Hollywood and Hope: deadline approaches for students' films

The theme for the 2017 Award is 'A New[er] Hope'
The theme for the 2017 Award is 'A New[er] Hope'

There are just six weeks left for budding filmmakers to submit their entries for the Insight Student Filmmaker Award, at the end will be a six-week internship with a Jesuit production company in Hollywood for the winning entrant. Short films, draft scripts or treatments on the theme of ‘Hope’ are being sought from UK students – but their entries do need to be submitted before April.

The Student Filmmaker Award originated through the Insight Film Festival which was launched in 2007 as an initiative of religious TV producer John Forrest. Despite modest beginnings and a relatively short history, the Festival has achieved a remarkable success and global interest. For the past three years, the Jesuits in Britain have collaborated with the Festival through their work in the Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy, to encourage student filmmakers to portray faith in film in a confident and creative way, by offering an internship with Loyola Productions. Based in Los Angeles, Loyola Productions is a renowned creative media company that builds on the 450-year-old Jesuit tradition of effective engagement with the communication arts.

“We initiated this award with Insight because we felt that faith was worthy of more exploration in film,” explained Fr Tim Byron SJ, Head Chaplain at the Manchester Chaplaincy. “Our aim is to encourage more young film students of all faiths and none to consider faith as a fruitful theme and to overcome taboos which might surround the subject.”

This year’s theme for the Award is ‘A New[er] Hope’, which follows the previous themes of Truth and Mercy. Responding to the 2015 theme, ‘The Truth is out there. Have faith!’, the winner was former biology student and Law graduate Robyn Forsythe. She won the award with her treatment of Neverland, which follows 9-year-old Noah in Cornwall, who is terrified of rising sea levels and wakes up one day to find the whole world flooded.

A nurturing and supportive teamStudent Award-winner Lina Luciano

Last year’s theme coincided with the Jubilee Year of Mercy, and the Award was won by Lina Luciano, a distance BA student at Macquarie University (a public research university based in Sydney, Australia). Majoring in politics and minoring in film, she wanted to work in documentary filmmaking, focusing on human rights advocacy. Her film, Headline! Machiavelli, focussed on how the European refugee crisis is represented in the media. Once she started her internship with Loyola Productions in the USA, her film project ‘Youth without youth’ investigated the alarming rate of children being tried as adults for crimes or associations with crimes. “I'm very grateful to the Jesuits for funding the Insight prize,” said Lina during her internship in Hollywood. “I wish I could express to the team how much they’ve advanced me both personally and professionally in those six short weeks - I feel as if there’s a massive difference between the filmmaker I used to be and the filmmaker I am now. Loyola itself is a very caring production community - I couldn't have wished for a more nurturing and supportive team."

To enter the 2017 Student Filmmaker Award, based on the theme 'A New[er] Hope', students need to submit an online entry form together with either a two-page synopsis of a film, accompanied by a five-page sample of a script/script in progress or storyboard, or a short film relevant to the Award that is no longer than five minutes in length. The closing date for entries is 31 March 2017 and the prize for the winner will include flights to and accommodation in Los Angeles, a six-week internship at Loyola Productions’ ground-breaking studios and mentoring from their experienced production team and future film screening opportunities in the UK.

The Insight Student Filmmakers Award is open to students at a higher education institution in the UK (or who have graduated from one in the last year) who are either studying film or are passionate about making films or writing scripts. They need to be over 18 by 30 June 2017. For more details and the online application form, visit the Insight Film Festival website.