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Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Three

This week’s blog from the From Her Point of View programme features a behind-the-scenes look at camera and lighting techniques. Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Three

Before I tell you all what we got up to this week, I’m thrilled to say that now things are a little more settled I think it’s time I tell you a little about the films! Firstly, I can reveal there’s been a change of plan from one of our production teams. Their original idea – “Where I Came From”, exploring the story of a female refugee with a mix of drama and real life testimonials – was proving a challenge due to our time frame: not having the time to build up trust and relationships with individuals and charities to the extent that would do justice to their idea and, more importantly, the stories of the people the team wanted to approach. It is an extremely sensitive subject and would no doubt involve some incredibly traumatic experiences that people might not feel comfortable sharing with a film crew – and the last thing the team wanted was anybody feeling uncomfortable. Luckily, you might remember that Writer/Director Kam had two ideas, and the team decided that it was perhaps time to make a change!

The films are both ‘coming of age’ dramas but explore their ideas and themes in different ways. Kam’s team are now working on “Black Cherry” – a film that explores race, class and sex, all through the relationship that Ange, a young woman of Indian/South Asian descent, has with her boyfriend Ben. ‘Throughout the story this subtext is held back, but as tensions rise [there is] the sense that these issues may erupt, breaking through the veneer of tolerance, adding a dangerous and contemporary feel.’

The other team are working on “Blood Warriors  directed by Rosa. The film centres on ‘an incredibly unique self-styled all-female Bristol BMX crew. The film spends a day with the young ladies as they face the trials of being a teenage girl who demand[s] to be heard.’

You could say that the week of 9th and 10th February was Lights, Camera, Action week as we were joined by camerawoman Sarah Edwards, who took us through the basics of camera and lighting. I’m a complete novice to lighting and my experience of camera work is limited to in front of it, and then only very briefly as an extra and a challenge competing for the most Youtube hits in a set time frame. That in mind, I was blown away by the sheer amount of kit Sarah has in her arsenal to do her job as a camera woman, which greeted us as we walked in. But never let it be said I’m not willing to try new things!


Thursday and most of Friday were devoted to camera work. For the “theory” part at the beginning of the sessions Sarah wanted to cover a few of the photography basics. These included:

The rule of thirds: this is one way of producing a photo or piece of film that will draw the viewer’s eye and engage their attention. Divide everything into thirds, with two horizontal and two vertical lines so you have nine parts. The idea is that you place the object/person you want your audience to focus on in that scene along those lines, or at the points where they meet.

Depth of Field: this is the distance between the nearest object in a frame and the farthest. It will affect how sharply your subjects appear in focus in a frame.

ISO or International Standards Organisation: in photography and filmmaking, this is the industry standard that measures the camera’s sensitivity to light and is measured in a numbered scale. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive. Most cameras now allow for the photographer to change the ISO settings to what they require depending on the surroundings.

f stop: in this industry, f stops are used to quantify ratios of light or exposure.

Focal Length: simply put, this tells a photographer the angle of view and the magnification.

We also explored camera angles, colour and camera movement, with a little help from clips from Luther, Marvel’s Jessica Jones and the movie Drive, to name a few examples!

After Thursday’s theory, to help reinforce Sarah’s introduction, each team was given a camera. The idea was to play around with Focal Length and Depth of Field, by having one of the team “model” for the camera, moving it further and further away, and each time switching to a lens with a higher focal length and seeing how the image is affected. I got to model for Team Black Cherry.


For the beginning of Friday, we shifted the focus to lighting. Our eyes will adjust to changes in light and for a Director of Photography on a shoot, the tools of your trade are usually in three categories, measured in Kelvin.

3200k: this is known as Tungsten and is orange.

4300k: florescent or mixed colours

5600: “daylight” – this is blue.

We also looked at White Balance – making the colours in the frame appear as natural as possible by removing unwanted colour casts. The light you choose will evoke tone and atmosphere in your piece, whatever genre it might be.

