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2023
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MetFilm in 2022: A Year in Review

By Jonny Persey

14 December 2022

2022 has been quite a remarkable year for MetFilm, and it feels timely to pen a brief reminder of some of the highlights.

As we prepare for our 20th anniversary, we asked our CEO, David Howell, and Director, Jonny Persey, for their reflections on 2022:

It’s important from time to time to take a breath and celebrate, and we are deeply proud of the collective endeavours of our staff, our students, and our graduates.

This is a year in which a series of public accolades have reflected well on the impact our community is having, and in which a series of substantive projects have come to fruition.

At the same time, we can’t help but acknowledge that, from a global perspective, 2022 has been a deeply turbulent year, and one which has had challenging, and sometimes devastating impacts on far too many lives. Here’s wishing you all a brief moment of reflection before we embark on a new year, which we hope will bring respite, healing, peace, and prosperity to all.

Jonny Persey & David HowellMetFilm Director & MetFilm CEO

Our students, graduates, and staff are winning awards:

  • In April, Adjani Salmon (MA Directing graduate) won the BAFTA for Emerging Talent Television Craft for his BBC series Dreaming Whilst Black, initially developed whilst a student at MetFilm School in partnership with fellow students. Two months later, in June, Adjani was named one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow.
  • Gabriella Blumberg won the PIEoneer International Alumni of the Year award in recognition of her directing and producing accomplishments in the UK and in South Africa. On winning the award, Gaby said: ‘I am so proud to be associated with MetFilm School, who really nurtured my creativity during my time studying, and has continued to stay interested in my progress. The School really helped me understand the industry, and opened my eyes to what is possible’.
  • Co-directors and MA graduates Max Mir and Matthew Poole led a team of BA & MA students and graduates to both a Top 8 selection from the Straight 8 Competition, as well as four awards – including Best Film, at the 48 Hour Film Project in November.
  • In October, our CEO, David Howell, received the Outstanding Contribution to the Independent Higher Education Community award from Independent Higher Education (IHE). On receiving the award, David said: ‘I am delighted and humbled to receive this award. Thank you to the Board and Executive of IHE for the recognition, and to the staff of MetFilm School who supported me in this work. Independent HE works tirelessly to promote, support, and enhance the independent tertiary education sector’.
  • In November, our Director, Jonny Persey, was honoured at the Odeon National Youth Film Awards with the Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Young Film Talent. On winning the award, Jonny said: ‘What an unexpected joy to be recognised in this way – thank you! It is MetFilm’s 20th birthday in 2023. I feel so proud of what we have achieved at MetFilm School over this time. This is for us, for all the films we’ve made, the opportunities we’ve created, the careers we’ve empowered. Thank you for the recognition’.
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Gabriella Blumberg (MA Directing) with her PIEoneer International Alumni of the Year award!

Our graduate credits tell an inspiring story:

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Left: Tabish Habib at Cannes Film Festival | Right: Official Poster for ‘Nanny’

There are many more stories where those came from – and the data below knits these together into a compelling narrative about the impact our graduates are having on industry:

The Office for Students (regulator for Higher Education for England) published its Graduate Outcomes data in June this year, which surveys graduates from every English university and private higher education institute fifteen months after graduating, has found that at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, MetFilm School graduates are the highest performing of all film school graduates in the country, on this highly skilled employment measure.

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Graduate Outcomes – Design, Creative & Performing Arts Undergraduate Courses. Source: Office for Students
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Graduate Outcomes – Design, Creative & Performing Arts Postgraduate Courses. Source: Office for Students

In November, the government’s 2019-20 Longitudinal Educational Outcomes dataset was also released, which puts MetFilm School at 8th in the country across all Creative Arts and Design undergraduate courses.

We launched two new campuses…

Following several years of imagining, and a year of hard work, we launched our new MetFilm School Leeds campus, now offering a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses to our first cohort of a little over 100 students.

In October last year, we also partnered with Garden Studios for a fourth studio campus, whose values in innovation, sustainability, diversity, and talent development match our own. We’re enormously proud of BA Content, Media & Film Production graduates Sam Kemp and Harry Maduagwu, who joined the Garden Studios team as Virtual Production Technician and Facilities Assistant respectively.

Watch the walkthrough for MetFilm School Leeds here…

…and a distribution business:

In November, MetFilm built on the success of MetFilm Production and MetFilm Sales to launch our new distribution arm, MetFilm Distribution.

Its first release, A Bunch of Amateurs, opened to outstanding reviews, winning the Audience Prize at both Sheffield DocFest and the Leeds International Documentary Festival. The film has delighted audiences in theatres across the UK, before being broadcast on BBC Four on December 13th – you can now catch it on iPlayer.

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Official poster for MetFilm Distribution’s ‘A Bunch of Amateurs’

We’ve had some amazing guest speakers in 2022:

  • Unorthodox creator Anna Winger came to talk to our students in an amazing live-streamed session out of our Berlin campus, interviewed by BA Practical Filmmaking graduate Tunde Aladese, who worked as ‘Writer on Set’ for Anna’s newest series for Netflix, Transatlantic. This is not Anna’s first connection with MetFilm School – graduate Will Bentley wrote two episodes on Deutschland ’86, the follow up to Deutschland ’83 in Anna’s highly-acclaimed trilogy.
  • Graduates Ryan J. Smith and Lewis William Robinson spoke with our Leeds students about their experiences shooting their first feature films – Ryan’s Lottery and Lewis’s Orchid Moon.
  • Costume designer Jill Taylor kicked off the BFI x MetFilm School Masterclass series with a fascinating talk with our students, shortly followed by another great session with casting director Andy Brierley.
  • David Kosse, Independent Producer, former VP International Film at Netflix, and President of Universal Pictures International and Head of Film4, drew a large crowd addressing our students earlier this month.
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Left: Tunde Aladese and Anna Winger during our MetFilm School Masterclass | Right: Tunde on-set for ‘Transatlantic’

And finally, our tutors and staff:

We remain forever indebted to our incredible team of staff and tutors, who our students value enormously, and whilst we bid adieu to several who have moved on to pastures new, we’re delighted to welcome some fabulous new staff, including Alice Hynes and Sally Joynson, who joined the MetFilm School Board.

We also welcomed Dr. Paul Gormley as the new Principal for MetFilm School Leeds, and Robert Lehniger as Principal for MetFilm School Berlin.

Finally, we remember both fondly and sadly the incredible Asher Tlalim, who passed away in October 2022.