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BFI Film Academy 8: Poppy Ellison

Poppy Ellison is one of the participants on our eighth BFI Film Academy (2019). Having almost completed the academy, we asked her about her experience on the course…

When I first heard about the BFI film academy, I knew I had to apply. Nothing in life intrigues me more than film and filmmaking, so the opportunity to not only be able to actually make a film and be on a film set, but to also be surrounded by other passionate film lovers was an opportunity I couldn’t pass on. I applied and I was ecstatic when I was given a place. I fell in love with the film academy immediately, my first session was film history which was extremely fascinating and engaging. There’s always so much to learn and discover with film and its very inspiring to understand its development as an art form and how it encapsulates the emotions and developments of different time periods. It was on that first film history session when I also met the other participants. We immediately all got on really well, everyone including the staff were incredibly friendly and made me feel very welcome.

The Saturday sessions were when we focused on our short film. First of all, we came up with our idea. It was a very interesting and fun process. We all shared and interpreted each other’s ideas and it was a very open environment. When we decided on our final choice, I felt that we were all on the same page and our ideas and visions gelled really well together. This ultimately made the script writing session go really smoothly and a lot of fun.

Making the film and being on set was an intense but incredible experience. I loved directing a part of the film and I learnt a lot about the role and what it really entails. Being able to work with actors and really bring my ideas and visions to life was amazing! We were able to switch roles throughout the film making process so everybody had the opportunity to try a different role. During the shoot, we also had the opportunity to work alongside a makeup artist for our gore scenes. It was fascinating to observe her and she made the gore scenes very gory indeed (which is always nice for a horror film).

One of my favourite aspects of the filmmaking process so far has most definitely been the editing. I didn’t think I’d be too amazing at it or find it very fun but I must say after doing it for two weeks, it’s extremely entertaining. Some say its tedious and it can be, however, I found something quite satisfying about it. It is really where the magic happens and the first edit of our film was actually very good. Like the scriptwriting, everyone is on the same page and working incredibly well. After watching each other’s edits I can tell our film is going to be very entertaining.

A really great aspect of the academy has been completing the Silver Arts Award. I think it’s been a very useful task and it has widened my knowledge and skills. Ally has been wonderful and supportive keeping us on track with our weekly tasks and it will be a lovely award to take away with me from the academy.

The BFI film academy has so far been absolutely amazing and I’ve loved every second of it! I’ve made so many new friends and the amount of skills and experience I’ve gained is mind-blowing and invaluable for my journey to working in the film industry. I’d like to thank John, Judith, Bart, Ally, Maggie and Rosie for such an unforgettable experience.