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School's Out: Film School Event

Is film school an essential component of a filmmaking career? Or just a waste of time and money? Filmmaking is a craft that can be taught in the classroom or learned on the job. But which avenue prov...

Is film school an essential component of a filmmaking career? Or just a waste of time and money?

Filmmaking is a craft that can be taught in the classroom or learned on the job. But which avenue provides a more beneficial route to professional success?

This subject provoked a lively debate at today’s free School’s Out event, held at the Filmhouse. Glyn Davies from Bristol University chaired a panel which included Paolo Chianta, graduate of London Film Academy, Robin MacPherson, Acting Director of the Napier/Edinburgh College of Art Screen Academy, Lynda Myles, Head of Fiction Department (National Film and Television School), producer, and former EIFF Director, and Joern Utkilen of Director Size 5 (screening in EIFF’sUK Shorts 1) and ECA Graduate.

The panellists brought a wide range of opinions and experiences to the debate. In particular, the two film students, who have both worked in the film industry, differed on the usefulness of a formal school education.

”I found it difficult after school, to do what I wanted,” Joern Utkilen said, although he admitted that he was “not a forward, vocal person,” which, he acknowledged, definitely helps in such this competitive field.

Paolo Chianta, while noting that he had done unpaid film work after attending the London Film Academy, added, “film school really focused what I wanted to do.”

The audience members were quick to raise several contentious points; they debated the need for codified standards for all UK film schools, and argued about the practicality of taking media studies classes in secondary school.

After listening to the debate fly back and forth, you were inclined  to agree with Robin MacPherson’s statement: regardless of whether you attend one year of school, or four, or none at all, “In filmmaking, learning is a lifelong process.”

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