BFI Film Academy 9: Izzy Palmer

Izzy Palmer is one of the participants on our ninth BFI Film Academy (2020). Having completed the academy, we asked her about her experience of the course…

I was thrilled when my application to the BFI Film Academy was accepted. When I (remotely) met the staff and the other members of the group, I knew that it was going to be a brilliant experience. It was wonderful to be introduced to a group of people who were as interested in and excited by film as I am and knowing that there was a group of staff there to help us all the way was really helpful.

The Zoom sessions, which varied from film theory to the development of the idea for our documentary, were really interesting. I learnt a lot about the beginning stages of the filmmaking process, as well as the theory and inspiration behind film genres and eras that I was unaware of before. It was great to work with members of staff who all had experience in the film industry.

I took part in the film shoot at HOME for our documentary on 27th October, 2020. After receiving PPE and temperature checks, we began by learning how to use all of the equipment including cameras, sound recorders, and lights. I found this both exciting and, initially, slightly overwhelming, as I had never come into contact with this kind of professional equipment before. Once I was familiar with the equipment that we would be using in the production of our documentary, I felt comfortable in making use of it. For our first interview, I took up the role of what I now know is called the clapper loader– a part I was secretly excited about (I think even Hitchcock would agree that the clap of the board is the embodiment of professional filmmaking!). For the second interview I was the operator of the A Cam – amongst other things, this role meant pressing the red button to start recording (possibly the most nerve-wracking moment of the whole film shoot!). I also enjoyed this role very much. For the third interview I was the interviewer. This position was one that I was not completely interested in at the beginning of the shoot and that I felt quite nervous about taking up, but I really enjoyed it and was very glad that I had done it. Overall, the film shoot was a fantastic experience and I learned a lot from it, both about the filmmaking process and my own filmmaking career aspirations.

I think, most of all, the Film Academy has improved and increased my skills, ambition and determination to achieve my goals in the film industry and I couldn’t be happier that I applied for it and was accepted. In this way, it has also taught me the invaluable lesson of taking up any opportunities that come my way. It has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and I’ve met a great group of people who I know I will stay in touch with for a long time and I can’t wait to hopefully work with them in the future. Thank you to HOME and the BFI for this lifechanging opportunity.