Frequently asked questions

For any unanswered questions email or ring on  020 7607 8660 and we will be happy to help.

What happens during the online sessions? – You will get to know your fellow filmmakers and develop your pitch ideas. The times are 10-5. The films will be chosen and you will get into production groups. On the second day There will be some training and seminars about the sector but mainly it will be you working with your group and tutor getting your film ready to be made.

What happens during the main week? – The days will vary but basically you will be working in groups on your film or vfx sequence. A variety of industry professionals will talk about aspects of the film industry giving you a better overview of the sector. There will be some specific skills training and you will be able to choose from a wide menu. Areas include; After effects advanced, sound design, drawn animation etc. You will also have a 1-2-1 career session, learn how to develop your online portfolio and will develop your next steps into the industry. Have a look at our draft timetable.

What happens if the course is cancelled due to Covid?
Currently residential courses are allowed; we will follow advice set by government and the National youth agency If this changes and residential courses are not advised then we will move the course online. We ran this course online two years ago and it was a great success (we send kit out to people and work collaboratively). The fee is reduced to £50 for everyone with families earning over the lowest level and £25 for those under this level. You can join the online course or ask for a full refund.

What have past students got out of the scheme?
All past students become a BFI alumni and they get some fantastic help and exclusive opportunities, for example 30 alumni have been offered work at Lucas films for the past 4 years! See our progression page.

What are the rooms like? – we have sole use of the premises; there are two large buildings in several acres of woodland. You will be sleeping in either Bazeley House or Castree House. There is a large common room where food is served, a kitchen, hall and various other spaces. There is a collection of single, double and six people rooms. There will be single sex rooms as well as a gender non-spesific room and we will try to offer you a choice of where to sleep and what room to be in. We will start to arrange this on the introduction day. People with particular needs will be given priority for the single rooms. The staff will be sleeping on site in their own rooms. You do not need to bring any bedding as this will be provided however you will need a towel.

What is the food like? – We employ our own chefs who will be living with us. They have lots of experience cooking for young people and have developed a good menu that we think you will enjoy. They offer a two course breakfast in the morning, a lunch and then a delicious dinner with cocoa and biscuits in the evening. Tea, coffee, juice, snacks etc are always available. You can ask for food at any time and if you don’t like something we can provide an alternative. We always provide a vegetarian option and can easily cater for halal, gluten free, lactose free diets etc. Just let us know and we will sort it out.

Bursary?  – Once you have been allocated a place you can apply for a bursary to cover your travel expenses, child care or any related costs. It is important that no student, wherever they live, should feel excluded because they can’t afford the costs. If you or your family claim most government benefits, you will automatically receive the bursary, if you or your family are suffering financial hardship then you can still apply however the decision is based on your individual circumstances
Bursary for travel, childcare etc

Fee? – We will send you an earnings form where your parents/carers state their earnings. You will be charged a fee based on this amount. This will range from £210 to £25. The actual cost of the course is nearly £2,000 per student and the rest is paid by the BFI/Dept of Education. If you qualify for the lowest amount then this is actually a deposit that will be returned after the course (providing you have attended the majority of the sessions or have a reasonable excuse). More details here.

How much money should I bring? – You probably won’t need any money, everything at the course is free including all food etc. We are quite a distance from any shops, so shopping will be very limited (although you may be able to put in a request to our caterers because they will go out a few times). We are aiming at taking you on a trip to go to a cinema and restaurant and again we will pay for this, however you might want to buy a snack there.

What should I bring with me? You are welcome to bring any games, filming equipment, computers etc with you. The site is very secure and we will be there 24 hours per day. There is a woodland and we will hopefully spend one evening out around a fire so clothes you don’t mind getting a bit dirty will help. Shoes and coats for the countryside would also be an advantage.

Early bird advantage? – By applying early you will increase your chance of getting on the course. Good applications will still beat mediocre ones, applying early gives you a few more additional points and will make the difference between similar applicants. We will assess the students by their application form and the examples of work they show us.

Where is the accommodation and how do I get there? – We will be staying and working at Macaroni woods conference centre. This is about 16 miles north of Swindon in the Cotswolds. We will be running a bus from the train station at Swindon on the Sunday morning and will help you get to the site. We will also arrange for a bus to get you back to the station on the final Saturday. The start time on the first Sunday is 12.00 although if you live a long way away you can arrive later. The finish time will about 2.00 on Saturday after the screening.

How competitive is it to get in? – last year we received 120 applications for the 40 places. We want to work with people who have made some definite steps towards a career in this industry. This means experimenting on their own, taking relevant courses, researching, work experience and practicing their skills. You will need to prove this by sending us your work and detailing your development.

Long term support? – We will keep in touch for at least 6 months and provide you with a range of opportunities. This will include festival dates, training schemes, bursaries, competitions, networking events etc. This will be done through email.

Careers support? – Each student will have a 1-2-1 session with our career advisor who will help you clarify your education, training and career goals. They will then research your particular needs and wishes and meet with you again to present their plan for you and discuss the next steps.

What happens in the evenings? – After dinner we will be offering a range of activities for you to choose from, this includes film screenings and games sessions. You are, of course, free not to join in and can spend the time as you wish. However due to the nature of the project you will need to remain on site.

What rules will there be? – As a significant proportion of students will be under 18, we will be asking you to accept a no alcohol rule, similarly students should not be in each others rooms after a certain time in the evening. Needless to say we have a zero tolerance to bullying, anti social behaviour, sexism, racism or drugs.

What time do people go to sleep and wake up? – As you will be sharing a room, there will need to be an agreed time to have the lights out and you will decide this between you. There will be a point where the rooms have to be quiet so you don’t disturb other rooms. Usually this is around 11.30, if you want to stay up, there will other areas available to you.

There is a morning meeting at 9.45 and we start the course at 10.00, breakfast closes at 9.15 so again we will need an agreed time for you to be awake. Usually this is about 8.00.

LGBTQ+? – We encourage applications from members of this community and have developed our course and provision to make them feel at home. There will be a gender non specific bedroom and gender non specific toilets

Space and time for prayer? – Usually we have a few people who like to pray and we make space and time for them to do this.

Additional needs? – We encourage applications from people who have a variety of needs and have catered in the past for people in wheelchairs, members of Deaf culture, neurodiverse and a range of other common issues. Contact us to discuss anything.

Smoking? – Smokers cannot smoke in the residential building however there is a smoking space outside the accommodation. This includes vapes.

What is the BFI Academy? – It is an amazing opportunity for young people, have a look at this Infographic

Child protection? – All staff have been trained in child protection and hold a current dbs (A check that they have not had a serious criminal conviction). There will always be four members of staff (men and women) sleeping in the accommodation providing care and security. During the day there will always be eight members of staff. Each student will have a key worker who will be responsible for their overall wellbeing.

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