Why you should apply for the BFI Film Academy 2018

Lily reflects on her time at BFI Film Academy making her first film as part of a crew – and tells you how you could too

The BFI Film Academy is one of the best things you can do as a young person if you have an interest in film. It’s a fantastic experience, not just for gaining knowledge and practical experience in an industry you might be passionate about but also because you meet other people at the same stage as you in their career in film and with the same passion. These are the people you may even go on to make films with once the course is finished.

There are film academies up and down the country and we have two in Bristol. There’s the documentary-focused one that takes place at Watershed in partnership with Rife Magazine (just like this article). Then there’s the fiction one that I did at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. On this course you learn everything from the beginning to the end of the filmmaking process. You also get to specialise in a department you have a particular interest in for the making of a short film.

I focused on directing and I helped with the writing and most aspects of the preproduction. The film we made my year, Bad Seed, was so much fun to make. It’s a comedy so I was in my element directing it. The shoot weekend, though long, tiring and a lot of hard work, was one of the best weekends of my life. Besides, we got a film out of it (an award-nominated film!)

In the lead up to the shoot, as well as all the prep for the film, we had loads of masterclasses in every discipline within the industry. We had everything from animation to cinematography to editing and more. Each masterclass was lead by a professional in the industry and every single one was insightful, interesting and incredibly useful.

After finishing the course I have had the privilege of working on some really cool projects, including projects with friends, stuff for the BBC and loads more. I’ve accompanied films to festivals all over, including York and very excitingly Denmark. I even went to London with Bad Seed when it was nominated for an award at the Future Film Festival. Now I’m studying at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre for a degree in production arts (all things film and theatre tech). My second year is when I will be doing film and I can’t wait. None of these things you could link directly to doing the BFI Film Academy but it’s all connected somehow, because of somebody I met, or something I heard about. Besides after having done the course I have the skills and the knowledge to feel confident on a set.

Applying for a place on this course might be a bit daunting, as applying for anything is. However as long as you are yourself and you’re enthusiastic you’ll stand yourself in good stead. I didn’t get in the first time around so I applied again the next year and the rest, as they say is history. The best piece of advice I could give you is to just apply. The worst thing that could happen is that you don’t get in but you’ve gained some experience in applying for things, which you will likely do often throughout your life. The best that could happen is that you get in, and that can’t happen if you don’t apply. The deadline for applications is 5 November this year so what are you waiting for? Get them applications in.

Apply here: bfifab.org.uk