The BFI Film Academy is a UK-wide comprehensive training and education initiative. It ensures that gifted young people – whether they live in Belfast, Bangor, Newport or Glasgow – have the opportunity to gain the essential skills to enter the film industry. An exemplary programme led by industry experts, BFI Film Academy courses cover every area of film and equip young people with the knowledge, practical skills and contacts to help them in their next steps in education or careers in the industry.
The BFI Film Academy is helping to create the next generation of filmmakers by finding, encouraging and nurturing the talent of tomorrow, wherever it may be. Using the experience, reputation and expertise of the BFI, the courses offered encompass all aspects of filmmaking including craft skills development, film history and understanding film as an art form. Participants are guided to develop their own ideas, practice their craft and create effective working relationships. Courses are run at weekends or evenings around school or college, and bursaries for travel and childcare are available to ensure young people from all backgrounds are able to attend.
Participants also have access to the BFI’s residential courses in specialised areas such as documentary filmmaking, animation, scriptwriting and visual effects. Students from National Lottery-funded Film Academy programmes in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales were able to take part in the two-week course at the internationally-renowned National Film and Television School, adding to their skills, knowledge through opportunities to learn from experts. Young filmmakers are also supported in their next steps in the industry. A mentoring programme with online masterclasses and career surgeries run in partnership with BAFTA continues to support its participants beyond the course itself. With this strong focus on progression routes, many young people enter into work placements as a result of their participation.
With the help of National Lottery funding this year, the BFI Film Academy expanded into Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Courses are delivered in Northern Ireland by Cinemagic and the Nerve Centre; in Scotland by Dundee Contemporary Arts, GMAC (Glasgow Media Access Centre) and Screen Education Edinburgh; and in Wales by Documentary Academy Wales Network. The BFI Film Academy forms a key part of the BFI’s ambitious plans to revolutionise film education for 5-19 year olds, and was an outcome of the Cultural Education in England, an independent review by Darren Henley for the Department for Education, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The BFI Film Academy is also funded by the Department for Education in England, Creative Scotland and Northern Ireland Screen.