Sarah also explored Documentary Lighting, and how a great Digital Imaging Technician can be very helpful on a shoot, including how imperative it is you make two copies of everything you do!

Tying both camera and lighting together, Sarah once more sent us out with a camera. This time, we could also experiment with different types of lighting and colour, and show her what we’d learned throughout the two days she was with us.

Again, I was on team Black Cherry. We had producer Holly making tea using different kinds of camera angles, decided to be a little ‘out there’ and lit the toilets in such a way to make them look like a jail cell, and I made my camera woman debut filming Holly come down the stairs with the help of some coloured gel. It looked like something out of a horror movie, in the coolest kind of way!

Stay tuned for Week Four, where we moved away from the camera, to focus on sound.

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Two

This week’s blog from the From Her Point of View programme features how to work with actors and write for the screen. Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Two: Working with Actors & Screenwriting

Now we all know each other, it was time to hit the ground running! This week began with a session led by Esther May Campbell: An Introduction to Working with Actors. A self-taught writer and director, Esther has some impressive and inspiring credentials. Her debut feature film ‘Light Years’ premiered at the London Film Festival in 2015, she won the Best Short Film BAFTA in 2009 with ‘September’, and has worked on shows like Wallander and Skins.

Working with Actors

The session began with Esther distinguishing between actors and non-actors, and how you would change your approach and style of direction depending on your casting decisions. This gave each production team food for thought and started the process of thinking about this in relation to their scripts. Esther also talked about scale of performance – the intensity you want a scene to have. To start this process simply, she encouraged us to think about it on a scale of 1 to 10. She also touched on the principle we will continue to hear about: Intention.

For a director, Intention is all about what you want the scene to do, and how you explore this within the wider frame of your character’s story. To tie this in with the idea of scale, she asked two of us (Rosa and Florence) to help her with a demonstration. The rest of us had to give a setting, and a beach was suggested. She then took Rosa and Florence aside and gave them an intention, without letting the other (or us) know what it was. Rosa and Florence then had to run with this and ad lib a scene, and play around with scale of performance.

Next, Esther gathered us all back around the screen in the main studio to watch some clips from a couple of films and see if we could identify the intention of the scene. The catch: the sound had to be muted!

This workshop was a real eye opener for me. As a lover of films who particularly enjoys watching an actor’s performance for the finer, more subtle nuances, it was great to gain a bit more insight into how their choices and director’s influence can affect the bigger picture. We’ll be lucky enough to have Esther with us again in a few weeks’ time.

The rest of the evening passed with each production team meeting to discuss their next steps, ahead of needing a first draft of their script in a fortnight. Both production teams also had a brief chat with Carrie Love about preparation for Art Department. We’ll hear more from Carrie in March at our production design workshops.


On Friday 3rd February, I felt I’d come into my element as our workshop was on screenwriting. As an aspiring writer and blogger who wants to get into the creative industry in some shape or form, I confess I had never thought about writing for film prior to taking part in this project, but I know I found it incredibly helpful. Film is a visual medium, so you show your audience, not tell them. I’d always thought of writing being the opposite of this, but I soon learned that you can translate many of the skills between the two disciplines.

The presentation was broken down into several principles, so here’s a brief run down:

Use your creative truth – Everyone’s voice is unique and will colour what you create. You will have a perspective that no one else has and can explore what is important to you.

Let your theme guide your plot – Think more widely about what you want your film to achieve and explore. Your characters will drive the plot and represent the themes in the action they come across.

Intention and Obstacle Ah, our old familiar friends! We were briefly introduced to Intention and Obstacle in previous weeks. Intention is what your characters want and Obstacle is what prevents them from achieving this. Whatever else happens in your film, it will boil down to these two must-have elements. Everything else will hang on this, so it must make sense. The intention must be established at the beginning, and the simplest way is by having your characters say what it is, thereby engaging the audience from the outset. Remember that your obstacle does not need to be overcome and that the crux of drama will come from you pressing your intentions and obstacles.

