Inspiring NE Film


What a fabulous day we have had at Inspire2Learn today. Following a chance meeting (if there ever is such a thing) with Jacqui Miller-Charlton and Craig Conway a few weeks ago at a Tees Valley Business Club event, we hosted an inspirational day of film to link with the Newcastle International Film Festival. Jacqui and Craig had come down to Teesside to talk about the festival but also articulate the vision that media production NE is something that is sadly lacking at the moment and such a waste of talent. They wanted to include the whole of the NE under the festival banner and use it to drive some change. This is the sort of activity that Inspire2Learn is designed to support so I offered to run a film making day and perhaps Craig as a well known local actor would be able to Skype in and talk to the students at some point?

The answer was no.

Instead he offered to actually come down and work with a group of students on a masterclass. I did point out that this was probably the busiest day of his life with the festival opening that night but he was adamant. He was coming. That sort of passion and commitment stands out for me and I used the offer as the basis of a showcase event. Knowing that students from one of our local colleges has a film nominated at the festival (amongst many other awards it is up for!), I invited Kelly Fairhurst, their inspirational tutor at Stockton Riverside College, to bring a group of young actors to work with Craig.

The event was designed around showcasing the talent in the area and also inspiring the next generation of film makers so I also invited another inspirational teacher, Matt Turnbull, and his students from Hillsview Academy to come and be part of the day. That meant we had students who are already into professional qualifications level working with students who are coming up to their GCSE choices. We do a fair bit of film work here at the centre and that is something that will increase next year because this day was merely the start of our association with the Newcastle festival. What all of us agreed when we first met is that a showcase day is great but a systematic programme of events for all ages was key to creating the change that is needed.

But back to today. Craig came for an hour….well, it was the longest hour I’ve ever timed. Working on audition pieces with the college age actors, having a long discussion with the nominated film makers and then a Q&A session with the Y9s, he was a brilliant guest and truly inspirational. You can see from the montage below:

Mat led the opening warm up sessions with all of the students and then while SRC took part in a masterclass,  we worked with the Hillsview students to learn iMovie so that they would have the skills to create a short project later. After Craig eventually had to leave, the students were put into mixed groups and challenged with TalkingUpTeesside. It was a very tight schedule to script, film and edit something that looked any good in essentially 75mins but it was brilliant too see how the groups gelled really well with everyone having input of ideas and sharing roles:

I think the films below are incidental to the learning that went on today. Compromise, team working, developing skills as needed, problem solving….just a few examples of the sort of skills and attitudes that they needed to employ to get anywhere near finishing something.

This day was a showcase. A start. Look out for our more progessive programme next year starting at primary and working upwards. Now enjoy today’s work…

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