Edge Hill’s Creative Edge

Young filmmakers are learning from some of the best industry names as part of an innovative new programme that has been launched in the Liverpool city region to develop future talent in the digital workplace sector.

The Screenlife Accelerator Programme, which started last month, is being run by Edge Hill University’s Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE) in partnership with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Hollywood director, producer and creator of Screenlife, Timur Bekmambetov.

Together they are delivering a free course that teaches the next generation of film makers how to use Timur’s innovative storytelling format where viewers see the action play out from the point of view of the computers, tablets and smartphones used by the characters.

Two of those taking part are Sam Hardy, a 27-year-old scriptwriter from Widnes, and Andrew Abrahamson, a full-time photographer living in Liverpool.  

Sam Hardy

Sam said: “I’ve loved film since I was a kid and writing and making films has always helped me express myself. It was one of the few things I could focus on as an autistic child. I went on to study creative writing at university and took every module related to writing scripts. These days I’m in a theatre group but have struggled to get paid work in the film industry.”

Sam joined the project to learn more about the film making process with the hopes of building on his scriptwriting skills and fulfil his ambitions to one day become a director.

“I don’t have a lot of people in my life I can create with.” Sam added. “Being part of the programme has been amazing because I’ve got to meet so many fellow creatives who I can share ideas with and hopefully one day work with.  We’ve learnt so much more than just how to use Screenlife. We’ve learnt about pitching projects, producing films, all the work that goes on behind the scenes and about how the film industry works as a whole. It’s given me a lot of confidence and hope for the future.”

The 12-week course includes weekly webinars hosted by key creatives from Bekmambetov’s production banners in Hollywood, Europe, and Russia. Most recently the participants have benefited from a masterclass from Director Carey Williams, whose film R#J was recently released at Sundance. R#J is a new adaptation of Romeo and Juliette for the digital age created using the Screenlife format.

Also learning about Screenlife techniques is Andrew, who after seeing Liverpool’s growing film industry, saw the course as a great way to make connections and get his foot in the door.

Andrew Abrahamson

Andrew said: “I’ve been a full-time photographer doing mostly performances, weddings and events for the past seven years. During that time I’ve been lucky enough to make music videos and short films, and in 2013 one even won the People’s choice award at the Reed short film competition.

“More recently, I’ve had some time on my hands due to the pandemic. I decided I wanted to get back into film making after seeing how many films and tv shows now film right here in Liverpool. It’s been an inspiring course so far; all the experts are so knowledgeable and willing to help. Timur himself is a super down to earth guy; he’s come up with this totally new way of making films and he’s sharing it with all of us. It feels like a real privilege.”

At the end of the course, Bazelevs Studios and Screenlife Liverpool will consider examples of work produced by the participants that could be developed for commercial production, giving potentially exciting opportunities for everyone taking part.

The course is part of the Digital Skills for the Workplace programme, developed locally by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, working with local employers and funded by the Department for Education. For more information on Screenlife, click here.

Connecting Edge Hill with the digital and creative economy and with cultural organisations is done in several ways at the University, including via the work of the Institute for Creative Enterprise. For more information about the work of ICE, visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/ice/, where you can also listen to podcasts from creative industry insiders.

If you would like to study film at Edge Hill there are a number of courses available including BA (Hons) Film StudiesBA (Hons) Film Studies with Film Production and BA (Hons) Film and Television Production. For the full list of film and tv courses the university offers visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/film-and-tv.