'A great film has a great story at its heart’ says Film Competition judge Jim Filippatos

Posted on 17 May 2021

Over the past few weeks the Childnet Film Competition judges have been telling us more about their jobs and providing some top tips for young filmmakers.

Next up, with the closing date for entries just over two weeks away, is Jim Filippatos, Vice President of Global Public Policy at Disney.

Read on for Jim’s views on the current trends in the film industry and his first cinematic experience involving a galaxy far, far away…

  1. Jim, what do you enjoy most about your job?
    The Walt Disney Company is an incredible group of storytellers with innovative and creative partners in every region of the world. Collaborating every day in that environment to help bring Disney magic to guests and audiences around the world is energising, fun and definitely never dull!
  2. What would you say are the current trends in the film industry?
    The growth of streaming and what follows after the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic are top of mind for everybody but for me the most exciting trend is what’s happening in Africa. There are so many great African stories yet to be told for a local, regional and global audience and there is a generation of African storytellers and creators ready to bring their stories to the screen with great partners standing ready to work with them to make it happen. I think we’re going to see many fantastic, high-quality and inspiring African projects over the next few years and it’s a really exciting moment for film everywhere.
  3. Thinking about this year’s Film Competition theme – why do you think it can be tricky to separate fact from fiction online?
    There is so much information coming at us all so fast through social media and other platforms and this reality is new for all of us. It’s no wonder young people and adults are struggling to separate what’s true and what’s a lie online. I think we have an opportunity to help young people even before they are involved in social media and other platforms to develop critical thinking skills that can help them discern lies online. Critical thinking skills can be taught and honed, and all of our societal institutions can help children develop these necessary skills early on. Another critical element is for all platforms to commit to rules of the road that ensure a safe and sustainable internet for all users, above all children.
  4. What do you think makes a film ‘stand out’?
    I think a great story is what makes the best films stand out. A filmmaker has to get so many technical elements right but all of it falls apart without a great story at its heart. A compelling story is how the audience really connects with a film.
  5. What do you remember most from the first time you saw a film at the cinema?
    I remember the excitement of emerging from the dark theatre into the daylight and the rush of energy and enthusiasm, running around with my brothers imitating the magic and adventure we had just seen on the big screen. Star Wars: A New Hope is the first memory I have of this and we absolutely had to have light sabers!
  • Bring your own ‘compelling story’ to life – enter Film Competition 2021 here.

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