MetFilm Director Jonny Persey on a moment of unique opportunity
By Jonny Persey
12 March 2021
With MetFilm School returning to onsite teaching at West London’s Ealing Studios this week, MetFilm Director, Jonny Persey, reflects on the incredible work that continues to be created throughout challenging times…
We once again opened the doors of our London campus fully to students and staff, in line with UK Government Guidelines, on Monday 8 March 2021, and we are all very excited to be back from what we hope is the last full lockdown of this pandemic.
Looking back at the last 12 months, I want to commend the ingenuity, creative thinking, tenacity and patience of our course teams and staff who have re-invented and re-imagined our curriculum countless times, working round the clock to ensure that our students receive – perhaps not in the order they originally imagined – but certainly very fully – the learning experience they signed up to.
And I want to applaud our students who did not imagine their world being turned upside down by a global pandemic, and who have trusted in our leadership, engaged with us wholeheartedly, and patiently waited for the practical learning to come in its time.
Creativity to celebrate
We have not been quiet during this last lockdown. Our students have been developing ideas, writing scripts, pitching them to executives from the BBC, from Amazon Studios, from YouTube and many more – and where they haven’t already shot those projects under Covid-safe production protocols, they will do in the coming months.
We have had guest speakers from the world of film and television regularly in the Virtual Grindhouse including most recently Black Mirror creator, Charlie Brooker, BAFTA winning actor, Vicky McClure, and award-winning composer, Nainita Desai. You can see some of our guest speaker highlights here.
Our students and graduates, as always, have been busy working in industry and making the most of lockdown.
- Graduates, Dankuro Shinma and Will Randall-Coath have recently completed two feature films – romantic comedy, Iceland is Best, is due for release in the UK in June 2021, and their touching love story, Firebird is the opening film of next week’s BFI Flare LGBTQ+ film festival – you will hear more about that in the coming weeks.
- The Fandom Presents is a web series celebrating some of the world’s most popular film franchise, collaboratively produced by students across all our BA and MA courses – it’s a fun format and was this week showcased by the British Cinematographer.
- Our exploration into Virtual Production is continuing with our partners at Garden Studios.
- Isaac Fisher, Naala Vanslembrouck and Dan Henderson, who made Scoop McDoolie for Apple Podcasts, during lockdown while studying their MA Screenwriting course, have been nominated for The Imison Award as part of the 2021 BBC Audio Drama Awards.
- Kudos to the 19 graduates credited in MetFilm Production’s The Reason I Jump which came in February won Best Documentary and Best Sound at the British Independent Film Awards; the 6 graduates credited in our Misha and the Wolves which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews in January; and to the 17 graduates credited in 23 Walks which is now out on multiple platforms.
And on Monday as well as opening our doors once more, we celebrated International Women’s Day by celebrating the work of women in the Film & TV industry (which we do all year round), by looking back at some of our recent female alumni profiles, interviews and successes across both campuses.
A unique moment in time
In our 2018 film, The School in the Cloud, directed by the brilliant Jerry Rothwell, and produced by Al Morrow with our sorely missed graduate Dan Demissie, Sugata Mitra talks about learning at the edge of chaos. The edge of chaos in physics is the delicate space that exists between order and disorder. It’s a transition zone where the unpredictability of the chaos on one side meeting the structure and predictability of the other defines a perfect balance which systems in the natural world are drawn to.
This moment between lockdown and some sort of new order in life, and between old ways of working and new, is in its own way an edge of chaos, and a moment of incredible opportunity, for which I believe our graduates are particularly well positioned. Equipped with a deep understanding of storytelling for the screen and a set of practical production and postproduction tools, I want to urge our graduates to grab this unique moment in time, harness the new ways of working that digital is offering, and develop new ways of telling stories on screen that will define this next generation. Here we go!
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