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A look at The 13th BFI Future Film Festival

Last Saturday I managed to catch a couple of panel discussions at the BFI’s Future Film Festival. As an aspiring industry professional and keen screenwriter, I found these talks incredibly engaging, informative and interesting.

In the morning I attended a panel session called ‘Crossing the Great Divide: Writing for Different Genres and Formats’. This panel focused on writing for formats beyond that of standard film and television. It encouraged you to think outside the realms of what we traditionally associate with writing for the entertainment industry and be more open to exploring new and emerging technologies. The panel was full of working professionals at different stages of their career including writer/director Henry Blake, No Code Co-Founder and Creative Director Jon McKellan, multi-platform writer and director Nosa Eke and Simon Nelson, the Development Executive for the BBC Writer’s Room. The discussion was moderated by the BFI’s own Theresa Boden. The guests came from a variety of backgrounds and formats, including video games, short film, and online content, which I found interesting, and provided a lot of food for thought regarding where the entertainment industry is heading. My main takeaways were: failure can be good, the BFI has lots (and lots) of helpful schemes open all year round and to keep open-minded when writing.

Image: Courtesy of BFI

After a break for lunch (and a quick visit to the TikTok stand), I attended an afternoon session called ‘Meet the Commissioners’. The room was full of aspiring film industry professionals, many of whom were aspiring directors. This session was all about meeting the people in charge, those who commission the work, and gaining an insight into what they are looking for- not something which happens very often! The panel’s guests included: Bart Yates from Blinkink, Gavin Humphries from Nowness, Hannah Bush Bailey from the BFI Doc Society Fund and Jo Cadoret from Film London/BFI NETWORK. The discussion was moderated by Journalist and Programmer Beth Webb. This discussion covered a lot of things that I hadn’t even thought about yet, like funding for films, how to successfully pitch an idea and, again, the multitude of BFI schemes available. There was plenty of time for questions at the end too. The key ideas were: know what’s going on around you in the industry all the time, always have more than one idea and planning is key.

The 13th BFI Future Film Festival ran from 20-23rd February 2020.

Edited by Andriani Scordellis, Film Editor

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