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BFI Sound Residency


Our BFI Alumni Madison was selected from hundreds of applications to go to the National Film and Television School this Easter for a Specialist Residency in Sound

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We were overwhelmed with applications for the BFI Film Academy delivered by the NFTS, so the 54 young people we selected really are the brightest and best.”

Each participant specialises in a particular craft, such as editing, cinematography or sound and, in groups of 11, to make a short film on industry standard equipment, under the tuition of top industry professionals which is then premiered at the BFI Southbank during a special graduation showcase on the final day.

The British Film Institute’s Film Academy Craft Skills residential is delivered by the world-renowned National Film and Television School (NFTS) as a two-week residential course for 54 young people running over the Easter holidays in 2019. 

The lucky 16-19 year-olds travelled from across England to meet up at the residential two-day session that included an entertaining masterclass with director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World)

Madison (18) popped in for a chat when she returned from her fortnight at the NFTS / BFI Sound residency absolutely buzzing. We caught up with her to ask her more about it.


So what was your overall impression?:

“IT WAS SO BRILLIANT – my group basically became my family. I learned a whole bunch of new skills, got incredible contacts, I wish I was still there! There was never a bad moment. I know now I want to work on films rather than tv, but I can see the benefits of learning to be quicker with certain set ups and to be honest, I’d be happy with anything!”

What’s the NFTS space like?

“There was absolutely loads of stuff there! So much sound kit and new tech – or I was coordinating lots like using 4 radio mics – and they showed us every little bit in this whole building. I was like, “WOW!” I also helped some on Production Design and I’ve never seen so many props in my life! There were 2 cinemas, a whole building just for editing. I already miss it – I loved it there.”

So what were your Favourite Bits?

“My group were the best! So much laughter – and filming was brilliant, even when loads went wrong we found a way to make it happen. For example, locations were cancelled last minute, so we had to find another really quick and the search for a frog was ridiculous! We had to find a plastic one and paint it after a debate about buying a real one, who might keep it afterwards etc. Thought that bit would be the death of us! Worth it all totally.”

What do you feel you learned the most?

“Ahh, so much! I learned just how important it is to make contacts and how to mix sound so much better now. It was really interesting to learn, though I definitely prefer to boom and record. Everyone’s planned so many films to get started on together, like there’s one going on down south, one in Ireland.. Can’t wait to see my group again!”

So what’s the next step for you?

“Well I have a Skype interview on Wed for a feature film job I’ve applied for, though I have to be very secretive – but I know it’s based in London. I heard about it from people on the course and it’s through Pinewood Studios. I applied a few days after finishing my residency and have just heard back so yeah – Exciting! I’ve been following my new contacts up including some from other groups we’ve now ‘adopted’ to ours. At the moment I’m finishing my engineering course here in Barrow, so I’ve also applied for Kendal College’s film production course after going for a visit and having a really good crack with the Sound Engineer there! I’m dead excited!”