BAFTA mentoring and masterclasses – top tips for Film Academy graduates

Industry experts reveal how they started their careers in filmmaking and give advice on how you can follow in their footsteps.

BAFTA has teamed up with BFI Film Academy to deliver career development and bespoke industry support to Film Academy participants.

BAFTA’s Learning Team offers opportunities for you to learn from award-winners and nominees, helping you to take that all important next step in your career.

Previous BAFTA supporters of the Film Academy programme include:  Producer Chris Chibnal (Doctor Who, Broadchurch), Production Designer Gemma Jackson (Game of Thrones) and Head of Recording Jemma Riley-Tolch (Dumbo, Bohemian Rhapsody).

Throughout the Film Academy programme there will be opportunities to access support from BAFTA’s unrivalled industry contacts. Keep an eye on the newsletter for more details.

For more information about BAFTA’s work for young people, visit

Applications now open for BAFTA mentoring programme

Apply by 21 February to take part in an exciting mentoring programme with industry professionals in partnership with BAFTA.

If you are keen to make your next move in your film career and have previously taken part in a BFI Film Academy course since September 2017, you are eligible to apply.

Successful applicants will receive one to one mentoring from an industry professional. In addition, there will be a special mentoring induction session with other mentees and access to a day of talks at our career surgeries taking place in London or Newcastle.

To apply you must be 18 or over by the application deadline Friday 21 February 2020, 5pm. If you have any questions around eligibility or questions about the application form please contact

How to apply

  1. Visit
  2. Select ‘Register’, and register a new account
  3. Once you have registered, go to the ‘Create Application’ tab
  4. Find ‘BAFTA Mentoring — BFI Film Academy Alumni Programme’
  5. Select ‘Create a new application’ and this will take you to the application form
  6. The deadline to apply is Friday 21 February, 17:00

Asif Kapadia on directing for documentary

Asif Kapadia, a multi-award winning director, shared his insights on documentary filmmaking and his experience directing some of the most successful feature docs in the last 10 years.

Starting his career as a fiction director in 2001; Kapadia’s first feature, The Warrior, garnered him three BAFTA nominations of which he won two. He soon made the shift to directing feature documentaries and due to the success of his biographical subjects Senna and Amy, he has since become one of the most acclaimed documentary filmmakers.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Philip Ilson on short film festival strategy

With a career of over 20 years working in short film programming, Philip Ilson has experience working at a number of celebrated festivals, including the BFI London Film Festival and Cork Film Festival in Ireland. In 2004 he co-founded the London Short Film Festival (LSFF), a premier destination for showcasing cutting edge UK independent film, which is renowned for its innovative cross-arts programming and has screened a number of BAFTA nominated short films, such as A Drowning Man and Aamir.

Philip shared his expertise on festival strategy, how to get your short film noticed and all the key steps to navigating the industry once your work is out there.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Amanda Tabak on casting your short film

Amanda Tabak has received Best Casting awards from the Casting Director’s Association and British Arrows. She was Casting Director for the BAFTA nominated short Slap and London Film Festival nominated short Candy Floss. Amanda’s work has earned her a reputation for developing diverse new talent and working on gritty urban drama. Her other work includes acclaimed films such as Kidulthood and Honeytrap.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Vanessa Whyte — Shooting Your Short

Vanessa shot the 2016 BAFTA award-winning short film ‘Operator’ and a number of other short films, including Tom Green’s ‘Brixton 85’. Camera department drama credits include feature films ‘Get Santa’ and ‘Dad’s Army‘’, with TV credits on Sky Atlantic’s ‘Fortitude’, E4’s ‘Youngers’ and most recently ITV’s ‘Broadchurch’.

