said there is a real driving force behind creative projects in the east which can be tapped into.

'It is really important for them to hear from people they recognise and their routes into the industry,' she said. 'Often young people are surprised by just how accessible it is. It is not just open to an elite set of people; it is about skills and creativity. The creative industries are one of the fastest growing in the UK.

'They actually start to realise it is about hard work and having somebody to believe in you. It is not an industry confined to Hollywood or London; that is a fallacy. 'We now have lots of girls coming into roles that have not historically had women in them, and many more boys are now developing into producer roles. Events like this will teach young people how to forge relationships and sell themselves.

'There are not enough women and certainly not enough disabled practitioners, but the BFI allows young people to recognise what their specific skill sets are.'

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Talulah Self, 16, from Norwich, is a keen cinematographer, and joined the course in December.

'I know I want to go into film, and at the moment I am really into experimenting and making short films,' she said. 'Sometimes finding opportunities can be difficult, but I am learning to create my own and to try as many different things as possible. I am here just looking to learn from them and their experiences in the industry.'

Alex Bird is now an alumni of the course at 18-years-old.

'I knew I wanted to do film but I didn't know how to get there,' he said. 'This has given me a lot more confidence and taught me to take more risks and try out new schemes. I have been knocked back so many times now but you need to keep going until you get your break.'

The British Academy of Film and Television Arst (BAFTA) provides one-to-one mentoring, online masterclasses and career surgeries with BAFTA members, winners and nominees as part of the BFI Film Academy Alumni Programme in Partnership with BAFTA. The programme supports former BFI Film Academy participants and has a strong focus on progression routes into a career in film or television.