Find out more about the Childnet Film Competition judges

Posted on 18 June 2020

There’s not long left to enter the Childnet Film Competition, and whilst we know you are working hard on your films why not find out more about our judges and what they are looking for in a winning film!

Amy Phillips – Disney

About Amys Role at Disney

I’ve been with The Walt Disney Company for 13 years, first with ESPN in New York and now with Disney in London. Until now, I’ve lived in the US but I’ve always been fond of London and very excited to be living here (likely moreso after lockdown). While I’ve spent the majority of my career in sport, I’ve also got roots in children’s television and animation, having worked both at Disney and at Cartoon Network early in my career.

Amy’s top tips for making a winning film

With a great film it all comes down to the story and connecting emotionally, no matter the medium.

Catherine McAllister - BBC Children’s

About Catherine’s role at BBC Chidren’s

I’m head of editorial standards in the BBC Children’s department, so I help make sure that the programmes and online content we produce is suitable and appropriate for our younger audiences. 

Catherine’s top tips for making a winning film 

Let your child’s imagination run wild! I think the best films we’ve seen are the ones where the children had a clear idea of what they wanted to do and then were able to deliver it without too much influence from grown ups!

David Austin OBE- BBFC

About David’s role at the BBFC

I'm the Chief Executive for the BBFC. It's my job to lead the BBFC.  I'm responsible for its day to day running, ensuring our standards and policies are in line with what families want and need, and for looking after relationships with industry, children's charities such as Childnet, and Government and Parliament.  I also get to watch films that need my decision on the classification.

David’s top tips for anyone wanting to enter

I would encourage all the budding filmmakers to think about their audience. Audience, context and tone are three key things that we look at when classifying content - and at the BBFC we’re all about helping families choose content well, so they can view what’s right for them. I’d encourage all the entrants to really think about how they want their audience to feel when watching their film, and to think carefully about all the messages that they would like to get across.

Families are all spending a lot more time online at the minute, whether that’s for homeschooling reasons or entertainment - so online safety is more important than ever. The Childnet competition not only offers children a good opportunity to think about what the internet means to them, but it also gives a great learning opportunity. Film is a brilliant medium for learning, and whether your script writing, storyboarding and planning, or filming and editing, there’s lots of ways that you can get creative with this competition while you’re in lockdown.

Lisa Prime – BAFTA

About Lisa’s role at the BAFTA

I work for BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Arts) as the Programme Manager for Children & Young People.  I’m part of the Learning & New Talent team and it’s an interesting, creative and exciting job with lots of variety. Normally I’d be travelling the country putting on events for schools and family festivals but obviously everything has moved online during lockdown. We’ve introduced a new content strand -   BAFTA Kids at Home with Place2Be – on the BAFTA & Kids Teens YouTube channel with messages of support and recommendations for film, games and TV for the family.

Lisa’s thoughts on the theme

We should all be able to explore who we are but particularly young people.  The internet should allow us the ability to ask questions of ourselves and of the world around us.  This might sound a big theme but I want an internet where we’re free to explore and learn about ourselves.  

What ingredients make a good film?  I appreciate strong, clear messaging.  The best films make me think about them afterwards.

Mark Reid Education, British Film Institute

About Mark’s role at the BFI

I’ve worked at the BFI for a very long time… I started well before YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. My job currently is looking after a big schools programme, but I also work with children and families outside school, and digital courses and resources. We have a small, expert and dedicated team of 7. What I love most is the range of people I work with – teachers in Greece, cinema programmers in Spain, primary schools in Aylesbury, young people on work experience. Peer to peer learning is successful because children seem to love learning from each other – the responsibility, the respect, the fun.

Mark’s Top Tip

Film enables us to imagine things that don’t yet exist- or might never exist. My top tip would be to hold the camera(phone, tablet) sideways, not vertically – you get much more in your shot. And find a way of holding it steady – on a tripod or a table.

Stan McCoy - Motion Picture Association

About Stan’s role at the Motion Picture Association

Stan is the President and Managing Director at the Motion Picture Association (MPA) for the region comprising Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The MPA serves as the global voice and advocate of the film, television, and streaming industry around the world.

Stan's thoughts on supporting the competition -

It has become clear that for everyone to reap the benefits of the internet, we need an online environment which mirrors our offline lives, a safe and responsible internet capable of serving society for the better. Everyone has a role to play in that, from policymakers to NGOs to content creators and law enforcement. The MPA believes that working collaboratively will enable us to achieve this goal.

We believe the Childnet Film Competition gives children and young people a unique space in which they can use their inspiration gained from TV series and films to have fun experimenting with filmmaking, all whilst learning the value of using legitimate sites to help make the internet an open, safe and constructive resource.

The competition has not been halted by lockdown – it has been adapted and Childnet has even added a new category! We are all looking for creative ways to fill our days at the moment, and by getting involved in the competition, young people and their parents can learn new filmmaking skills and develop effective strategies for staying safe online.

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