Plot – What happens: setup, conflict resolution, beginning, middle, end. Choose an idea that you can do justice to within your time frame, focus in on a small aspect and infer the bigger picture.

Character Your characters are fictional creations and therefore they don’t need to be real; they can just serve the purpose in your narrative. Your characters are defined by their approach to the obstacles that block their intentions.

Research ‘Hard research’ is about specifics. If you have a character that has a particular occupation, for example, [details of] these things will need to be part of the narrative to make it convincing. ‘Soft research’ gets you closer to your subject matter and is more useful if you don’t know what exactly you are looking for. Think of soft research in terms of intentions and obstacles.

Writing technique – Show, don’t tell. Be economical with your words: ditch adverbs, adjectives are your friends! Give your audience just enough to understand your plot.

This gave us a flavour of how important a screenwriter is. One of the teams are about to learn this in relation to their project […] More on this next time…

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Women in Film: From Her POV Week One

Come behind the scenes with From Her Point of View, Knowle West Media Centre’s three-month training programme for female filmmakers. Find out more about the experience of women in film with this weekly blog from  Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

What’s the story?

“Fourteen incredibly talented women have been assembled by Knowle West Media Centre as part of their new project: From Her Point of View. Their mission: change the face of the film industry, which currently sees women massively under-represented, by equipping them with all the tools and top notch training they need to create two short films. The group meets for one day and an evening each week.

“The training will include workshops on screenwriting, lighting, sound and camera work, just to name a few. The two completed films will be screened as part of Bristol Film Festival’s event celebrating the contribution women have made to cinema.

“Come back over the coming weeks to meet the team and get an insight into what we’re all up to, through the eyes of either me, the project’s Press Agent, or some of our team!”

Week One: Induction and First Workshop – Practical Film Making

From Her Point of View kicked off on Thursday 26th January with our first evening session. It started with a chance for us all to meet for the first time, get to know each other a little bit and talk a bit about our roles on the project. Along with some games to break the ice, we heard about the project in a bit more depth.

After the games, the women split off into their two production crews and talked more about their visions for their films. On one team we had talk of a coming-of-age drama featuring an all-female BMX gang, with the plans for elaborate and incredible costumes, perhaps with an Elizabethan vibe. The other team had a decision to make, as Director/Writer Kam brought two ideas to the table. Enthusiastic praise was given to both, but eventually the group decided on Where I Came From, dramatizing the story of a female refugee. With excerpts of real testimonial, the film would blend the documentary and drama genres.

We also came together as a whole group for a short ‘mapping’ exercise, where we looked at ourselves, our values and what’s important to us. The challenge was to break these elements down into finer and finer detail. The premise was that the teams could apply this approach to their filmmaking, because whatever else you add to your film it will boil down to two essential elements: intention and obstacle (which we’ll hear more about in our Screenwriting workshop). Each crew member was given a document detailing the different roles and responsibilities on the project.

Throughout the evening I was struck by how enthusiastic and passionate the women are. Being in a room with creative, like-minded women creates an exciting and interesting buzz and dynamic. This quality served us well, as the following day saw us thrown in at the deep end with our first practical workshop!


Friday 27th January  began with a brief induction to all the kit the production teams will have at their disposal to make their films, and how each go about booking all their equipment out, with a little help from Barry, Knowle West Media Centre’s Creative Technology Manager. We were also introduced to Tom  Stubbs, of biggerhouse and JUMPcuts films, who set us our first challenge.

Tom brought with him a selection of everyday objects and split the group up into smaller teams. Our challenge was to create and cut together a film over the course of this single session. We had to chose objects from Tom’s collection and feature them in the films. He also stipulated a couple of other rules: every member of the team must be in the film, it must feature three different types of shot (Wide, Mid, Close up) and it must feature four elements/words: DISCOMBOBULATE, PULSE, DUSK & QUAIL.

