UCLan film production students recently returned from this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, where they were able to mix with all the industry’s movers and shakers - even on their first night!
By receiving an invitation to the opening film, Breathe In, the students also attended the opening night party where they met the film’s star, Felicity Jones. Felicity, who has just completed work on the latest Spiderman blockbuster, confided in UCLan’s film production lecturer Chris Leonard, how impressed she had been with the students’ film knowledge and courteous attitude. “They’ll go far!” she commented.
The festival, one of the oldest in the world, remains a prestigious event on the festival calendar, and prides itself on its informal and accessible nature, making it ideal for new starters to the industry.
With films being screened across several venues from 9:00 in the morning through until midnight every day, the students got to engage with lots of diverse filmmaking, and the festival also hosted short film programmes which gave the students a true idea of what they can realistically aspire to.
As Matt Hall commented: “Edinburgh was a really great experience and I feel like I've learned a lot from it. I'm definitely eager to do it again….”
Film Production students Flora Martyr, Lewis Evans and Matt Hall, outside the Festival Theatre for the opening film of the 67th Edinburgh International Film Festival’s opening film ‘Breathe-in’, starring Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones.
But it’s not all about watching films. There are tons of industry events and workshops on offer, such as; Rob Hardy on Cinematography, ‘Market Place Live’, Independent distribution, and ‘Pitching projects’, amongst many, many others – all aimed at offering new knowledge and development. It really gives anybody involved in the film industry, at whatever level, an opportunity to progress. And the students found this to be the case, picking up several contacts from the networking that was done.
Chris Leonard, the UCLan lecturer who took the students, added: “It’s terrific to see the students get the opportunity to engage with the industry up close and personal. It’s important for them to see that they have a place within it, and it isn’t some fanciful notion that students can only dream of. Besides, it’s not just the students who benefit – whilst in Edinburgh, I bumped into distributor Dave Shear, who I met originally in Cannes a few years back, and we’re now talking about how we might put something unique together for the UCLan feature film that the film production students produce. It’s exciting stuff.”
With continued support from colleagues Mick Gornall and Alan Keegan in the School of Journalism and Media, Chris is hopeful Edinburgh can become a regular feature on the film production programme.