In summer 2022, the BFI Film Academy Venue Education Fund programme at Nerve Centre delivered its 2nd annual Script Development Lab. This week-long Industry-led writersroom supports twenty young filmmakers from across Northern Ireland in developing a story concept to pitch for further development.
BFI Film Academy Labs helps 16–25 year olds break into the screen industries. These monthly practical sessions are led by industry professionals, focusing on the specifics of working in film and television, and developing skills for young people to become the best screen creatives possible. Labs is programmed across three strands: Business of Film, Career Ladder and Storytelling.
The Lab Writersroom featured masterclasses from some of the leading names in the screen industries including Salisbury Poisonings screenwriters Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn, Hope Street’s Christine Murphy, BBC Writersroom, Hat Trick Productions, NI Screen and more.
Under the guidance of screenwriters Peter E Davidson, Catherine McGrotty, Karis Kelly and Darren Gibson, the team created four original short film scripts. The mentors on the course were really impressed by the quality of the scripts and after a period of deliberation the team selected the final scripts to be brought forward for further development.
The script Hijack Hijinks, created by Mathew McCaughey, Jack Magwood, Bryony Moore, Zoe Carlin and Leda Hasson, has been selected for the Production Bursary. The script will go into production in spring with seed funding provided by the BFI Film Academy Plus programme supported by National Lottery.
Calling Gloria, by Shane Marshall, Mathew McNally, Carley Magee and Cailtin McCaul, has received a Funding Development Bursary. The team will receive mentoring in fundraising and pitching to support their skills development towards the larger support necessary for their production.
Betty & Margaret by Jess Speers, Kate Brown, Oisin Kelly, Shea O’Hagan and Danny Quinn as well as Back To Basics by Eva Smyth, Michael McConway, Niamh McLaughlin, Paddy Zoe and Scott Marshall will attend a dedicated Script Editing Lab to support their scripts to the next phase.
Bursary award winners from the 2022 programme also premiered their short films as part of Foyle Film Festival in November 2022.
Bryony Moore, co-writer of Hijack Hijinks spoke of her experience of the course. “The course was phenomenal in teaching me the skills I need to develop scripts and to pitch them. I’m so excited for my group’s script to be made and I’m so proud of all the scripts produced. I would absolutely recommend this course; it’s run by such an encouraging team and is filled with amazing people who are all so passionate.”
This was a sentiment also echoed by her co-writer Leda Hasson who explained, "It's been great getting to do the screenwriting lab, learning from and meeting with industry professionals and getting their feedback. And watching as a script you worked on gets put into production is such a once in a lifetime opportunity!"
Learn more about the BFI Film Academy offer at Nerve Centre.
BFI Film Academy Venue Education Fund programme is delivered in Northern Ireland by the Nerve Centre in partnership with Queens Film Theatre, Film Hub NI, kindly supported by the National Lottery.