BFI Film Academy UK Network Programme 2016

A look into this years Birmingham BFI Film Academy UK Network Programme, hosted by The Company Ltd.

BFI Film Academy UK Network Programme 2016

September last year I was amazed to have been accepted onto the BFI Film Academy's UK Network Programme in Birmingham, little did I know the road a week long film course would take me on. I learnt valuable skills, worked with incredible professionals (Pip Piper, Producer at Blue Hippo Media; Michael B.Clifford, 2x Bafta winning Director; Nerina Villa, Filmmaker at Speak of the Devil TV; Drew Roper, Animator and Yamination Studios; Chris Keenan, Cinematographer) used some amazing kit and made some special friends and contacts for life. So when I heard that Janette at The Company Ltd. was given the funding from the BFI to host the course again I soon jumped on board to help out with new participants.


Image by Hannah-Davina Westwood.

The BFI UK Network Programme is an exciting and intense one week course, hosted at the mac Birmingham, where every young student filmmaker's dreams are made into reality, they get to make a film. Filmmaking is a daunting task, one that I have learnt many times often abandoning projects because I got distressed at it not coming together, but if there's one thing that my time on the course taught me was yes, filmmaking is hard, fun but hard. That's the point behind the course, it enables young people, aged 16-19, to learn about filmmaking with the guidance from industry mentors, while also being fortunate enough to gain their silver arts award.


Image by Hannah-Davina Westwood.

BFI participants are given the opportunity to work with professional filmmakers, take part in masterclasses with award winning industry professionals, learn to pitch, produce and create a film, discuss and analyse films, learn about distribution and marketing all while gaining their silver arts award, what could be a better opportunity for young budding filmmakers?!


Image by Tayyib Mahmood.

This year the 2016 Participants started of their course with tours around Yamination Studios and BBC Drama Village alongside talks about filmmaking by professionals such as Pip Piper, Michael B.Clifford and Yen Yau. They continued the week by pitching idea's for their short film with some amazing concepts being discussed. The idea that was chosen was 'Cupcake', the story of an unconventional looking cupcake wanting to be loved, created by Sophia Adilypour. The participants split into three groups, live action, animation and documentary in order to create 'Cupcake' and a documentary on how to get into the industry. The groups wrote their own scripts, made their own models and filmed with the help of the professional industry mentors and ex-participants (Me!!).


Image by Hannah-Davina Westwood.

Here's a link to the short film 'Cupcake'.


I highly recommend to anyone aged between 16-19 who are interested in filmmaking to apply for this course next year, its more than worthwhile and has given me so many opportunities over the past two years, I've made contacts, friends, gained jobs and got paid work from the course. Best of all, I have fun every time.


Hannah Davina Westwood

Hannah Davina Westwood

A tiny creative and image maker. Film, Media & Television Studies Graduate.

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  • Bhavesh Jadva

    On 17 November 2016, 18:26 Bhavesh Jadva Voice Team commented:

    Absolutely incredible! I wish I knew about this back when I was young enough! What an impressive piece of work which seems like the pay off for an intense but well fulfilling week. I can't to see what you all get up to. The BFI Academy is so valuable and growing in popularity it really needs more shouting about. Really well done.

  • Hannah Davina Westwood

    On 18 November 2016, 08:23 Hannah Davina Westwood commented:

    It truly is! One of the best ways for young people to learn the practical aspects of film and make contacts! Thank you!

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