BFI Film Academy: Week 1

Hi Everyone!

The first day of the BFI Film Academy is over and it was AMAZING!

It took place in the BBC building and it started at 9am and lasted until 6pm. So it was a long day but it definitely didn’t seem like it because we were all enjoying ourselves too much!

The day began with everyone getting to know each other, sharing interesting facts and our favourite films, mine of course being Harry Potter! Shauna, from Cinemagic then gave us an overview of the course and how we could each obtain a Silver Arts Award through identifying and agreeing on a arts challenge. My arts challenge is therefore to develop my leadership skills within team work.

Filmmaker Micheal Lennox, who I have previously collaborated with on other Cinemagic projects, introduced us to some of his work, allowing us to see his short 2008 film Rip and the Preacher starring Gerard McSorley. He then took us through a short history of film from George Melies to Alfred Hitchcock!

We had the opportunity to have a Q&A with film critic Brian Henry Martin who writes for UTV. He told us all about the Empire “50 Greatest Films ever made” list, so I am setting myself the challenge of watching all 50 films on this list! I hope to make the time to watch one a week! (I’ll keep you posted on this challenge!)

It was very interesting to hear Brian read us some of his reviews and to hear his take on different films, especially about what he thought of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity and The Great Gatsby, one of my most loved films! Brian also taught us how to write an effective film review, giving us tips on having an opening hook, a brief synopsis, including our own personal views of the film and to remember that the word count is very important!

After Brian left, Micheal told us of some very interesting film books that we should consider reading. He mentioned Alexander Mackendrick’s ‘On Film-making’ and Mark Cousins ‘The Story of Film’. I am definitely going to purchase these books as soon as possible!

Micheal then gave us an introduction into Story and Character Development. For this we split into three groups, chose an image and created a story around it! This was a very interesting exercise and it was amazing to see how far each of our imaginations stretched when it came to looking beyond the image itself. We each pitched our story lines and received feedback from the other groups which was very effective as it allows all of us to express our own opinions and help the other groups at the same time.

We finished the day by chatting about our own ideas for the short film that we are going to make within our groups. And so for next week we have to pitch, to our groups, two short film ideas and then we’ll combine them, decide on a genre and begin writing!

Week 1 of the BFI Film Academy has been such a brilliant experience for me! I’ve already learnt so much and can’t wait to continue learning more!

I’m definitely looking forward to Week 2!

Lori Emily

Q&A with Film Critic Brian Henry Martin!

Q&A with Film Critic Brian Henry Martin!


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