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Screen Suffolk offers exciting opportunities

At the end of half term week I had the privilege to attend the world premiere screening of a new film, writes Councillor David Ellesmere.

It wasn’t a major blockbuster. It didn’t star any well-known actors. You won’t see it at a cinema.

No, what was special about this film was that it was the product of the first British Film Institute Academy course held in Ipswich.


The “Beginners Guide to Film Making” course, run by Culture Works East, is designed to introduce young people to all aspects of film making.

They have to write a script by the end of the Monday, then film and edit it, leading to a screening at 6pm on the Friday.

Considering the short timescale involved and the fact that none of the young people had any experience of film making, what they produced was incredibly well accomplished.

The BFI has been running these academies for some time but, up to now, in the East they have only been held in Norfolk. So it has been a real coup to attract it to Ipswich.

Make no mistake, the career opportunities to work at all levels of the film industry are growing in Suffolk.

In the past week we have seen the granting of planning permission for a new film studio at Bentwaters and a group of film students from Suffolk New College acting as extras in a new film about the First World War.

This week sees the airing of the new series of the Detectorists, filmed mainly in Suffolk.

There are many benefits to the wider economy from filming. Actors and crew need to stay somewhere and be fed so hotels and catering companies benefit. If a film or show is popular then tourism often increases.

That’s why all councils in Suffolk are funding Screen Suffolk – a “one-stop” film service designed to attract new film making to the county.

It is already paying off. Screen Suffolk helped to bring filming of BBC’s A Child In Time to Shingle Street. The “Stoptober 2017” campaign was filmed entirely in Suffolk.

Ipswich and Suffolk are shaping up to be the next big stars of the silver screen!

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