Renowned filmmaker David Yates recently returned to Edge Hill University to talk to students about his films and inspire the next generation of filmmakers.

David, who was made an Honorary Doctor of the University last year for his contribution to international cinema, was in discussion with Professor Roger Shannon, Associate Director of Edge Hill’s Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE).

During the lecture, David opened up about how he got into filmmaking after he was given a Super 8 camera when he was young and started to make films of friends and family. He also talked about his move away from dramas with politically and socially relevant themes such as State of Play and Girl in the Café, to the blockbuster Harry Potter films.

“The masterclass with David Yates was all encompassing, discussing the inspiration behind his no budget films he created on Merseyside as a youngster, right up to his recent work on large budgeted and award-winning studio films,” said Roger. “Students were enthralled by his cinematic insights as he sketched out his approach as a director for both television dramas and feature films.”

David said:

“It is always good coming back to Edge Hill, the passion and enthusiasm for all things film amongst the students is wonderful to see.”

Originally from Rainhill, David directed the last four films in the Harry Potter series, as well as numerous feature and short films and television programmes, and is considered to be one of Britain’s most accomplished directors.

“David Yates has always been an inspiration to me and I’m a big fan of his work especially the Harry Potter series,” said Chloe Jupp-Browne, a third year Film and Television Production student from Warrington. “He’s taught me that it doesn’t matter about where you’re from, you can still achieve great things. I really do hope I become an amazing director like him some day.”

Second year Creative Writing and Film Studies student Scott Meadows, from Runcorn, attended the lecture with the hope of gaining an insight into the world of film production, and David did not disappoint.

“I learned a great deal, predominantly that a huge part of a successful career in film involves uncertainty and the possibility of rejection,” said Scott. “I cannot express enough gratitude to the University for offering opportunities like this. The fact that I was able to have a conversation with one of the most celebrated film-makers of our generation has given me so much hope towards my own future. David stands as a prime example of someone who comes from a similar background to me, and from a neighbouring part of the country – what better way to prove we can do it, than to have David Yates show us that it is possible?”

Third year Film and Television Production student Dean Jones from Bootle also found the experience invaluable. He acquired lots of useful information which will influence the choices he’ll make when it comes to his own career.

Dean Jones with David Yates

“The opportunity to hear from such an esteemed director is one I couldn’t miss,” said Dean. “I remember watching his first Harry Potter movie when I was 10 and was blown away. For as long as I can remember, the Potter books and films have always been a great source of escapism for me.

“As an aspiring filmmaker it’s always important to hear from the people who’ve been there, done that, and are still doing it. The industry professionals for film and television who come to Edge Hill are inspiring and reassure you that you can make it. They never sugar coat how tough the journey will be, but really ignite the fire inside the ones who truly relish the challenge that lies ahead. Attending these masterclasses are so important. There could be that one piece of advice that gets you the job you want, while the person who didn’t attend missed out on the advice and the job.”

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