After sifting through more than four hundred films made as part of courses at Met Film School over the past eighteen months, the school’s director Jonny Persey settled on twelve works to showcase at BFI Southbank. Among them were graduation films from honours degrees in practical filmmaking, final films from eight week story-to-screen courses and clips from features that have been made as part of the courses.
Highlights of the event included Jose Yapur’s graduation film from his two-year BA (Hons) course, Toy Soldiers. With production values that seem to conflict with its film-school origin, it was a highly emotional, beautifully shot, monochrome study of a bullied schoolboy, seeking refuge in his imagination.
Gloria was a more simple film, made as part of an eight-week story-to-screen programme by James Ward. Like many of the best short films, it was a simple tale, leading to a neat twist that surprises and pleases the audiences.
Another film made as part of the same programme was Claire Gellard’s Locked, a sympathetic study of an elderly man who’s been trying to hide his OCD from his son. Having graduated from university with an English degree, with no experience of film-making, Claire was able to write, direct and even edit her debut film with just eight weeks of tuition.
Holding On was a short documentary about a couple who fell in love with mountaineering – and each other – until disease got in the way of an ambitious climb. Vanessa Gibbes uses similar techniques to Touching The Void, intercutting interviews with the protagonists with recreations of the climbing.
But the film which had, perhaps, the greatest emotional impact was Aashni Shah’s The Doll House, her graduation film from the one-year programme. Using a colour-palette that wouldn’t look out of place in an Almodovar movie, what begins as two children, apparently roll-playing an argument between two parents suddenly flips from being an imaginative and humorous satire on family life to an horrific drama.
Met Film School works closely with the production company that shares its name and premises, Met Film Production, whose most recent release, The Infidel was directed by one of the school’s tutors, Josh Appignanesi. As well as running the school, Jonny Persey is also a producer with Met Film Production, which is currently working on four feature-length documentaries. He says as much as possible, the company tries to use alumni from the film school to work its productions.
The school boasts that two thirds of its students go on to find work in a competitive industry within six months.