Whitley Bay pupil in spotlight for film

Filmmakers during the Q&A. Picture by Tony Hall
Filmmakers during the Q&A. Picture by Tony Hall

A Whitley Bay teenager has enjoyed a red carpet premiere of a documentary film she made in association with TynesideCinema and intu.

Charlotte Harris, 18, a pupil at Whitley Bay High School, was at the gala screening of four short documentaries made by young filmmakers at the Northern Stars Documentary Academy.

Mentored by industry professionals, the fledgling directors tackled a range of gritty and fascinating subjects which they then shot and edited throughout the autumn.

Charlotte, co-director of Plain Sight said: “My experience on this project working with Tyneside Cinema has really allowed me to give a voice to something I feel very strongly about.

“I think – especially when it comes to domestic violence andsexual assault – we as a society think we talk enough about these issues, but it’s clearly still an epidemic that needs to be confronted.”

She added: “Creating this documentary was just the beginning of doing just that for me.”

The four documentaries were screened to huge acclaim in front of an audience of family, friends, VIPs and industry professionals at a private event at the end of December. They will now be entered into film festivals across the UK and abroad.

The programme, now in its fifth year, has been made possible thanks to funding from intu properties plc, who co-own intu Eldon Square inNewcastle and intu Metrocentre in Gateshead. The Academy is a key part of intu’s corporate responsibility strategy in the North East which focuses on educational and skills support for young people.

Alexander Nicoll, intu Corporate Responsibility Director, said: “Over the years the Northern Stars Academy films have both inspired and jolted audiences. Dealing with subjects chosen by the young filmmakers, the films highlight important social issues and the many, often hidden, individuals who give so much to their local communities and often face personal challenges as they do so. I and everyone at intu are very proud to support these filmmakers as they promote these stories through their films.”

All the young people taking part are able to add their films to their portfolio, and previous participants have used their experience from the programme to gain entrance to university and get work in the film industry.

Ian Fenton, Creative Director of Learning & Participation at Tyneside Cinema, added: “These four exciting, informative and touching short films are the result of tremendously hard work by our young filmmakers, and we are proud to presentthem here at Tyneside Cinema. As Northern Stars Documentary Academy enters its fifth year the programme continues to provide a unique opportunity for young people to learn about the art of documentary filmmaking and develop their skills, and as ever we are immensely grateful for the vital support of intu for this important project.”