I started Friday’s session feeling pretty overwhelmed – I’m a blogger and aspiring writer who had never even thought about approaching film before and with no experience other than watching films and one outing as an extra. Having said that, being thrown in at the deep end was fun and useful: I got experience being in front of the camera, an idea of what makes a good shot, and had a go at cutting/editing a scene.

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Cary Comes Home film challenge now open

Are you up for a filmmaking challenge inspired by the Golden Age of cinema? The Cary Grant Comes Home For The Weekend festival is back for 2016 and they’re running a film challenge for micro movies inspired the classic 1938 film Bringing Up Baby. Movies must be under 90 seconds and include one of the following items:

evening dress
dinosaur bones
a net

Intrigued? Find out more here.  Our Director Carolyn Hassan is on the judging panel again this year and is looking forward to seeing your submissions!

Cary Comes Home is run by festival directors Charlotte Crofts and Anna Farthing, born out of their shared passion for Bristol’s vibrant cinema culture and film heritage. The festival’s aims are to celebrate Cary Grant’s Bristol roots, develop new audiences for his films and recreate the golden age of cinema-going.

Recognition at the TechSpark SPARKies Awards

Knowle West Media Centre has been shortlisted at annual tech awards the SPARKies, which ‘celebrate the very best of the technology companies, organisations and individuals fuelling the success of the region.’

Our interactive documentary The Glowing Divide has been shortlisted for the Best Innovation in Digital Entertainment award. The film was produced by a team of eight Junior Digital Producers in 2015 and tackled the issue of social isolation amongst teenagers.  It explored what could be done to provide help and support, engaging three isolated young people and providing skills training for a team of first-time filmmakers in the process. The SPARKies Best Innovation in Digital Entertainment award ‘celebrates the best in the West in the spheres of entertainment such as gaming, VR, 3D and novel film-making techniques’.

Four young people supported by KWMC have also been shortlisted for a SPARKies award.  The FutureSPARK category recognises ‘a member of the tech & digital community who is 21 or under and has gone above and beyond in this sector’.  Matt Coleclough, Sam Cording, Ben Coleclough and Katie Gardner created the ‘Lines’ game during the 2015 Young Rewired State Festival of Code. They made it to the final with their idea and the game is coming soon to the App store.

The award ceremony will take place on 17th February in Bristol. Read the full shortlist here.


Knowle West TV comes back to our screens

Be transported back to the 1970s as community cable returns to your TV screens this summer. MADE in Bristol Television will be screening a half-hour special about Bristol Channel’s Knowle West TV every week from Friday 10th July, 8pm.

From discussions about the women’s liberation movement and the 1974 General Election to music from local bands and street interviews, the films provide a fascinating and witty insight into life in Bristol and Knowle West in the 1970s. Tune in to Freeview channel 8, Sky 117 or Virgin 159!

Bristol Channel was a community cable TV initiative, one of five in the UK authorised in the early 1970s. It was set up by Rediffusion, at the time the UK’s largest cable company, and reached 23,000 homes in Bristol via Rediffusion’s cable network in 1973. Between 1973-75, a team of volunteers and staff from Bristol Channel worked with organisations and communities across Bristol to record hundreds of hours of footage.

Knowle West TV was one of the strands of programming broadcast on Bristol Channel between December 1973 and March 1975, when the channel closed. Local residents were trained to use a portapak (one-inch portable TV unit) to shoot footage, which was then converted to one-inch standard IVC videotape. Just over 21 hours of local material was produced and 38 hours were transmitted.

The Bristol Channel film archive is currently stored at the British Film Institute in London, and the administrative paper archive at Bristol Record Office. In 2014, the Knowle West TV stock was digitized. As well as being archived by KWMC, copies of digitised footage are also held at Bristol Record Office, alongside the paper archive.