Vanessa spoke to us about how she got her start in the industry and offered up pearls of wisdom on how to make the most of the camera/DOP in your short.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Kit Jennings — Editing Your Short

Kit Jennings is an editor and co-founder of HAUS pictures, whose work includes BFI London Film Festival nominated short ‘Candy Floss’ London Independent film festival short ‘Smog’ as well as numerous other short form projects. Kit has also recently been selected to be part of this 2017’s BAFTA Crew cohort.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Jerry Bland — Designing Your Short

Jerry Bland’s body of work includes production design for the BAFTA nominated short ‘The Karman Line’, as well as ‘Oh be Joyful‘’ and ‘Two Missing’. Her other film and TV art department credits include BAFTA-winning ‘Lilting’, ‘Eddie the Eagle’ and hit show ‘The Night Manager’. Jerry has worked extensively in the art department on a range of projects; from sourcing and making props to full creative design, and offered up her knowledge and expertise on designing your short film, especially when working with small budgets.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Scott O’Donnell — Funding and Distributing Your Short Film

With a career spanning over 10 years, Scott O’Donnell has produced a succession of distinguished shorts, including Home, which premiered at SXSW before going on to win a host of awards including the BAFTA for best short film. Scott’s other work includes ‘Mother’ which premiered at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival and Aneil Karia’s ‘Beat’ starring Ben Whishaw, which was screened at numerous festival worldwide and picked up the New Talent award at Encounters Film Festival.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Charlie Covell on writing

Writer, actress and BAFTA Breakthrough Brit Charlie Covell, shares how she made the jump from being in front of the camera, to being behind the words. An actor for 10 years and a writer for three, Covell wrote two episodes for Russell T Davies’ series Banana, which aired on E4 last year.

She has since gone on to write her first feature screenplay Burn Burn Burn, which was included in the London Film Festival programme for 2015.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Rupert Lloyd on producing your first feature

Rupert Lloyd discusses the craft of making and producing your first Feature. Rupert Lloyd is a BAFTA winning producer, who started his career as a production assistant working on a number of projects including, The Hurt Locker and Smallpox. In 2014, Lloyd produced his first feature film, Theeb, for which he won Outstanding Debut at this year’s BAFTA Film Awards. Theeb was also BAFTA and Oscar nominated in the Best Foreign Language category.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Emma Lazenby on Animation

Emma Lazenby shares her knowledge of working with Animation. Emma Lazenby is an award-winning animator, designer and director, with over 17 years of experience in the animation industry. Her animated short film Mother of Many won a BAFTA in 2010 and she has since worked on Charlie and Lola and Pedro and Frankensheep.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Sarah Gavron on directing

Filmmaker Sarah Gavron discusses the directors who inspired her at the start of her career, how she wishes she had worked as a runner alongside her film school education to increase her experience and the importance of finding her own voice as a director. She offers advice to other women who wish to work as directors, and quotes advice from filmmaker Stephen Frears, her tutor at film school.

Sarah was nominated for a BAFTA for her feature film debut, Brick Lane (2007), and directed Suffragette (2015) starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep, which opens the 2015 BFI London Film Festival.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Stephen Haren on editing

Editor Stephen Haren talks about how he began his career and the importance of finding a job as a runner and reflects on the differences between editing for film and for television. He also reveals the most useful editing software to learn, and why it’s tricky to define the work of an editor.

Stephen has edited many films and TV productions, including Blackwood (2014), Northern Soul (2014) and episodes of Misfits (2009-13). He has also worked on major feature films such as The Last King of Scotland (2006) and Spike Island (2012).

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Tim Field on VFX

VFX producer Tim Field talks about how he started his career in visual effects, where the money from a film’s VFX budget goes, and whether he believes that advances in technology have increased or restricted the opportunity for people working in the VFX industry to be creative.

Tim Field has worked on blockbusters since the start of his career, from being a camera operator on Supergirl (1984) and Labyrinth (1986) to producing VFX for Batman Begins (2005), Iron Man 2 (2010), Les Misérables (2012) and Under the Skin (2013).

