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Visual effects experts behind Avengers and Paddington films share advice with students

School, college and university students from around Norfolk listen to speakers at the Access VFX East event at Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: David Simpson/NUA

School, college and university students from around Norfolk listen to speakers at the Access VFX East event at Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: David Simpson/NUA

David Simpson/NUA

Film studios which helped bring blockbusters from the Avengers and Star Wars series to life have shared their expertise and career tips with East Anglian students.

Workshops with visual effects (VFX) experts from companies such as Framestore and Norwich-based FXhome have taken place in schools from King’s Lynn to Great Yarmouth as part of Access: VFX East, organised by Norwich University of the Arts (NUA).

The month of events culminated on Friday in a VFX Careers Hub at NUA for school and college students, where companies in the industry showed work from well-known films and gave careers advice.

There was also a screening of work produced by students who took part in the school workshops at Suffolk ONE in Ipswich, the College of West Anglia in King’s Lynn, East Coast College in Great Yarmouth and City College Norwich.

The regional events, which formed part of a nationwide programme under the Access VFX banner, come after Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Paul Franklin – who has worked on films including Interstellar and Inception – received an honorary doctorate from NUA at this summer’s graduation ceremony.

Visual effects (VFX) trainer Ian Murphy (centre) gives a workshop to students at East Coast College in Great Yarmouth as part of Access VFX: East, organised by Norwich University of the Arts. With Javert Valbarr (left) and Kirstie Tostevin from FXhome. Picture: NUA VFXVisual effects (VFX) trainer Ian Murphy (centre) gives a workshop to students at East Coast College in Great Yarmouth as part of Access VFX: East, organised by Norwich University of the Arts. With Javert Valbarr (left) and Kirstie Tostevin from FXhome. Picture: NUA VFX

The number of people working in the UK’s VFX industry is expected to grow from 5,300 in 2013 to 7,600 by 2022, while the value of VFX to the UK economy is forecast to rise 14pc to £323m over the same period.

Saint John Walker, VFX course leader NUA and organiser of Access: VFX East, said many people were still unaware of the scale of the UK VFX industry.

“Jobs in the screen industries like visual effects seem unattainable to young people who live away from the metropolitan centres, and sometimes they don’t even know these are options for them,” he said.

“By bringing the companies that made Star Wars, Blade Runner, Avengers: Infinity Wars and Paddington to Norwich we hope to fuel young people’s ambitions and greater inclusion in this exciting industry.”

Josh Davies, chief executive of FXhome – which has three million users worldwide for its HitFilm software – said the company was still supportive of local talent.

“Norwich is full of creative people. Many of our team studied or grew up in Norwich, and we’re proud to support local VFX artists and video editors, both as students and professionals,” he said.

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