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Queen Mary supports the filmmakers of the future

Thursday 29 May 2014

Over the last few months, Queen Mary has been host to an after school film project for 12 students from three local schools, co-ordinated by the British Film Institute (BFI), and funded by Tower Hamlets Arts and Music Education Service (THAMES). The final film, a short film called ‘Crimson’, was screened at the Hitchcock Cinema in Arts One, Mile End campus, on Thursday 22 May. Four QMUL Film Studies undergraduates volunteered their time to become mentors for the students.

The project is part of an international film education programme called le Cinema Cent Ans de Jeunesse, originated by the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris, and currently running in Brazil, Cuba, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium, France, Scotland…and Mile End!

The schools involved in the project were St Paul’s Way Trust School, Mulberry School for Girls, and Morpeth, and four Queen Mary Film Studies undergraduates, Mohamed Ahmed, Anna Butt, Emily Eyre, and Melanie Moran, have been engaged as mentors for the students. The project was a great collaboration – as well as the schools, it involved different Queen Mary departments such as the Department of Film Studies, Libraries, Centre for Public Engagement, QMTV, the student TV channel, and Housing Services.

Since the programme le Cinema Cent Ans de Jeunesse was established in 1995 thousands of young people have been following a set programme of watching, discussing, making, and playing with film, all around a set theme, which changes every year.  The themes are always taken from film language: colour, sound, ‘why move the camera’, ‘the role of the real in fiction’.  

This year all the workshops were exploring the ‘Long Take’ – how filmmakers use time and unbroken duration in their stories.  Each group taking part in the international programme works on the same exercises – to make ‘One-minute Lumiere’ films, after the Lumiere Brothers’ first steps in film; then making short scenarios that play with extended moving and static shots.  The final ‘film essay’ has to use several long takes, in one of which the camera must become ‘autonomous’, that is leaving the action and following its own path.

The Queen Mary group showed their work, including their final film, in the Hitchcock Cinema on Thursday 22 May, to an audience drawn from across the university, and the participating schools. Their film ‘Crimson’ is a self-described enigmatic story about a young woman who receives a mysterious letter. The students devised, shot, set dressed, and edited their film, but were ably led by Marcus Hibbert, film teacher at Mulberry School, and the four student mentors Mohamed Ahmed, Anna Butt, Emily Eyre, and Melanie Moran.  

You can watch the film Crimson, and find out more about the project here.

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