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Posted 16.09.19

BFI 16-19 Film Academy Plymouth graduate working on ‘Black Widow’

By Phillip Buchan

Joshua Hard in the first year of the BFI Film Academy Plymouth

For the third year running, in partnership with BFI, we are the South West home for the prestigious BFI 16-19 Film Academy programme, which costs only £25 for at least 40 hours of industry-standard training and is open for applications until 21 September 2019.

This programme of hands-on filmmaking courses for 16 to 19-year-olds is aimed at developing knowledge and skills around film and careers in the film industry, as well as encouraging the special interests of participants.

The success of the BFI Film Academy Plymouth for young people across the South West has been overwhelming, with 100% of students graduating from the programme already with an NCFE Level 2 Preparing to Work in the Film Industry qualification. All BFI graduates gain access to a national network of support, designed to help them work towards and transition into roles within the film industry.

Joshua Hard, a 19-year-old former Tor Bridge High student, from Widewell in Plymouth, joined the first BFI Film Academy at Plymouth College of Art in 2017 with no prior filmmaking experience and is now living in London with support from the BFI while he works in Pinewood Studios on the upcoming Marvel Studios film, Black Widow.

Joshua had the opportunity to work on the film as part of the Future Skills programme, an industry-led training programme with a focus on giving young people from under-represented backgrounds the opportunity to work in film, including women, people from BAME backgrounds, people from outside Greater London and recipients of free school meals.

Joshua said: “I’ve loved every second of my experience working at Pinewood Studios so far. It has been hectic but super rewarding. For Black Widow, I’m acting as the Accounts Trainee, supporting a team of 23 people within production accounts. This includes acting as a liaison between people working on-set and in the office, handling the finances of the crowd department and generally assisting other members of the team wherever needed.

“We’re involved in all aspects of the film, so I’ve had a chance to see the full scope of the production, both behind the scenes and work on-set. I’ve particularly enjoyed going down to the set - seeing the scale and the level of detail that goes into a production like this is completely surreal.

“After this production is over I hope I’ll be able to move onto another project. I definitely aim to continue working in film.”

Billy Abbott, BFI Film Academy Plymouth Project Manager, said: “I’m incredibly proud that we were able to give a student like Joshua, with no previous filmmaking experience, a springboard to work in London on such a massive and well-known film production. One of the things I love about BFI 16-19 Film Academy is that no prior experience is required, which is ideal for young people who have an interest in film but haven’t yet had an opportunity to take that interest further.

“For the students who are accepted onto the course, developing practical skills is our absolute priority, alongside helping them to develop the correct mindset for the industry; focusing on communication, teamwork, creative thinking and time management. This is an amazing opportunity for young people from across the South West, not just from Plymouth, to join a national network that could open up work opportunities in the worldwide film industry.”

Speaking of his time at the BFI Film Academy at Plymouth College of Art, Joshua said: “The best parts were the industry talks by guest speakers and the hands-on opportunities to learn through making a short film. Schemes like these aren’t usually accessible unless you live within easy travelling distance of London and ultimately it was the BFI Film Academy Plymouth that gave me the connections and resources to work on an upcoming blockbuster film. In fact, since becoming a graduate of the BFI I’ve been inundated with options for ways to break into the film industry.”

Are you 16-19? Passionate about film? Want a career in the film industry? Then the BFI Film Academy — UK Network Programme is for you. Applications are open until 21 September 2019! APPLY HERE.

Have a question about the course? Contact Billy Abbott at