The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy (BYFA) The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy
BYFA - Young people making feature films

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.

Todd Carty“I was incredibly impressed by the level of dedication and talent shown by the young people who participated in “The School That Roared” - it was extremely inspiring to work with a group of such motivated individuals and the positive impact on all who participated was clear to see.” — Todd Carty, Actor (Grange Hill, Eastenders, The Bill)

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 Co-operative 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 an 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 summer 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.

John Montegrande John Montegrande co-directs Julius Caesar, (Summer Camp 2010)

In 2011 I will graduate from The Central School of Speech and Drama, and will direct another BYFA feature film. Can't wait!

I’ve also co-founded a production company called Inglenook Productions. I will keep you posted...

John Montegrande
Director, Actor and Former Head of Acting, BYFA
Student at the Central School of Speech and Drama

Co-operative Structure

In January 2009 BYFA became a co-operative. Its membership consists of FE & HE institutions in the North West, West Midlands, East Midlands & Yorkshire. All students on courses at BYFA member institutions, Universities and Colleges, can attend BYFA Summer Camp for FREE.

As a co-operative organisation, BYFA is controlled and directed by its members. Each institute forms part of a BYFA Regional Committee, which makes decisions about the Summer Camp and year-round educational opportunities in that region. The Regional Committees are then represented on the BYFA Board, ensuring that BYFA always remains truly owned and directed by its members.

North West

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  • Runshaw
  • Wigan

Chair: Andrea Neild.


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Chair: Rob Walton.

Email enquiries to: [email protected]


Chair: Nathan Kelly.