Film academy seeks students for summer

Up to 1,500 young people from across the UK are being given the opportunity to work alongside film industry professionals to help create feature-length films this summer

Young people aged 14-25 are being invited to apply for a series of film-making camps being run by The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy (BYFA).

The camps, which are full-time and residential, will be run for five weeks throughout the school holidays in July and August. Each student will join a film team in either the North West, Yorkshire, East Midlands, West Midlands or Wales.

At a time when youth unemployment is at 20% according to the UK Office for National Statistics, Kevin Atkinson, BYFA director, believes the film school could be an all-important foot-in-the-door for young people. “The film industry is notoriously hard to break into and it is our aim to break down those barriers,” he said.

The BYFA is the only co-operatively run film academy in the UK. Rather than being controlled by shareholders, it is run by its members – 19 educational institutions in England and Wales.

Students will have the opportunity to try their hand at any aspect of filmmaking, such as acting, operating cameras, editing, or costume, makeup and set design. As well as giving students who are passionate about film some valuable experience for the future, the scheme aims to get young people working towards a common goal to create something they can be proud of.

Previous BYFA student John Montegrande, who acted in the film Upstaged in 2005, said: “Back then I didn’t quite know where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. The BYFA gave me the opportunity to learn by doing.” Through the camps, John became interested in directing and in 2012 co-directed his first feature film with the BYFA, entitled Julius Caesar. The film was described by Raindance reviewer Sami El-Hadi as “a testament to the imagination of today’s film-makers, providing a fresh and original perspective on the story.” So far, eight feature-length films have been made by the BYFA.

The summer camp prices range from £200 to £600, with free places on offer for those attending a college or university that is a BYFA member institution.