Britain’s next generation of cinematic talent enjoyed their big screen debuts last Friday when the National Youth Film Academy threw a glitzy bash.

The event, held at London’s prestigious BFI (who are partners in the project), was to showcase the work of the first intake of 68 students into the Academy, which is designed to groom and develop fledgling filmmakers throughout the nation.

And NYFA artistic director Rob Earnshaw admitted there are very lofty ambitions for the enterprise.

Budding stars Lucy Young and Victor Ade

He said: “We are looking to radically change the way the industry works and get a lot more young people into film.

“The NYFA is not about teaching people how to act or how to direct.

“It is about inspiring people by putting them in touch with industry veterans who have been there, done it and bought the t-shirt.

“The movie business is very much like a game of chess – if you know the rules and how the game works it becomes an awful lot easier.”

The intake, aged between 16 and 25, were plucked from more than 3,000 applicants the length and breadth of the country.

Brought to London for an intensive two-week course, the students were split into four groups to write, direct, edit and produce their own short film, under the watchful eyes of a host of film insiders – including the likes of King’s Speech producer Iain Canning.

Not only that, but attendees were also given the opportunity to have taster sessions with casting directors and the like, with much more to be offered in the future.

The aim of the Academy is very much to provide an ongoing support system for this and future intakes, and Earnshaw revealed he was more than happy with how the pilot scheme had gone.

He added: “I am so proud of these young people.

“The kids do not have egos and they really want to work together.

“If we had a film industry with no egos it would be a much better place and hopefully these young people are the shape of things to come.”

The four films that were shown (all running between 10 and 15 minutes) – Penguin, All Bar One, Syndicate and You Know The Way Nostalgia Feels, were screened to a packed audience of students, industry leaders and press.

'Penguin' stars Olivia Chenery and Amber Napthine

And with all four projects showing a remarkable eye for cinema, the future looks very bright.

One of the actors involved, Tom Prior, 20, explained just how the course had given all those concerned a huge boost.

He said: “Being selected gives you the confidence that someone believes in you.

“I cannot describe the feeling really – it has been phenomenal.

“It excelled what I thought it was going to be.

“Everybody has worked extremely hard and everyone is really fortunate to have been here.

“It has been a great experience and a great grounding in the industry.

“Being in the position to receive so much support is amazing.

“I’m getting quite upset about the thought of going home!”

The National Youth Film Academy works with both the BFI and the Director’s Guild of Great Britain.

For further information regarding the students, or future intakes, visit www.nyfa.org.uk

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.