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Taina Galis on cinematography

Cinematographer Taina Galis discusses her move from film school into working in shorts and features, emphasises the importance of a strong technical knowledge for anyone wanting to work in cinematography and reveals which cameras she prefers to work with. She offers advice on how to progress from being an assistant camera operator to being a director of photography, and explains why filmmakers should seize the opportunity to work with film stock as well as with digital cameras.

Taina has worked on over 20 features and short films, including Break My Fall (2011), A Wedding Most Strange (2011) and several films by Andrea Luka Zimmerman.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Andy Kennedy on sound design

BAFTA-winning sound designer and sound effects editor Andy Kennedy talks about his early work as a runner and the importance of buying a sound machine to build a library of effects, and explains the various roles of people who work in the sound department on films.

Andy has worked as a sound designer on major high-end TV series such as Game of Thrones (2011-) and Generation Kill (2008), and as sound effect editor on blockbusters including Batman Begins (2005), Alice in Wonderland (2010) and several films in the Harry Potter franchise.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Iain B. MacDonald on directing for film and television

TV veteran Iain B. MacDonald reveals how he first got into directing, his methods when preparing a scene, and how to source a cast and crew. He also describes the challenges of finding funding for a short film, and how he approaches the difficulties in working with child actors.

Iain has directed many short films and TV series, including medical soap Doctors (2000-), sitcom Episodes (2011), starring Matt LeBlanc, and bomb disposal comedy drama Bluestone 42 (2013-).

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Baldwin Li on producing and marketing a short film

Oscar-nominated producer Baldwin Li talks about how he pitched short film The Voorman Problem (2012), how he managed to secure major actors in the main roles and how the film was marketed.

The Voorman Problem is about a man in prison (Tom Hollander) who claims he is a god, and the doctor (Martin Freeman) who is brought in to analyse him. It was nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA. Baldwin has also prodcued the short film Full Time (2013) and the just-announced portrait of the singer Morrissey.

Interviewer: Fred Rowson

Daniel Fajemisin-Duncan and Marlon Smith on writing for film and television

Daniel Fajemisin-Duncan and Marlon Smith talk about what made them want to become screenwriters, how they develop their ideas on the page and their tips to budding filmmakers who want to explore a career writing for the films and TV. They also explain what a ’vomit draft’ means.

Daniel and Marlon won the breakthrough talent BAFTA for Run (2013), their gritty four-part drama series about four troubled individuals living in London, starring Olivia Colman.

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Kristina Hetherington on editing

BAFTA-winning editor Kristina Hetherington describes the importance of team work in her career, explains whether or not she feels the industry is male-dominated, and offers advice to filmmakers seeking a job in editing, such as whether courses are useful and where the best opportunities lie.

Kristina has edited dozens of major films and TV productions, including Tipping the Velvet (2002), The Ruby in the Smoke (2006), Mo (2010) and Le Week-End (2013). She was nominated for another BAFTA for Birdsong (2012).

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

Christopher Ross on cinematography

BAFTA-nominated cinematographer Christopher Ross discusses his career, explaining how he first entered the film industry and his first job as a director of photographer. He talks about the peers he admires, and reveals why he first wanted to work as a cinematographer.

Christopher has worked on a wide range of films and television shows, including London to Brighton (2006), Misfits (2009-13), Spike Island (2012) and Monsters Dark Continent (2014).

Interviewer: Pelumi Akindude

  • BFI Film Academy

    BFI Film Academy

    The BFI Film Academy is expanding. If you’re 16-25 and interested in film, or wanting to explore a career in film, we have a range of opportunities...

Read more

  • BFI Film Academy UK Short courses

    BFI Film Academy UK Short courses

    Introductory hands-on filmmaking courses to build your knowledge and skills and show you the different pathways into the industry.

Read more

  • BFI Film Academy Specialist courses

    BFI Film Academy Specialist courses

    Focused courses run during school holidays for between one to two weeks, allowing you to learn different specialisms and crafts including animation...

Read more

Read more

Back to the top

See something different

Subscribe now for exclusive offers and the best of cinema.