REVIEW: BFI Future FILM Festival 2019

The UK’s most relevant film industry festival for young, emerging filmmakers (aged 16-25) took place at BFI Southbank from 21st until 24th of February this year. Supported by the Reuben Foundation and in partnership with LaCie, this Festival has become a solid bridge for those interested in a career in the film industry. For fours days, the festival presented opportunities to learn the business of  film, TV and creative industries. Attendees had the opportunity to assist in masterclasses, industry workshops, panel Q+As and free networking events. (Image credit AGYA STILL)

Each a chance to enrich knowledge in Storytelling, Production & Craft Skills, The Business of Film and New Forms & Technologies. The chance to meet true professionals from across the film industry and being able to participate in the BFI Future Film Festival Awards with their own short films, including two International awards given away this year.
For only £15 (single day pass) or £45 (whole pass) our future creative professionals met all kinds of industry backgrounds: societies, associations and communities (The
Society of Authors, Backstage, Random Acts, The Mandy Network, NFFTY, YCN…); production companies and studios (The Mill, Escape Studios, Black Dog, Pinewood,
Lab Class…); Tech brands and magazines (LaCie, Media Magazine…), film academies & schools (London Film Academy, NFTS…); editors, directors and filmmakers (Nicolas Chaudeurge, Marc Price, Prano Bailey-Bond, Georgia Parris, Sharon Walia); writers and producers (Chee Keong Cheung, Gonzalo Maza, Jacqueline Haigh,  Luke Shipman); acting stars and hit creators (Allan ‘Seapa’ Mustafa, Steve Camp, Shaina West, Maisie Williams, Ashley Walters); and many other key connections such as talent agents, film & TV commissioners and industry experts.

Sunday 24th February 
After a nice chat with Ashley Walters, at 11:00 we took the to the NFT1 for his appearance in The Hot Spot, a daily event where the Festival’s young protagonists have the chance to meet film & TV stars of the present. Following an impeccable, brief presentation of Ashley’s most important works, it is time for an enriching conversation
with the rapper and actor of movies such as “Bullet Boy” (2004), ¨Top Boy” (2011) and Bulletproof” (2018), his latest project a crime comedy drama created by Ashley Walters, Noel Clarke and Nick Love. As a matter of fact, tomorrow (25th Feb) Ashley will begin the filming of the 2nd season and he is very excited about it, as this project is also
allowing him to become much more familiar with filming procedures behind the camera, and even does not rule out directing someday. Although he does not believe in
industry labels, he is very proud to get into the shoes of a “strong, black, male character”.  Ashley inspires with his candid honesty about making it and his willingness i to help young talent to step towards their dreams, no matter their background or the obstacles.

Documentary Making
At 13:30, it is time for a brief master class with Sharon Walia on How to Tell the Truth, in partnership with NFFTY. Sharon Walia, young but intrepid script writer and
documentary maker, has just premiered her first feature documentary “The Movement” (2018), a 91min inspiring work about the critical and struggling situation of the
refugees and the outstanding efforts of selfless volunteers who dedicate as much time as possible (even in their spare time) to make this a better place to live in. During the
session, Sharon firstly talks a little bit about her background (as she is a refugee herself) and instantly starts giving great tips and advice to the future documentary makers
who wish to tell the truth, no matter the difficulties or frowns they may receive. ¨The Movement¨ has been fully filmed by Sharon, who has not hesitated to grab her camera
whenever and wherever documentation was to be necessary collected, through air, sea and land. Full of astonishing images and interviews, this documentary will not leave
you indifferent to the atrocious experience that the refugees are suffering nowadays. Watch the trailer on Youtube here

Film

At 15:00, we watch  Touki Bouki (1973), a 95mins movie directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty (Senegal, 1945 – Paris, 1998). Consecrated as Africa’s first satirical and avant-garde film, the Senegalese director is well-known for an experimental cinematography that not only portraits a beautiful continent such as Africa, but that also represents a world full of unintelligible meanings, strong characters and interlaced powerful sequences, all of it surrounded by fantasy and satire. By a unique and
non-linear storytelling and montage, the director is definitely making distance with the didacticism of African traditional folktales of the ’70’s. Mory and Anta, a young couple
criticized in their own village for their “European interests”, decide to take the reins of their life by leaving their village near Dakar as to begin a risky journey to a wealthy,
spoilt life in Paris. On the edge of both societies, the charismatic couple finds herself doing whatever it takes to escape a home full of their own smell, colors, Music, rituals
and nature. By a strong use of symbolic criticism, Mambéty lets glimpse his political point of view and the particular connection between Senegal and Paris at those
times, although (spoiler alert!) Mory can’t help to return to his sacred object, which represents the cows he used to ride home to the slaughterhouse of “European interests”.

Networking

And last but not least, at 17:00 we finally get to the Networking Drinks, in partnership with The Mandy Network, where we pleasantly find our young dreamers
gathered for a drink, obviously alcoholic only for the oldest. Under an expectant and vital atmosphere, they introduce themselves and initiate energetic conversations with
possible future partners and, why not, friends. We as well have the chance to briefly chat with some of them as to have a better comprehension of our youth perspectives in
the film industry. Maggie (UK, 24) has just finished her studies in Film and TV and wishes to specialise in production design, special effects and even writing and acting;
Ana (Norway, 25) is a graduated actress who is very interested in becoming a film production coordinator; Reiss (UK, 21) wishes to become “the best actor that he can
be” and is currently working in short films; Lizzie (UK, 23) is finishing her studies in Ecology and her life goal is to direct her own films and documentaries “to raise
awareness and inspire action”; James (UK, 22) and Edward (UK, 22) may have met and even become friends already as both have studies in different fields but are willing
to become very much involved in multiple projects of the industry; Frankie (UK, 18) has not started yet her studies but wishes to become a female film maker someday that
can inspire and connect with people, as for her “Art can change someone’s life”; finally, Rose (China and UK, 22) is on her 2nd year of Drama studies and she is very
interested in highlighting gender equality and learning disabilities through film writing and performance. Although very different and unique individuals, they all have a
similar life goal which is to be professionally part of the film industry someday, and they are all very thankful to BFI Future Film Festival for this extraordinary experience,
which some of them repeat year after year.
While we head out of the Networking room, we find 2 stands of The Mandy Network (https://www.mandy.com/) and of London Screen Academy (https:// http://www.lsa.ac.uk/), both waiting for this Festival’s protagonist to pass by. The Mandy Network is the world’s largest community of cast, crew and creative professionals, an online platform where both sides of the coin (employers and employees) can establish a vital connection as for the entertainment industry: acting, dancing, theatre, film,music.

LSA is a brand new sixth form academy that will open in September 2019 for London students (16-19 years old) that wish to start building up a future behind the screens. Walking towards the BFI exit gate, we see the 360° Igloo, an immersive Pop-Up cinema space delivered in partnership with Igloo Vision that has been offering drop in talks and special screenings throughout the whole festival to inspire new, immersive formats in the film industry. The was BFI Future Film Festival 2019, well the last day.
Upcoming events at the BFI
BFI offers the program Future Film Labs throughout the whole year, where our young artists are able to keep learning, networking and emerging. For further information, visit https://www.bfi.org.uk/education-research/education/bfi-future-film.

From 21st until 31st of March 2019, BFI Southbank will be also hosting BFI Flare, London LGBTQ+ Film Festival. For further information, visit https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/flare/Online/.

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