Keen to identify the people and places in the footage, and explore the parallels with contemporary experiences of life in Knowle West, KWMC and the Know Your Bristol project collaborated to bring the footage back to the community that had inspired and produced it forty years ago.

This summary draws on a study of the station and its output written by Peter Lewis, the Station Manager.


KWMC hosts celebration of home movies

Home Movie Day is a celebration of amateur films and filmmaking that is held annually at many venues worldwide. This year Know Your Bristol came to Knowle West Media Centre with their state-of-the-art bus, kitted out to provide local people with the opportunity to come together to share and digitise their home videos, and recount and record their stories.



KWMC Director to judge Cary Grant film competition

Could you write, shoot and edit a 90-second film inspired by North by Northwest – in just one month?

We’re delighted that our Director, Carolyn Hassan, has been invited to judge a short-film challenge commemorating the cinematic work of Cary Grant.

The Cary Comes Home festival takes places on 11th-12th October 2014 and celebrates internationally renowned film star Cary Grant – who was born Archie Leach in our very own city of Bristol. The festival includes film screenings, talks, and a film challenge.

The challenge is free to enter and entries are accepted from 1st September until the deadline of Friday 3rd October 2014, 5pm. Films must be must be under 90 seconds and include at least one of the following: a suit, a classic quote from North by Northwest, a compass, a field, a train, sunglasses, matches.

Shortlisted films will be featured on the festival website and shown on The Big Screen At-Bristol Millennium Square, opposite the Cary Grant statue, over the festival weekend. Winning films will be screened before the red carpet gala screening of North by Northwest at the Bristol Hippodrome on Sunday 12th October.

The films will be judged by a panel including:

  • Carolyn Hassan (Knowle West Media Centre)
  • Rich Warren (Brief Encounters)
  • James Ewen (CineMe)
  • Cathy Poole (MoVIES)
  • Charlie Harman (Compass Presents)
  • Catherine Grant (Film Studies For Free)
  • Gina Fucci (Films at 59)

For more details visit the Cary Comes Home website.


Upcoming project – See It Make It Film Sessions

Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) is about to launch a new film programme for 14-19 year olds: over a ten-week course young people can dive into film production, learn industry-standard filmmaking techniques, and create their own movie!

We’re working with Into Film’s “See It Make It” project and Chris Kemp of Suited and Booted, who will support young film enthusiasts to create a short film – from the initial storyboard to the editing. The film will be screened at a celebration event at the end of the course. The group will meet every Tuesday (term time) from 6.30-8.30pm, beginning 13th May 2014.

Places are limited, so we’re looking for young people with a keen interest in filmmaking and a proactive approach. To help us select a great group of young people, we’re setting a little challenge…We’re inviting YOU to tweet YOUR idea for a short film to @knowlewestmedia using the hashtag #film14. Young people can also e-mail ideas to with the title “Film 14”. It could be anything from “A dog gains superpowers and starts fighting crime!” to “A documentary exploring young people’s hobbies in Bristol”.

We want to spread this opportunity far and wide, and we need your help! Please feel free to forward this opportunity to any relevant networks, share with friends, colleagues and anyone you think may benefit from these sessions.

For more about KWMC call 0117 903 0444
More about the project at:
More about Chris Kemp and Suited And Booted at

For the Love of Bread – new film about Knowle West’s Bread Group

Find out more about bread making in Knowle West – watch the new Baking Bread film on YouTube.

The Bread Group get together every Thursday at Knowle West Health Park to bake and sell their popular bread and to socialise. They love it – and they welcome anyone to join and learn. The Bread Group are being championed by Knowle West Media Centre’s ‘Do What You Love’ Green and Digital Business programme.

The film was made by students of FdA Digital Media Production at City of Bristol College as a Community Liaison Production.



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Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
+44 (0) 117 903 0444

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