Written by Kianna Best on Apr 5, 2023. Posted in Interviews

Film AlUla and Creative Media Skills Institute join forces in training the new generation of screen professionals

On 26 February, Film AlUla kicked off their training programme in association with UK- led Creative Media Skills Institute, training an up and coming generation of filmmakers. For 10 days, attendees were taught by four industry professionals who imparted their wisdom and experiences through a series of talks and practical activities. We got to speak to programme trainer Iain Smith, BAFTA-winning film producer on his time working with the new generation of talents.


What did the training entail and why do you think the learning experiences were so valuable?  

It wasn't all theoretical, there was a practical component. They made little films which I haven’t had the chance to see yet, but I believe the feedback from the students was huge. They were so happy to be doing that and to actually physically see how films were organised and how the crew were deployed during the working day. So I think I think CMS training camp has been a very successful one.



What was a key lesson you hoped tutees took away from the sessions?

Well, I think the tutors were collectively saying more or less the same thing which was, films don't get made by accident . Throughout the two weeks that they were there, there was a kind of relaxed approach to time, so people would sometimes wander in 10 or 15 minutes late into the classes. We didn't make a big deal of that but would gently remind them of the principle that films are made in their preparation.

With the young people, there's already a lot of knowledge there and several of the students had clearly worked in production of one kind of another, whether it be on commercials or television or whatever, which is a great start.



How do you think your lesson changed the perspectives of the tutees on the industry as a whole?

We wanted to give them the British, American approach to production planning and management. And I think they got a lot for that. But it takes a long time to fully understand and take on. The other thing we wanted to do was emphasise, the reason why we do this, and that the thing that really matters most is story; all of this is to tell a good story. Therefore the whole creative development is very important and people need to understand that screenwriters are not just putting down words, but they're actually beginning to shape how this story is going to be best told. I think to some extent they appreciated it, but they're not doing that just yet.

I think they also learned that we're not monsters in the film business that we have a sense of humour cause without a sense of humour, you can't make a film, in my opinion. We have no problems with people who've never made something trying to make something. We're always keen to help and have people grow. I believe also that the world is becoming much more network oriented, and the commercial and creative power comes from the network, not from the centre.



What did you take away from the experience?

One thing I did take away with great pleasure was the enthusiasm. And that was more than I would say you get in most places. You get enthusiasm because the people that are there want to learn. They want to know the secret.


Images courtesy of Film AlUla


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