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MetFilm Production: The Reason I Jump and an interview with the interns

By Elise Czyzowska

08 April 2022

Over the years, many MetFilm School students have been lucky enough to join our in-house production company, MetFilm Production, who offer four graduates internships a year, each lasting three months. These internships grant our students and graduates the opportunity to gain vital industry experience, working on films including Misha and the WolvesSwimming with Men, and The Reason I Jump, which arrived on Disney + just last week!

Based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump is ‘an immersive cinematic exploration of neurodiversity through the experiences of nonspeaking autistic people from around the world’. The film, which was added to Disney’s streaming service in celebration of Autism Awareness Day, involved 19 students, and we are immensely proud of what they have helped to create.

Watch our In Conversation video between Director Jerry Rothwell and three MA graduates who worked on the film with MetFilm Production. Gabby and Ella were both former interns and Ella is now Festival & Assets Manager at MetFilm Sales

To find out more about life at MetFilm Production, we spoke to two MetFilm School students who were lucky enough to complete the internship: Phoebe Campbell-Harris 2021 (MA Film & Television Production), and Ibrahim Kamel 2017 (MA Producing).

How did you get involved in the internship?

Phoebe: I had recently graduated from MetFilm School, and I saw the internship advertised on MetFilm Futures. At the time, I had just watched Last Breath on Netflix, and was blown away by the quality of the filmmaking. Eager to work with the team behind it, I submitted my CV, went through the interview process, and the rest is history!

Ibrahim: Shortly after finishing my MA Producing, Deputy School Director Steve Pinhay got in touch to let me know about the internship opening that MetFilm Production had. I had an interview, learnt more about the role, and started a week later!

What’s an average day like in this internship?

Phoebe: I wouldn’t say there’s such a thing as an ‘average’ day! One day you could be doing magazine research, writing a script report and tracking expenses, and the next you could be helping to find contributors for a documentary project or filling out a narrative log. It’s a very varied role, and I found that the experience not only helped me to figure out where my strengths and weaknesses lie, but it also helped me to figure out what I was interested in pursuing.

Ibrahim: My day would start by picking up any mail at Ealing Studios. Once I passed this out, I would head up to MetFilm Production to settle in for the day, and then my day would really start. I could be submitting a new documentary we had acquired to festivals, transcribing interviews, organising the post production paperwork for Swimming with Men, or helping with any production management tasks needed.

Watch the trailer for Swimming with Men!

Can you share your favourite memory from MetFilm Production?

Phoebe: Very early into my internship, I was tasked with finding contributors for a documentary project, and they were very difficult to find. The story was set in the 90s, the contributors were Europe-based, and none of them used social media. However, I kept on digging, and eventually, I managed to find one via an off-beat news article written in the 90s. This opened so many doors to the project, and it was an incredibly satisfying moment which illustrated how you need to keep digging to find gold!

Ibrahim: My favourite memory was definitely helping the Swimming with Men production team, since it gave me a real sense for what feature film production looked like.

How did your internship change the way you viewed the film industry?

Phoebe: What really surprised me was just how varied every day can be. Although there are frameworks in place to help push projects forward, each one is different by default: different subject matters, creative teams, audiences, deliverables… With each project there are new challenges, and as with everything, I’ve learnt that working within this industry is a constant learning process. Being able to constantly adapt is vital.

Ibrahim: The internship really helped me to understand that everyone has a part to play. Filmmaking is such a collective effort, and it’s amazing to see how everyone comes together to make something great.

How did MetFilm School help prepare you for this internship?

Phoebe: Working on a variety of MA projects was critical in preparing me for this internship. Whilst working on short film projects, I learnt about all stages of filmmaking on a much smaller scale. I was able to try things out whilst surrounded by supportive peers, and learnt very quickly about prioritising and multi-tasking to meet critical deadlines.

My MA also gave me a very well-rounded and in-depth education about the structure of the industry. This understanding has given me a strong foundation and fantastic footing which I have brought forward and applied in practice.

Ibrahim: My time at MetFilm School was immensely helpful. It helped me to understand the ins and outs o the independent film industry in the UK, particularly how to effectively use the different funding schemes and how each film can be marketed. The practical experience I gained with the different projects I produced (or helped with my classmates with) taught me how to quickly plan a production, and how to anticipate anything that might go wrong.

Learn more about How to Change the World, another MetFilm Production documentary which involved many MetFilm School students and alumni!

What have you been up to since your internship?

Phoebe: I’m not sure I can disclose much information… but I will say that I’m moving into a Production Assistant role with MetFilm Production, and I’m incredibly excited for this new chapter!

Ibrahim: A great deal! The team at MetFilm Production linked me up with my first production job in high-end drama (Vanity Fair for ITV Studios), which then led to my next job as Production Assistant on Strangers, also for ITV. Now, I’m working as a freelance Development Producer, which I’m really enjoying!

My time at MetFilm School and MetFilm Production were essential to my career, and without the skills I learned and the contacts I made, finding work in the industry would have been much more difficult.

Over the years we have had some fantastic interns who have come from the MA, BA and short courses. Each intern has brought their own unique skills to our company which has been invigorating for us and we hope in return they have gained experience and knowledge of how a production company and productions are run, as well as making some good contacts along the way. The majority have gone on to work with us, or our industry partners and colleagues, either on specific projects or in-house.

Stewart le MaréchalProducer, MetFilm Production

Former interns at MetFilm Production have gone on to work across the industry in a variety of roles and positions. Gemma Purkiss joined production company Dogwoof as Asset Manager; Robert Panners was welcomed to the EastEnders crew as a Script Editor and, since working as a freelance producer; Nina Georgioff has been commissioned to create short films for the BBC; Jenny Bohnhoff is now Sales & Acquisitions Co-ordinator at MetFilm Sales; and Karen Simon works for MetFilm Production on a freelance basis.

Watch a clip from MetFilm Production’s latest feature documentary, The Return