To be from Birmingham is to love and champion where you're from in the least flashy way possible. It's a strange trait of ours as Brummies to be intensely proud of our city in the most lowkey way, like when Tom Cruise came to town to film the next Mission Impossible instalment was our reaction to shout about how as a city we're ready to compete on an international stage as a filming location? No, we dubbed him 'Two Tikkas Tom' after he went for a curry; the only unanimous source of civic pride - our curry houses.
Another example of how to quietly champion your city is to create opportunities there, employ professionals there and involve up-and-comers there.
About a year ago Joe Lycett's team reached out to us to recruit young filmmakers to work on his upcoming short film Ray which he has described as "a stupid story about a pisshead who discovers he has a completely shit and useless skill."
As opportunities were few and far between during the multiple lockdowns, this was understandably very exciting for us. And even better it wasn't just lip service, they were offering real opportunities not just trying to secure free labour in exchange for "experience." It's still regarded by those who worked on the production as one of their best experiences to date. "It was great working on Ray and really gave me a good start to get into the camera department. Ali Moore (DOP) gave me all the wisdom and encouragement throughout the shoot," says BYFN member, Yonatan Tiruneh. "Personally this was one of the best short film shoots I have had the pleasure of being on."
The benefits went both ways Lycett explains "An integral part of this project was using a mix of experienced crew alongside young people from Birmingham who are keen to get into the film industry. They brought an enthusiasm and energy to the shoot which made for something truly special and creatively fulfilling."
Lycett and his team were clearly mindful of creating a comfortable environment for our young filmmakers to get the most out of the experience as Rajab Mahmood tells us “Working under Joe Lycett and the incredible team was an amazing experience which had allowed me to actively learn new things in an encouraging and innovative environment. The experiences I went through is something to remember forever, as I’ve gained valuable contacts for life."
And contacts are one of the most valuable resources a filmmaker can have, including introducing yourself to groups like ours. "I had a great time working as a production runner and I’m so grateful the BYFN got me on board; it was one of the best sets I’ve worked on" says Red Wade.
If you are interested in involved young and emerging filmmaking talent in your next project, please reach out to us at email@example.com.