Make a Film in a Weekend

A beginner’s film-making weekend is looking for participants to sow new seeds of grassroots cinema as the industry takes a hit from COVID, writes Charlie Parry.

The Make a Film in a Weekend (MAFIA) event is hosted by Bell House, a Dulwich-based centre for educational needs outside of the mainstream curriculum.

During November 14 and 15, youngsters aged 17-23 will be given lessons on scriptwriting, direction of actors, editing, and more, to produce short films that will be shown at a community screening.

The opportunity comes at a time of uncertainty for UK cinema, as the Covid-19 crisis takes its toll on the industry.

Redundancies, closures, and directors pushing back the release dates of major films has left it scrambling for ways to survive.

The organisers of the MAFIA Weekend hope that the event can nurture talent for DIY film-making that will keep British cinema relevant throughout the crisis.

Event co-ordinator James Broadley said: “You only need to look at world game-changing British TV like I may Destroy you and Fleabag to see that creatives are building their own stories off their back.

“Creating with other people is intrinsic to who we are as humans – we can offer the film industry opportunities for people to come together and reveal their creativity in a safe, kind and fun place.”

Clara Morris attended the course this time last year, and had her film screened at the British Film Institute.

She said: “It was a very big and exciting moment for me and I was able to share what I had made with the team with my family and friends in a special way.

“I was considering film school because films and storytelling have always been a passion for me, though I wasn’t sure if it’s something I would truly enjoy, as I hadn’t really experienced it before. I went on the course to test out film-making to see if it was for me.”

She is now starting work on her own short films, and studying practical film-making at university, she hopes that courses like this can be a big help for the future of UK cinema.

“My local cinema, like many others, has closed and is not scheduled to reopen. I feel like this course could help in some way, by getting more people connected and interested in making films.”

Tickets are £100 and a 10 per cent discount is available for National Youth Theatre members and returning MAFIA Weekend participants.

There are also bursaries available for those who may not be able to pay the full price of the ticket.

If you would like to find out more about the course and how to receive a bursary, email film@bellhouse.com or follow them on twitter @weekend_mafia.


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