Theatre offers young a way into film world

PUBLISHED: 11:57 11 January 2013 | UPDATED: 11:57 11 January 2013

Seagull Theatre manager John Hales is getting ready for a Vision Film festival involving schools from Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Seagull Theatre manager John Hales is getting ready for a Vision Film festival involving schools from Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Archant © 2013

THE glamorous world of film making is often seen as a playground for the rich.

But the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield is hoping to change all that by bringing in a host of key players from the industry to work with local young people on their own five-minute productions.

The theatre has engaged leading professionals, including directors, writers, actors and cinematographers, to work with high school and college students on their entries to its first ever Vision Film Festival.

The Seagull’s manager, John Hales, said: “There is a perception that the film industry is closed off to most people and is a rich person’s playground. But with the advent of the digital medium it has never been easier to get things seen and make stuff for a low budget.

“You can shoot something and have it online on YouTube straight away with an audience of three million people. A lot of the time it is down to hard graft.

“It is all about possibility and saying it can be done.”

Schools currently signed up to take part in the project include The Denes High, Pakefield High, Lowestoft Sixth Form College, Beccles Free School and Ormiston Venture Academy in Great Yarmouth.

During the 10-week programme, each school or college will be transformed in to a mini movie studio where pupils will be guided through the entire film-making process.

Master classes in writing, producing, acting for camera, directing, cinematography, editing, sound and marketing will also be held at the Seagull Theatre. These will be led by experts, including Oscar-nominated cinematographer Ernesto Herrmann, famous actors and Mr Hales, who has written and directed the film Passengers, which is currently in post-production to be released later this year.

Mr Hales, who studied drama and film at UEA, said: “It is very exciting. The students will be working with good industry people, who will take them from the initial idea to writing the script, producing the film and marketing it. The students will be involved with everything from editing, doing the credits and choosing the score to delivering the finished DVD in a box to the judges.

“They will learn a lot of transferable skills. They are going to have to manage budgets and time and they will learn everything from spreadsheets to building a website.”

Students will present their finished films to each other and to a panel of judges at the theatre on Sunday, April 21.

The films will be screened publicly at the theatre from April 22 to 24, when the audience will be asked to vote for their favourite to win the Audience Award.

There will be an Oscars-style awards evening the following week, when the judges will reward the film makers’ achievements in a range of disciplines.

The first annual film festival is being supported this year by Suffolk County Council, The Journal and MR King.

●More sponsors are needed. If you can help, contact Mr Hales on 01502 589726.

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