James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, Working Title's Eric Fellner and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason director Beeban Kidron were among the industry guests who praised the quality of films made by teenagers as part of the BFI Film Academy, delivered by the NFTS.
Six films were screened at the BFI, on Friday (April 12) at the premiere hosted by BFI Chair Greg Dyke and BFI Director Amanda Nevill.
The 54 participants aged 16-19 were selected from across the country to take part in the two-week residential Film Academy aimed at hot-housing young film-making talent. They were given the daunting task of making short films from scratch with just two days to shoot and two days to edit using scripts written by NFTS screenwriting students.
Working in six teams of nine, they developed the scripts for screen, auditioned actors, set up budgets and film schedules, recce’d locations and directed, produced, filmed and edited the short films in time for them to be screened at the BFI in front of an audience of film industry VIPs.
BFI Chair Greg Dyke, who hosted the event and presented each student with their graduation certificate said: “We knew there was extraordinary young film talent in the UK but even we have been staggered by the standard of filmmaking at the BFI Film Academy. Supporting the talent of tomorrow is fundamental to the future success and growth of the UK Film Industry.”
Amanda Nevill said: "These films show the remarkable home-grown talent that exists in this country. It is also testament to the high quality of tutoring they¹ve received at the NFTS."
During the Film Academy, the students were guided by NFTS tutors such as cinematographer Brian Tufano (Billy Elliot, Trainspotting) and leading UK film-makers including Brian Ward, Brian Gilbert, Ian Knox, Michelle Eastwood, Corin Hardy, Robbie McKillop and Lee Thomas.
They received exclusive master classes with Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) who made his first films at the age of 13; Director Eran Creevy (Welcome to the Punch); Spirit of 45 Producer Rebecca O’Brien; Production Designer Max Berman (Tinker, Tailor, Game of Thrones) and Composer Nathan Johnson (Brick, Looper).
Talks were also given by NFTS Director Nik Powell, First Light, Encounters Film Festival and the BFI and tours to Pinewood Studios and the National Gallery. The BFI Film Academy is the result of a unique partnership with the Department for Education in England, which has provided £3m funding for the programme over 3 years, and forms a key part of the BFI’s ambitious plans to revolutionise film education for 5-19 year olds across the UK over the next five years.
Addressing an audience of students, parents and industry professional, NFTS Director Nik Powell said: "It's inspiring to see the hunger for knowledge among these young film-makers. We hope the skills we've given them at the NFTS will provide the confidence and the launch pad they need to fulsil their ambitions."
To watch a behind the scenes film about the BFI Film Academy, click on the play button below, or view it in our screening room here:
The 6 short films from the BFI Film Academy are:
CHA, CHA, CHA - When a world-weary wife decides to disappear on a spiritual retreat in India, her whole relationship with her husband is called into question, with comic and tragic results.
BEEN A RIOT - Locked in a basement during the summer riots of 2012, a WPC and the young tearaway she’s arrested have to learn trust each other and find a common bond.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL - An irritated homeowner, frustrated by the grieving mother whose son was killed in a car accident right outside his house, manages to find the sympathy and fellow feeling which helps her to move on.
TEACH ME - A city banker turned social worker has to starkly face his own anger, frustration and feelings of violence when he’s provoked by an aggressive and manipulative teenager.
MAN OF THE HOUSE - After a traumatic burglary, a mother and grown-up daughter find reconciliation and understanding through shared memories of the now departed ‘man of the house’.
VOICES IN THE ATTIC - A grieving mother is helped to come to terms with the tragic death of her child by a mysterious stranger.
Picture: Edgar Wright and Corin Hardy with BFI Film Academy students at the NFTS.