Film academy will help youngsters develop their talents

Youngsters at Beacon Hill Arts.
Youngsters at Beacon Hill Arts.

A borough-based film academy is to be reappointed one of the British Film Institute’s Film Academy Partners in a national initiative to support 16-19 year olds to discover and develop their filmmaking talents.

Beacon Hill Arts will be the only one in the UK to offer opportunities to young people with learning disabilities, autism and other additional needs.

The BFI Film Academies offer training for every film industry role, from writing and directing through production, sound design, editing and camera, and provides learning around film history and cinematic storytelling to inspire an appreciation of film culture amongst the young participants.

Young people who enrol on the Beacon Hill Arts Film Academy will make and star in their own film supported by film industry professionals, as well as earning themselves an Arts Award qualification at Discover, Explore or Bronze level.

Andrew Coats, creative director of Beacon Hill Arts, said: “People with learning disabilities and autism remain chronically underrepresented in the creative sector. Our Film Academy is a fun supportive environment where their creatively can flourish and they create outstanding work.”

Michelle Fox, head of production, added: “We want young people of all abilities. Experience doesn’t matter. If a young person loves film, is 16-19 years old and has bags of enthusiasm and wants to get involved we’d love to hear from them, so get in touch.”

Beacon Hill Arts works with young people who find conventional forms of communication very challenging, but go on to discover a fantastic – often hidden - ability to communicate through film and many go on to enjoy some brilliant opportunities.

Beacon Hill Arts student Connor Rathbone was recently a set-photographer on a Duffel Films production for Channel 4 and later this year the organisation is hosting a visit from a BBC Drama development team who are travelling especially from Media City to learn more about their story development techniques.

Andrew added: “This proves that the industry is taking the talents of filmmakers with learning disabilities and autism very seriously – and so they should – because they have an equally as valuable contribution to make to it as anybody else.”

The Beacon Hill Arts Film Academy will begin in November and finish in February 2014. For more information email, call (0191) 580 7000 or visit