This is Lisa’s first year of being a Childnet Film Competition Judge, find out more about her role at BAFTA and why she’s looking forward to judging the Childnet Film Competition.
Can you tell us a bit about BAFTA and what your role is?
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is an independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. It is possibly best known for its Awards Ceremonies which identify and reward creative excellence, but it also does a whole lot more.
In addition to its Awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round, international programme of learning events and initiatives. It offers unique access to some of the world’s most inspiring talent through workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia.
My role is to programme and produce content, either online or live events, focussed on the children’s media industry. I work in the Learning & New Talent team and it’s an interesting and exciting job because of the variety. One month I could be producing a creative masterclass to celebrate 20 years of Teletubbies (and meeting the original Po) and the following month I could be showcasing the work of new writers.
A huge part of my job is developing BAFTA Kids which is aimed at a family and schools audience, helping them to discover amazing content and maybe even a possible future career path. BAFTA Kids has its own YouTube channel and website (http://www.baftakids.org/) where we host original content and competitions like our annual search for young presenters. I also work with festival and venue partners around the UK to preview new content, run special film screenings for children’s hospices and showcase the creative talent behind the nominated films, games and TV shows from BAFTA’s Children’s Awards. Our most popular event is the TV Presenting Masterclass where children hear the inside scoop but also learn the importance of soft skills that can help you in everyday life ie self-esteem, confidence and resilience.
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is to go into schools with television presenters, actors, writers and directors. BAFTA Kids partners with children’s mental health charity Place2Be to give children direct access to their heroes and positive role models. I am lucky enough to see the immediate impact of these visits and hopefully it also provides a long-term memory and moment of inspiration. We also support Children’s Mental Health Week and this year are running a selfie drawing competition with the winners being featured in a Being Ourselves animation produced by the creators of Sarah & Duck.
This is your first year being a judge for the competition. What key things will you be looking for?
I am really interested to see the different interpretations of the theme of digital empathy. It’s always fascinating to see the variety of viewpoints when everyone starts from the same position. I’m looking for strong messaging, originality and a film that will challenge me and stay in my memory.
Why did you decide to support us and be a judge?
As someone working with children and the media industry, and as a parent of a teenager, internet safety is a major concern of mine. Safer Internet Day is hugely important and provides a perfect opportunity to start conversations with younger people about the challenges of social media. It’s vital to listen to their views and opinions as they are the ones shaping the future.
What are you most looking forward to on the day?
Meeting the young filmmakers and hearing about their creative process and what they learned working as a team. Also, I’m a film geek so it will be great to see the films on the big screen.
In your opinion, what do you think makes a winning film?
Connecting with the audience, that’s why this year’s theme of empathy is so interesting. A film can be technically brilliant and original but I want to be able to relate to the characters and subject and FEEL something.
What would be your three top tips for creating your film?
- Identify the main message
- Work together and listen to the ideas of the whole production team.
- Spend time plotting out the story structure before you start filming.
Why do you think film works so well in teaching important messages?
Films tell stories and storytelling has always been at the heart of our existence. Films can enhance that story with performance, music, editing, photography etc to create worlds and emotions we want to explore. Visual imagery is very powerful so when you combine it with all the elements of filmmaking, you have a very valuable tool to share messages.
What would you say to anyone who might be thinking about entering the competition?
Have a go! It’s a great opportunity to get creative and make an impact. It also gives you the chance to think and talk about a really important subject. Wouldn’t it be great to share what you think and how we can improve digital empathy?