Teens have three minutes to impress

Members of Berwick Youth Project at the Beehive where they have been working on making a movie to open Berwick Film Festival
Members of Berwick Youth Project at the Beehive where they have been working on making a movie to open Berwick Film Festival

AT the end of last week, the team behind Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival lifted the lid on what people can expect from the event in 2012 and in keeping with previous years the spotlight will be firnmly shone on up and coming talent.

And stepping into that spotlight once again are members of Berwick Film Academy who you may have seen on location all around Berwick last week as they shot footage for their film which will be premiered at the festival’s Young Filmmakers’ Showcase on Saturday, September 22.

But there’s a lot of hard work to be done before the budding filmmakers can walk the red carpet and settle down with some popcorn.

‘The Guide’ caught up with the Academy members after filming had wrapped and just before they were about to get stuck into the tricky task of editing it into a three minute long masterpiece.

But rather than stress about how they were going to condense their hours of work into one golden nugget of film, the teenagers involved seemed to be revelling in their foray into the world of film.

Kyla, a self-confessed film fan, commented: “I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s been really fun and a great experience.”

Past creations from the Film Academy, run in conjunction with Berwick Youth Project, have cast the microscope on teen pregancy and seen killer zombies invade Berwick and the as yet untitled film which will make its debut at The Maltings next month is about a man who finds his own body washed up on his beach.

The idea for the rather unusual storyline came straight from the mind of Academy member Lauren.

“The main storyline is the guy trying to find out how he came to be washed up,” she explained.

“The inspiration for the initial draft was the idea of assassins vs detectives but it was really hard to come up with an ending!”

With two main parts and a host of other roles needing filled, the youngsters involved with the film have had the chance to star in front of the camera as well as work behind it.

Discussing her part, Lauren continued: “I really like my part as everyone thinks I’m the villain but really I’m the antagonist.”

“We’ve had a few people give us strange looks while we’ve been filming around the town,” fellow Academy member Felicity added, who is enjoying her second stint as a filmmaker.

“On the first day of filming this woman came up to ask what we were doing even though it was a bit obvious with cameras in our hands!

“This one’s very different to the film I was involved in a few years ago. There’s a more detailed storyline and we’ve thought about the camera angles a lot more.”

Felicity isn’t the only one who’s no stranger to the Academy, Youth Project worker Merrick Thomson has also been there from day one and agreed that things has stepped up a gear this year.

“They’ve done really well. After coming up with the initial idea they spent the Thursday night sessions here in the Beehive unpicking the story and trying to make it more believable.

“It was certainly a very ambitious and random concept they came up with but they’ve done themselves proud.”

The group admitted that one of the big influences on the way they shot their film was The Bourne films, directed by Paul Greengrass “because of the handheld camera work and all the action,” one member added.

Overseing the band of enthusiastic young Spielbergs this year has been the job of Laura Degnan and James Harris of Middlesbrough based Writer’s Block North East and like Merrick they were full of praise for the teens.

“They have been absolutely brilliant,” Laura enthused.

“They were keen to get some great visuals and from the footage we’ve seen so far they’ve certainly achieved that.

“Condensing it all into three minutes isn’t going to be easy, particularly as there are so many exciting elements to the film - it’s got action, philosophy, the works.”

“What’s so good about filming in Berwick is its amazing locations,” James added.

“We’ve been on the Pier Beach, on the ramparts, the Royal Border Bridge, in the bell tower up old alley ways - there are so many places to use.

“It’s so important for anyone interested in filmmaking to get into it at a young age. The internet is expanding all the time so by learning film skills, youngsters have the potential to tell the world the stories of their imagination.”