NSA Leadership College Film and TV students excel

Belfast Metropolitan College offers a range of courses in Film, TV and Animation. Year one and two HND Film and TV Students have continued their excellent 17/18 form with a successful summer across festivals, competitions, training, and employment.

HND student Stacey Burns, on set during a recent media project
HND student Stacey Burns, on set during a recent media project

Festival success

At the Sleeping Giant’s Film Festival, which took place in Warrenpoint in July, short comedy Just a Normal Irish Story (made by Ryan Rafferty, Mark Rainey, PJ Wallace, and Joel McReynolds) beat fierce competition to take home the Best Homegrown Fiction award.

Ryan and Mark were also nominated for individual awards at the Northern Ireland Short Film Awards. Meanwhile fellow group members Joel and PJ received the exciting news that their media production business, Kromax Media, has been nominated for a NI Business Award in the Start-up Business Category.

Ryan said, “Doing well on my assignments was important, but I am glad the lecturers encourage us to get our work out there. Competing against pro-filmmakers has upped my game. Long may it continue.”

Upcoming awards

Highly-regarded local festival Film Devour recently announced the program for the October show and has officially selected three Belfast Met HND Film and TV 17/18 productions. Three short fiction films will all compete for the Director’s Choice and Audience Choice awards.

  • Eschaton, by David Harvey, Nathan Emery, Matt Beggs, and Lewis Allen
  • Flowers Unwilted, by Andrew Shields and Peter Barr
  • Planes, Trains, and Piggybacks Home, by Stacey Burns, Mark Dennis, and Mark Hanna

Eschaton has also been officially selected for the Yellow Fever Indie Film Festival, which will take place in October in Belfast.

David Harvey, who co-wrote the script and co-produced the short horror remarked that, “I am incredibly happy for such a ‘small’ and zero budget film to get exposure to such a wide audience, and to get the recognition that I feel the team deserves.”

On-the-job experience

Stacey Burns fought off stiff competition to gain a work placement at Stellify Media. Stellify produce a number of well-known TV shows, including the new 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire', and 'Blind Date'. The team at Stellify were so impressed with Stacey’s work that they have offered her a part time job while she completes her HND.

Stacey said, “Spending the summer at Stellify was the most amazing experience. I’ve learnt so much and had an absolute blast. I’m so grateful for the opportunity and the fact that they’re keeping me on a part-time basis whilst I finish my HND is a dream come true!”

Stacey developed a range of skills during her placement, her duties included location recces, interviewing people to feature in tasters and acting as a point of contact for talent. She also gained experience in health & safety, contributors forms/contracts, data wrangling, and footage logging.  

Staff perspective

Course co-ordinator Tommy Scott said “We encourage students to get as much experience as they can while completing the course, as it will strengthen their CV and help them stand out when seeking work. While the most obvious route is to get some work experience, we also encourage them to enter and attend festivals, and apply for industry training.

“Not only do these events boost their CVs and provide an opportunity to put their new skills to practice, they provide important networking opportunities. Over the last few years, results have shown that the students that take this advice and run with it have been getting some excellent opportunities”

Journalism Course Co-ordinator, Lynda Bryans, and Curriculum Area Managers, Aidan Browne and Alan Serplus highlight the importance of collaboration with industry practitioners, stating that having students engaged with the industry through festivals and work placements also benefit employers. Aidan says, “Placements, internships and festivals allow employers to influence curriculum by liaising with and evaluating those they may choose to employ in the future.”

Alan remarks "Over the years we have supplied students with a range of work experience opportunities, and employer feedback has been excellent. We hope to continue developing the work experience aspect of the course, as it will not only enhance the course, but be of benefit to both students and prospective employers."

Lynda added “Due to the practical, hands-on nature of our college and our Creative Media courses, students have daily opportunities to engage in work-based learning lessons using the range of technical and production facilities at our e3 campus. This gives our learners work-ready skills so that employers can be confident they have the underpinning knowledge of the industry”  

An achievement to be proud of 

Tommy Scott and fellow course co-ordinator Alan McCracken are immensely proud of their students and delighted that the course is helping them achieve their goals. Tommy remarked that “These achievements are a reflection of the dedication of both our staff and the students, as well as the good reputation we have in local industry. We are privileged to work with students and colleagues that have a genuine passion for the craft.”

Alan added "I am happy for the students. We encourage them to find an audience for their work. Whilst doing well on the course is important, we want them to enhance their CVs by mixing with industry practitioners. It will only benefit them"