Young filmmaker Alfie (age 15) has attended Sparks Film School in Balham for the last 5 years.
Alfie is a member of Studio 5, part of Sparks’ programme of filmmaking classes, and has also attended several filmmaking holiday courses. In September, Alfie won an award as Crew Member of the Year 2022, in recognition of his skills development, creative contributions and leadership.
Find out more about Alfie’s time as a young filmmaker and as a Sparks film school student.
When did you first join Sparks Film School?
I joined Sparks film school a few years ago at a half term event. It was a big group of us in my first session. We were all making this film together and it was really fun, as it was my first time experiencing the whole process and learning how to properly make a film. I was definitely a little bit nervous, but it was also very exciting as it was a great new experience.
Back when I first joined, film was almost a mystical concept. It was really interesting to me that people could create these crazy worlds and special effects, and I wanted to learn to do that myself. Before I started at Sparks film school, I was already a young filmmaker. I had already made a couple of projects and films with some of my friends. I wanted to take this passion and interest for film and movie making, and develop it and learn some new skills.
How has your filmmaking changed since you started?
I have become a lot more streamlined with the filmmaking process through my time with Sparks. I feel I know how to do everything better and in much more detail, and I can do it all to a much higher standard than before. I definitely feel like I have improved as a young filmmaker. For example, a few years ago, I would need a sheet to know what to say and how to run the set as a 1st AD, whereas now I can just do it off the top of my head without thinking!
Tell us about your favourite film production?
My favourite film production that I’ve made was quite a recent one actually. It was called ‘Chair Farm’. For this film, we really wanted to see what we could do with objects, rather than actors. This made us really have to think outside the box. So instead of actors in our film, we took inspiration from films like ‘Toy Story’, and we had objects that moved around and became the characters. It was a really creative process and very fun to make. It really pushed our ability to take the ordinary and use camera techniques and our filmmaking skills to make it come to life on screen.
I remember the first film I made with Sparks was called ‘Case 68’. The idea for the film was that there are ghosts haunting a school and causing students to go missing. This was a very different kind of film to ‘Chair Farm’. I have made mockumentaries all the way to ghost stories… we have covered lots of different genres during my time with Sparks film school.
What advice would you give to another young filmmaker?
If I was to give advice to another young filmmaker who might just be starting out, or who might be thinking about starting Sparks film school, I would say don’t put any stress on yourself to create really big ambitious projects straight away. Taking part at Sparks is all about being creative and having fun, so at first create an idea you can all achieve within the time, and you can always expand it later on. Sparks is all about teamwork and creativity.”
Winning the Crew Member of the Year Award
In September, Alfie was awarded the Balham film school’s Crew Member of the Year 2022 award. He was presented with a certificate in front of an audience of young filmmakers, family members and friends at the Clapham Picturehouse in an awards ceremony that followed a premiere presentation of recent productions made by the Sparks Balham film school students.
In recognition of his achievements, Jess Mason, Programme Manager at Sparks Film School Balham, says, “Alfie is an exceptional young filmmaker. He is funny and creative he is friendly to everyone he meets and always welcoming to new members joining the Studio 5 crew. It’s been really wonderful watching him progress to Studio 5, he has become an excellent problem solver, who clearly enjoys the practical aspects and challenges of executing the groups vision. He is also an absolutely brilliant First AD [Assistant Director, a member of the production crew] and is so good at keep the group in time and on task while still having fun and making everyone laugh.”
The award is one of the highest accolades given out to students. It takes into account achievements in all areas of film production, e.g. directing, camera, editing, etc, as well the contributions made by a crew member to their studio and to their productions as a whole. It is awarded for effort, ambitions, accomplishment, leadership and effective collaboration and distinguishes a filmmaker as having a broad range of talents, as well as being a highly valuable crew member.
Sparks Film School Courses:
Alfie is a young filmmaker in Studio 5, part of our ongoing filmmaking classes that run year round. Taking part helps to develop a wide range of skills and knowledge in filmmaking, as well as helping to boost confidence, creativity and soft skills too.
There are filmmaking courses available to ages 5-18, each in age-tiered studios:
Studio 1 – Ages 5-7 (School Years 1-2)
Studio 2 – Ages 7-9 (School Years 3-4)
Studio 3 – Ages 9-11 (School Years 5-6)
Studio 4 – Ages 11-14 (School Years 7-9)
Studio 5 – Ages 14-18 (School Years 10-13)