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BFI Film Academy 10: Talissa’s Shakouri’s Blog

Talissa Shakouri is one of the participants on our tenth BFI Film Academy (2021). Having almost finished the academy, we asked them about their experience of the course…

So far, my experience on HOME’s BFI Film Academy 2021 has been incredible! When I discovered the academy, I instantly knew it was perfect for me as I wanted to broaden my knowledge of practical filmmaking and with the course I’ve achieved exactly that. I’ve gained lots of practical, hands-on experience whilst also meeting amazing people and building new friendships. Learning directly from industry professionals has really helped me to grow new skills, and as a result my confidence when working in film has grown massively.

On set, we were able to get a taste of each of the different production roles, from directing to camera and from sound to lighting. The roles I took on were 1st AD, DOP, boom operator and director- some of which I had never tried before or had little experience with, particularly working in the sound department. My favourite role and the one I was most excited to have a go at was DOP, as I was keen to expand my technical skills as well as my creativity. This was also the most physically challenging too as a professional handheld camera for a small person like myself is pretty heavy- especially when filming a fight scene! Having this experience of trying out different roles has helped me to pick out which areas I’d like to learn more about and consider working in the future.

As well as learning so much during the practical side of the academy, I’ve also expanded my knowledge about the theoretical side of film. During our theory sessions we had people from the BBFC and HOME’s film team educate us on topics we probably hadn’t even thought about such as film programming and the influence of British cinema etc. It was a real eye opener and taught me a lot about the details in film that are often overlooked.

The academy has taught me so much and we’ve had so much fun while making our short film! There’s always help at hand when facing challenges and all in all I felt so welcomed and valued by everyone on the course.