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…
“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!”
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.