What we do?
The British Youth Film Academy (BYFA) was established to provide a solid link between the commercial film industry and all branches of media education, by offering professional standard training and vocational experience twinned with students’ current academic study.
Unique to the BYFA, students, from 14 years of age right through to postgraduate levels of education, work with professional filmmakers to produce a full-length feature film. What’s more, they get their name in the films credits – making our students more attractive to potential employers.
Our Summer Camp enables students to experience each of the departments constituent within film production – camera, grip, lighting, sound (on set, foley and wildtracks), music, art (set, props, hair, make-up, prosthetics and wardrobe), catering, production, performance and postproduction (editing, sound, foley, colour) – and so make informed choices about their careers.
Our Philosophy – Learning through doing
We believe in co-operation, community and camaraderie. BYFA is a cutting-edge film training school that, through offering hands-on film-making experience, bridges the gap between education and professional employability. Each project utilises the experiences of academic institutions, the skills of media professionals and the energy of young people in the creation of feature films.
Designed to give young people (aged 14 – 25 years) the opportunity to experience professional film processes through project-based learning, BYFA operates a policy of ‘Learning through doing’, where all talent can be nurtured and developed. Unlike a professional film set, our young people are able to ask questions and make mistakes, and are encouraged to develop and progress through the ranks year-on- year.
Case Study: John Montegrande - My life in the BYFA
I first came into contact with The British Youth Film Academy (BYFA) in 2003 as a young student on a Performing Arts course at South Cheshire College. I was on the verge of dropping out, until my tutor persuaded me to get involved in on exciting feature film opportunity over the summer, which turned out to be ‘Upstaged’ – BYFA’s inception film. Being given the opportunity to be part of such an inspirational project gave me a sense of purpose for the first time. We encouraged each other throughout the process and produced a remarkable film. The sheer quality of the experience fired my enthusiasm and passion for drama; and I began an acting degree.
However, personal problems forced me to leave and I soon hit rock bottom, battling homelessness and drug addiction. BYFA had already inspired me once, so I got in touch and was thrilled to be given an entry role as a Production Assistant – after that drugs became less and less important as I had something to strive for; and eventually they stopped altogether.
From there I went from strength to strength, slowly being given more responsibility as I proved myself and developed both my technical ability and life skills, helping me to become a more rounded, stable person in the process. In the summer of 2010, I co-directed one of BYFA’s new feature films, a contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. It felt amazing to be able to help people develop in the way that I’ve been helped.