Edge Hill media student Paul Cannon is to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone by studying film in New York.

The 27-year-old from Runcorn, who has completed one year of a Media, Film and Television degree, will attend the New York Film Academy from September.

After nine months of intense study at the Manhattan-based school, which will see Paul work six a days a week with only one week of vacation permitted, the former Brookvale pupil will return to Edge Hill in 2006 to complete his degree.

“It?s taken a lot of paperwork and valuable help from the staff at Edge Hill but I?ve finally been given the go-ahead to pack my bags for the Big Apple,” said Paul, who also had a short film, Early Retirement, shown at this year?s Cannes Film Festival. “I?ve managed to find somewhere to live next to Central Park so I can?t wait to get over there to see the sights and use some of the finest equipment in the industry.”

During his studies, Paul will use state-of-the-art 35mm cameras, work on 16 films ? at least four of which will be solo projects ? arrange locations for shoots and deal with professional actors.

“Edge Hill?s media department is really well-resourced and at NYFA I?ll be using equipment that is of cinema quality,” added Paul, who met Hollywood actress Natalie Portman at Cannes and rubbed shoulders with the likes of Bill Murray and Penelope Cruz. “When I return to Edge Hill I?ll no doubt have required lots of new skills that I can utilise on my first feature film.”

After spending a number of years as an IT consultant, Paul opted for a move back into education only to be dealt a huge blow one week prior to the start of his degree.

“I was diagnosed with cancer of the lymphatic system and advised by my doctor to take a year out and not start my degree at all. I decided to continue as planned but had to undergo chemotherapy every two weeks as well as radiation therapy.

“Thankfully I recently received the all-clear and I can look forward to my year in New York with renewed optimism ? after all, had I decided to take time off this opportunity may never have arisen.”

Paul?s activities in NYC can be monitored on his website www.milewalkfilms.com.