14 June 2021
One morning I woke up to receive an email from a lecturer of mine. Through this email I found out that students of Film Studies as well as the combined Media Studies + Film course were being offered the opportunity to receive a £35 film accreditation.
This accreditation included access to unreleased press and industry screenings to review (with the potential chance of being published in ‘TAKE ONE’ magazine) as well as many other insightful materials. The email was sent my way because I own The Ruskin Journal - a student-led magazine predominantly run online - and the sender was wondering whether I would be interested in publishing any reviews that weren’t taken by TAKE ONE there.
I expressed interest in this, as well as in the film accreditation opportunity too despite the fact that I was in neither of the two courses it was advertised for. Shortly after, I received a reply saying that I could do it. There was no way that I was going to let a chance to work as part of the British Film Institute’s 64th London Film Festival as a film reviewer slide!
Upon paying for my accreditation (which the university fully refunds!) I was sent regular emails, keeping me informed about the goings on of the festival. One of the first things that I was asked to do was pick some films from a list of unreleased titles which I would be up for watching and reviewing. Doing this was exciting; I was able to Google the titles to find out a bit of information about the screenings but, due to them not being released, there wasn’t much around about any of them. I ended up choosing five, numbered in order of preference, and from these an editor of TAKE ONE (Jim Ross) allocated me three. The three films that I was given were ‘Herself’, ‘After Love’ and ‘Striding Into The Wind’. The two former titles were films of the romance genre and the other one held a strong element of adventure and self-exploration.
Once my films were allocated, I had to keep an eye on the emails coming in which would detail the date and times of the film screenings. Out of the three films I had to watch, I was able to only watch two as one clashed with a lesson and there was little time left at the end of the festival to swap it out for something else. Writing reviews about unreleased films felt amazing. It’s hard to word how it feels to know that I was watching content that the rest of the world hasn’t had the chance to see yet! Seeing my write-ups getting published with TAKE ONE and working alongside Jim Ross, too, was a very valuable experience. Undergoing this film accreditation has helped me to further network as well as to begin stepping my foot further into the world of film-based writing.My advice to anybody out there who thinks a chance like this sounds intriguing, I would recommend talking to your head of department. There’s no harm in popping a message by to just ask what opportunities are currently circulating around university that would fit into your interests! Even if these chances aren’t advertised for your course (or faculty) there is never any harm in asking.