Wednesday July 17, 2019



bfi film academy; future filmmakers to watch out for...

Over the last 3 years, Eastside has delivered the BFI Film Academy, which offers a real chance for talented 16-19 year-olds, with a passion for film, to be part of the UK’s future film industry. All the young people complete a Silver Arts Award and have the opportunity to apply for BAFTA mentoring and residential courses at the NFTS (National Film and Television School), as well as paid work experience placements and commissioned work.

Here we are celebrating the great achievements made by some of our recent BFI Film Academy graduates (2012/13 - 2014/15):


Shortly after graduating from the BFI Film Academy, Daniella Rice (2012 graduate) was accepted onto the NFTS craft residential, an intensive course where a handful of students were tutored by industry experts and worked in their specialism to create a short film with professionals and likeminded enthusiastic students. In addition to Daniella a total of eight talented students have attended and flourished at the NFTS residential, including, Ackeem Durrant, Alex Semanda, Ellie Politzer, Rahab McQueen, Suleman Khalid and Liam Abbott.


Daniella’s work with NTFS didn’t stop there, in September she will become the youngest person ever to get into a full-time post graduate course at the NFTS. Daniella will be doing a post graduate course in Production Management. She reflects on her opportunities: “Through Eastside and the BFI Film Academy I learnt how to be a film producer, which led me to produce 8 short films to date. The course will give me the opportunity to work with the best filmmakers in the country. I will be the youngest EVER person to enter, and will be the first person from the 3 years that the BFI Film academy has been running [to study at the NTFS]. Films from this school win Oscars and BAFTAS - so I guess it is something to dream about!” She has also been busy with ‘On The corner TV’ (a documentary production company), getting work experience with ITV, taking part in Eastside’s music and review writing programme Get Your Gig On and in early September, Daniella will be submitting her work for the Gold Arts Award, so we wish her all the best and we are sure that she will take the film industry by storm!


Eleanor Politzer (2013 graduate) and Liam Abbott (2014 graduate) are both currently working with Eastside creative writing facilitator Bobby Nayyar, on a YouTube series, interviewing publishers. The graduates, both having previously attended the NTFS residential, have been working hard with Bobby who commented: “I spoke to the team at Eastside and they helped me connect with students from their BFI project, [the students were] exactly what I was looking for and I was impressed at how passionate and determined Eleanor and Liam were to work in film and TV!” Over the summer, Liam has also secured a place on the BFI internship scheme.  Eastside caught up with Liam and asked him what drives him as a filmmaker, he responded: “My motivation boils down to my love of storytelling and the urge to make people smile and to become the best I can be at what I do. The BFI academy has opened many doors for me. Without it, I would have never have had the opportunity to attend the NFTS residential which in turn made me stand out from the crowd and allowed me to be accepted for the BFI internship scheme.”


Further evidence of the programme’s success is that Rikesh Tailor (2014 graduate) was awarded BAFTA mentoring with award-winning cinematographer Taina Galis, this summer. The BAFTA mentoring scheme is in place for industry professionals to share skills and expert knowledge, with young people who are about to break into the industry.  Rikesh commented: “The BFI Film Academy helped me get the BAFTAs mentoring, which I am very grateful for. It is an exciting experience to go to BAFTA Headquarters and work with an award-winning cinematographer!” On top of this, Rikesh has successfully gained a place on the much coveted Film Production Technology course at Birmingham University, so we look forward to following his next steps!


Patrycja Cygan (2014 graduate), is currently working alongside Daniella Rice (2012 graduate) on a commissioned project for Step in to Dance, a partnership between the Jack Petchey Foundation and the Royal Academy of Dance. Daniella and Patrycja have been commissioned to film and produce a series of three short promotional films aimed at recruiting more young people to the project. Patrycja has been putting her camera and editing skills learnt from the BFI Film Academy to hard work for this project. Patrycja commented: "Completing the BFI Film Academy at Eastside has made me a stronger filmmaker and has opened more doors for me, which I am really thankful for. The BFI film Academy was such a good programme and experience, I wish I could do it again!"


Over the 12 weeks of the BFI Film Academy the students work in small groups to produce short films, some of which have an afterlife of their own! One of this year’s films, Seeing Red, made by Liam Abbott, Amid Ojubanire, Daisy Japes-Wattam, Jennifer Opara and Saskia de Borchgrave was selected to be screened as part of Hackey Mash Festival in early July. Seeing Red and Persistence were also screened at the Cutting East Film Festival in March.


The BFI Film Academy is an exciting programme that gives many young people their first real insight into a popular but often exclusive industry. All students produce great films with a professional feel and we are proud to support those committed and talented young people take their next step. Here at Eastside we are looking forward to meeting our next group of aspiring film makers.  If you are a dedicated and driven individual with a passion for film and interested in applying for this year’s BFI Film Academy please click here.



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