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‘It felt like fate’: Why I applied for MetFilm School with Freddy Smith

By Elise Czyzowska

30 January 2024

From student-graduate collaborations, to bumping into one another at festivals worldwide, we’re always excited to see our community working together in the industry. And for BA Acting for Screen student Freddy Smith, this all happened before he’d even applied for his course!

In a chance coincidence, Freddy’s introduction to the world of acting came via MetFilm School tutor, Jordon Scott Kennedy, when he was cast in Jordon’s feature, Suicide Kelly. For his performance as Cain, Freddy made the longlist for the BIFA’s Breakthrough Performance alongside the likes of Mia McKenna Bruce (How to Have Sex) and Vivian Oprah (Rye Lane).

Since Suicide Kelly, Freddy has continued to collect credits on shows including Happy Valley and The Dumping Ground – and, in September 2023, he began the next stage of his acting journey, joining MetFilm School Leeds for our BA Acting for Screen!

In today’s blog, we spoke to Freddy about his last few years in the industry, what Suicide Kelly means to him, and why he decided to apply for an acting degree…

How did your passion for acting develop? Was there a specific moment?

It all started at my Year 6 ‘Leavers Play’. I got quite a big part in the play, and immediately found that the whole process really suited my personality – and that I was good at it!

Can you tell us a bit more about some of the projects you’ve been involved in over the last few years?

My first screen role was Cain in the feature film, Suicide Kelly. It’s a gritty northern film, and the role really gave me the opportunity to express myself.

I then went on to play a Mill Boy in the Netflix series The English Game – which filmed very close to where I live, and joined CBBC’s The Dumping Ground, which involved moving to Newcastle to film for two season. The Dumping Ground gave me a good groundwork, I think. It was different to anything I’d previously done.

And then came one of my favourites… Happy Valley. I played Cesco, Ryan’s best mate. It’s still so cool to think about being on set with such acclaimed actors.


Congratulations on your BIFA nomination! What did this project mean to you?

Thank you! Suicide Kelly has been the catalyst to everything I have become. Writer/Director, Jordon Scott Kennedy, gave me an opportunity that inspired me to know what I wanted to do in life: to be an actor.

The character I played, Cain, was a child losing his way in life, and shows up on the doorstep of his suicidal grandad. It’s gritty, it’s emotional, and it’s powerful; that’s what I love about it.

After working with tutor Jordon for Suicide Kelly, what then inspired your decision to apply for BA Acting for Screen?

I never thought that university was for me. I left school at 16 and went to Leeds City College to study a BTEC in Acting.

One day, we were given the day off to visit universities, and I tagged along with a group to see MetFilm School Leeds. Once there, I learned what was actually on offer, and I was hooked. Whilst working on another project with Jordon, I then learned he was a tutor at the School – it just felt like fate.

Freddy Smith and tutor Jordon Scott Kennedy behind the scenes of Suicide Kelly

Suicide Kelly explores generational racism in a working-class community in Leeds. What drew you to the project – and what does it mean to you, to be working on specifically-Northern projects?

The North is my home. It’s what I know – and as an actor, I get to tackle issues and highlight problems that hopefully help people to learn and make the world a better place.

Suicide Kelly really put itself right in the centre of all of this.

And finally, how has your approach to acting changed since starting your degree last September?

The most growth I’ve seen would actually be my understanding of the industry. I’ve only ever really focused on my job as an actor when working, but at the School, I’ve learnt a lot more about other jobs within the industry, too.

Another thing would be preparing for a role. After four months here, I feel like I can understand a role much better than I could have before.