An Edinburgh filmmaker has teamed up with industry award winners to launch a new movie academy to plug a gap in film schools for city’s young budding filmmakers.
Spooks actress Shauna Macdonald and Bafta winner Douglas Dougan join editor Chuck Cumming to put the reels in motion for a permanent film school – The Film Academy Edinburgh – brainchild of Graham Kitchener.
The ambitious plans would see children aged nine to 18 learn how to turn their box office ideas into films, mastering skills that Graham said could later benefit the burgeoning Scottish film industry.
“Through experience I have discovered that there is very little beyond short courses for kids to learn about filmmaking, despite their obvious interest and enthusiasm, and once these courses are over, they drop off the radar.
“With a growing Scottish film industry year after year, I couldn’t help thinking this was a potential great loss for the future.”
Graham said there is no current provision on this level and children are missing out on the opportunity to harness invaluable and transferable life skills.
He added: “Nobody has done this before – Screen Education Edinburgh, they do amazing work – but they rely on public money and we’re trying do something slightly different, something self sustaining and that’s an enormous.
“We know the value in children learning film, such as working corroboratively, communication skills, confidence building, and developing skills in organising and planning. These are all transferable skills, of use to their growing minds no matter what career they follow, and let’s face it, our young people are going to need all the help they can get. But no one’s doing this on an ongoing basis.”
Home to the world’s oldest continually running film festival and following the Avengers-affect, Edinburgh is slowly becoming a film-making destination in its own right.
Filming in the city region generated £16.1 million in economic impact in 2017 – 109 per cent increase on 2016.
Scriptwriting tutor Douglas Dougan, who began his career writing for shows such as Casualty, The Bill, Holby City and River City, has been teaching at Edinburgh University since 2003.
He said: “I have worked with children for many years and know that it’s really important that we make scriptwriting part of the young people’s filmmaking experience. It lets them think of films as stories rather than just technical projects.
“The skills of writing and storytelling they will learn go beyond just films too – they develop communication and literacy that applies to all parts of their life.”
Karen McConnell’s son Stewart attended one of the short film making courses and said it had helped boost his confidence.
“My son has learnt so much and watches film in a totally different way. Graham has helped to give Stewart confidence to challenge himself and believe that if he works hard he can achieve his goals.”