Twenty-year-old filmmaker Billy Langdown specialises in producing social documentary films and aims to inspire social change through his work.
We believe that high-quality education for life in contemporary arts practice is the creative catalyst for personal, professional and cultural transformation, and our manifesto includes ten propositions, written by our Principal, Professor Andrew Brewerton, that added to the themes of CREATIVE LEARNING and SOCIAL JUSTICE, define our strategic plans for the future. For our new campaign, we invited thirteen current students, recent graduates and alumni to contribute their own propositions.
During his time at the college, Billy travelled to Rally for Choice in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to create a short film to raise awareness of the pro-choice movement. We caught up with him to find out more about his time at the college studying our Extended Diploma Art & Design (Creative Media Production) and his proposition.
Why did you choose to study at Plymouth College of Art?
It’s well known as the place to go for creative study in Devon and I knew a couple of people who went there and loved it. As soon as I started it I loved it, my tutors definitely made it the best experience for me.
Tell us about your proposition.
During my studies, I was passionate about using my skills to highlight social issues and injustice. I was using the medium of film to amplify the voices of people who aren’t loud enough or aren’t often heard. The universal symbol of the megaphone represents that for me, I’m a visual thinker and I believe visual communication can be very powerful.
Like many other artists, I want to be a catalyst for change and discussion. I want my work to spark conversations and movement. The film I captured when I attended the pro-choice Rally for Choice in Northern Ireland had a huge impact on me, meeting the people there and speaking to those directly affected made me feel connected to their cause. Making that video made me understand that my work can have an impact.
Did your lecturers encourage you to explore all the different roles available?
As soon as I started getting into filmmaking, it just spiralled and I loved it more and more. I like having control over all creative aspects of making a film; I like to gather all the elements together and have an overview of everything that goes into the production, from scriptwriting and cinematography, to casting and post-production.
My lecturers pushed me towards exploring leadership roles from the beginning, where they must have seen that quality in me. I was encouraged out of my comfort zone, this was a really positive experience and it taught me to always explore my limits.
Who is your biggest inspiration in film?
I’ve always loved documentary filmmaking, and I think the first documentaries I really engaged with were from Vice channel. I also love Louis Theroux and his weird weekends. Now I’m getting closer to working at an industry standard, I’m really appreciating the smaller independent companies. It’s real, it’s gritty, it’s small and compact. I’d like to do that, and it’s something I’m going to aim for. I’d love to film documentaries around the world for a large glossy company, but seeing an indie company working up-close with their subjects is something that really motivates me.
What’s next for you?
The college has been great in helping me make the first step towards forging industry connections, the rest is on me and now I feel capable of doing that. I don’t know where I’ll be in ten years, but one day maybe I’ll start my own production company. I think the biggest challenge will be making myself stand-out and I’m ready to do that.