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BFI Film Academy 6: Maddy Cooper

Maddy Cooper is one of the participants on our sixth BFI Film Academy. Having almost completed the course, we asked Maddy what she thought of the academy…

The opportunity to work alongside creatively like-minded young people and professionals initially attracted me to apply for the BFI Film academy as never before had I enrolled in an arts project outside of college, certainly not one covering the vast topic of film. Despite having no knowledge in this area previous to the course, I quickly became comfortable and engaged in the intense but energetic History of Film lectures every Wednesday night. Not only did reflecting on the past help me develop my knowledge of the political, social and historical events that helped shape the history of film, but through the close analysis, evaluation and group discussions on history’s finest directors and producers, it inspired me to practise my own filmmaking skills.

We began our Saturday sessions by thinking of ideas and creating a basic storyline for the film. By looking at what we wanted our film to portray and the use of rhetorical questions (who is this film’s audience? What is the purpose behind making the film? What is the genre of this film?) we were able to agree on an overall cinematic style we wanted our film to have very early on in the process.

During the writing of the script our film quickly developed a timeless period, which is reflected in the costume and set design of the film. In the development process I would say I thoroughly enjoyed the quick-fire session with Dean and the photographic equipment, as working with proper equipment was something I hadn’t practised before, Dean was extremely helpful in teaching me the professional techniques and settings as was John when guiding us on how to direct a scene. This is definitely a skill I wish I’d had more time to build on.

During the filming of the project, which lasted four days, I discovered an interest for set and costume design. I worked closely with Ally to help ensure the costumes maintained continuity for the film and also discussed techniques on how to create a costume perfectly suited to a character.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the BFI film course and wait with anticipation to see the final product. Not only have the technical skills I’ve learnt helped me develop myself creatively outside the course, but the analytical and interpretive skills I learnt through the history of film course have definitely helped expand my taste in cinema and made me discover different works of art, which I wouldn’t of thought to look at before.

Find out more about our BFI Film Academy, head here.

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