Meet the Childnet Film Competition Judges: Catherine McAllister, BBC

Posted on 26 April 2018

Find out more about Catherine's role at the BBC and why she’s supporting Film Competition.

What is your role at the BBC?

I am the Head of Safeguarding in the Children’s department, and I’m also the BBC’s lead for online safety. That means that I’m responsible for helping make sure that the BBC’s digital services for young people are safe, but I also help the BBC when it comes to making content aimed at educating children and young people about online safety.

Why are you supporting the Childnet Film Competition?

I think the competition offers children and young people a chance to show how the world they would tackle some of the risks associated with the internet and apps etc. So often we hear what adults think the answers are, when it’s not always adults who are using the services being talked about, and so the competition is a great opportunity to hear from young people themselves, because they are often the real experts.

Why do you think film works as a way to teach important messages to young people?

I think film is brilliant because it offers the chance to be really creative and get important messages over by developing strong characters to tell a story. You can choose whether to make it happy or sad, dramatic or funny, animation or real-life – the choices available to anyone setting out to make a film are huge. And the finished film is so much more powerful than just being told some information - the messages in films can really stay with you for years.

What are you most looking forward to about being a judge for the competition?

All the amazingly different ideas in the films! I’ve judged the competition before and it’s so brilliant to see how hugely differently each one is from any of the others.

What will you be looking for when judging the films?

Great storytelling!

What top tips would you share to the young people taking part in the competition?

Think about the audience for your film! Think about the response you want them to have and try to keep that in mind. And don’t overcomplicate it – often the strongest messages can be the very simplest.

And finally, in your opinion, why should someone enter the Childnet Film Competition?

Because it’s an amazing opportunity for any budding filmmaker to showcase their talents, and also maybe even get other children and young people to think about online safety in a new way.

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