We were well chuffed when we saw this article published and myself, Jade and, ‘Penguin’ actress, Bhav Parmar went for a celebratory drink and face stuffing at TGI Friday’s.
Article from: The Guardian – www.guardian.co.uk, by Henry Barnes:
Film’s fab four: National Youth Film Academy gives young talent a shot
The NYFA invited 34 young film-makers to team up with 34 young actors to produce four short films – with impressive results
“Oh Christ, Oh Christ, Oh Christ.” Kyle Hilton is muttering to himself as he enters the BFI Southbank’s NFT1. The 450-seat auditorium is slowly filling up as Kyle looks for the right spot from which to watch the premiere of a film he’s worked on – his third short feature and the first film he’s shown at a venue as large and as prestigious as the BFI. “Oh Christ, I’m stressed. I’m the editor. I’ve cut 15 minutes in two days. Five hours sleep in three days.”
I’m telling him it’ll be OK, but he seems unconvinced. Then I lose him in the blur as 60 or so young people swamp the room. They push past me, but they see 21-year-old Kyle, because he’s one of them. He seems to relax, finds the right seat and settles with them. The lights go down and 61 or so young people bellow their approval as a title card comes up: “National Youth Film Academy.”
The NYFA has existed for just three months. In that time it’s auditioned 3,000 applicants (aged 16-25) for one of the 68 places on its 10-day programme. Kyle was one of the 34 film-makers invited on to the course, who are joined by 34 promising young actors from across the country. The NYFA students work together in four teams to produce four 10-minute shorts that showcase their talents to the pros from the casting agencies and production companies that have assembled at the screening in the BFI. It’s a genuine chance for these young people to stand out and maybe have a chance at being offered full-time employment in an industry defined by competition and beset by financial problems. No wonder Kyle’s nervous.
“We’ve chosen these young people based on their potential to succeed in the industry,” says Rob Earnshaw, a casting director and founder and artistic director of the NYFA.
“There are some that have been to film school and there are some that have literally shown us that they’re fantastic using their iPhone to film their little brother and sister on a bike. So there’s a range of skills, but it’s really about the potential of these young people to succeed in the industry.”
Back in NFT1, the shorts prove to be thoughtful, funny and clever – exceptionally well done considering the whole production process was completed in just under a fortnight by people who hadn’t met before. Crucially, they are made by young people, but they’re not youth-orientated. One deals with the dangers of nostalgia in love, another imagines a job interview where the seven deadly sins vie for the same position, another fills a bar with bitching, broken romantics and watches as they set upon each other. This variety, says the BFI’s Noel Goodwin, programmer of Future Film (the institute’s youth festival) is not unusual:
“It’s nice to see young people interested in telling stories,” he says. “They don’t have to necessarily be saying something about the state of youth today. I think individual young film-makers just do stuff that they’re interested in.”
If you’re not dealing in “youth issues”, then it’s not young people’s cinema as much as it’s cinema made by young people. And it should be respected as such. The sincerity and professionalism of the students I met at the showcase, the way they were already able to “sell” their work, suggested that they were here to be treated as bankable talents. Exposure, not age nor experience, is the factor holding them back, and that’s exactly the problem that the NYFA hopes to help solve:
“It’s not about teaching them to act or produce or direct,” said Rob Earnshaw. “It’s about putting them in front of industry professionals who have excelled in their field.” (During this course the students were given advice by Iain Canning (producer of The King’s Speech), Monsters director Gareth Edwards and The Inbetweeners star Simon Bird). “If we can create an organisation that establishes itself as a centre of excellence for young talent then hopefully the industry will know and then hopefully provide opportunities for them.”
The benchmark then has to be the quality of the finished work and how it compares to the standard in the industry. In this regard, of the four films shown at the BFI, one stood out. Penguin, the story of a young woman trying to cope with the death of her boyfriend, had style and featured a powerful performance from its lead, 19-year-old Londoner, Hannah Duffy. The climax of the film saw Duffy’s character tormented by the voice of her ex as the camera revolved around her in. A cliche perhaps, but it’s one that’s hard to make look this professional in such a short space of time.
The film’s editor seemed pleased anyway. Or at least, pleased enough: “I think it was really solid,” said Kyle, after the screening. “The sort of thing I was frustrated about was going in, having a really strong film, but it not being absolute perfection.” If anyone’s going to achieve that, it’s probably one of this lot.
Five to look out for:
Jade Moulla (21): Director of Penguin, a confident, distinctive short that made good use of a talented ensemble cast. Moulla is also an actor, signed to the Curtis Brown agency, who appeared in Joe Wright’s Atonement.
Hannah Duffy (19): Hannah had the lead role in Penguin, which sees her character dealing with the death of her boyfriend. Her descent from just-about-keeping-it-together to utter despair during the 15-minute runtime was totally believable.
Josh Merritt (22): Scriptwriter on All Bar One, a clever comedy short that drew on Larry David’s influence in its cavalier attitude to polite society’s norms.
Bexie Archer (19): Stole the show in Jake Warren’s The Way Nostalgia Feels by playing an absent-minded girl who uses a stranger’s hand as a notepad to take down a phone number.
Misha Vertkin (19): The film Misha directed – Syndicate, a religious fantasy comedy set in a weird near-future – was ambitious, smart and even a little scary.
Here’s the link to the original article – ‘Film’s Fab Four’ by Henry Barnes, The Guardian.