BFI and BBC Blast honor young filmmakers

Five fledging filmmakers have been given the chance to further their careers by winning a bursary place which gives them unique access to the film and TV industry, it was announced at the Future Film Festival last weekend.

The BBC Blast bursary winners were showcased at a packed ceremony at the BFI Southbank on Friday night, hosted by BBC Radio 1 film buff James King and singer Jenna G.

Victoria Ijeh-Okusanya (18), Ethan T. Race (17) and Jasmine Blackborow (18), all from London, Rob Wallace (19), from Kent, and David Poole (19), from Birmingham, all submitted films to the BBC Blast bursary competition last summer and were picked from more than 150 other hopefuls.

They start their bursaries in March – across comedy, drama, documentary, animation and music genres.

Victoria’s winning film was an insightful documentary about the prevalence of sickle-cell anaemia in the Afro-Caribbean population; Ethan’s piece was a chilling black and white film exploring evil, obsession and mental conflict; Jasmine’s colourful music film brought to life the track Takin’ Over by little-known Latin artist Ralph Robles; Rob Wallace’s successful entry was a haunting animation about the beauty of life; and David Poole’s short comedy looked at the lengths to which people will go for some “me time”.

The Future Film Festival held at BFI Southbank this weekend gave young filmmakers and movie fans between the ages of 13-25, the chance to be inspired by industry professionals in a series of lively workshops and Q&As.

Filmmakers including EastEnders executive producer Diederick Santer, director Asif Kapadia (The Warrior, The Return) and the new BAFTA rising star, Noel Clarke (Doctor Who, Kidulthood) were swamped with aspiring filmmakers quizzing them on their craft – with well over 1,000 young people attending the festival over the weekend.

Other highlights included an all-day Bollywood filming extravaganza and an opportunity to film members of the National Youth Theatre using cutting edge methods in a performance of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Also attending the event were students studying the new Diploma in Creative and Media. Work-related learning is a key part of this course and young people studying the qualification get the opportunity to learn from and be mentored by professionals working in the creative and media industries.

BBC Blast is a powerful youth creativity project that inspires 13-19 year olds to bring their creative ideas to life. It brings together online, television and radio with a huge events presence to lead to a major increase in young people’s creative ideas, confidence and skills across the UK.

Find out more about BBC Blast at