Meet Zak, 15: Sparks Film School Student and Aspiring Cinematographer

Young filmmaker Zak (age 15) is a film school student at Sparks Film School in Highgate, where he is an integral part of the Studio 5 film crew.

Recently, Zak was part of the film crew who made How Do You Feel?, a short film that has entered into several film festivals and has won Into Film’s Film of the Month Award.

Find out more about Zak’s time as a young filmmaker and as a Sparks film school student. 

Zak with other Studio 5 students from Sparks Film School accepting an award at a screening held at the Crouch End Picturehouse.
Zak with other Studio 5 film school students from Sparks Film School accepting an award at a screening held at the Crouch End Picturehouse, North London in September 2022.

Can you tell us about when you first started as a film school student with Sparks Film School?

The first week I was there I had no idea what to expect. However it was really relaxed, and immediately everyone got along with each other as we all had the same interests. It felt easy to make friends and for everyone to get on with the movie-making we all loved!

What interested you about film when you joined Sparks?

By that point I was already really interested in film and knew it was what I wanted to go into for a career. I wanted to practice and develop. I didn’t know many people around me who were interested in film, and Sparks was a chance for a creative outlet. Before I started I had made some comedic animations by myself, but nothing with a crew or proper camera. I don’t think the film set experience and environment Sparks Film School provides can be replicated anywhere else! 

How would you say your filmmaking has developed since joining Sparks as a film school student?

I would say I have developed immensely! I educated myself on the theory behind film and watched a lot of films before I started, but nothing can come close to being on a film set like with Sparks! I found when I started that I learnt very quickly about the technical side, for example everything to do with cameras and techniques behind them on film. I also picked up other skills such as managing a set and organising shoots, which is something we forget to think about when we think of the glamour of filmmaking. I learnt lots of new skills very quickly.

How Do You Feel? was made during the summer 2022 by Zak and other Studio 5 film school students. It has entered into several film festivals and recently won Into Film’s Film of the Month Award.

What has been your favourite production you have worked on with Sparks?

It’s hard to say as I have quite a few, but it would be the film we made just before lockdown. We had a really large crew, and lots of work went into it such as a full storyboarding process. It felt really professional and like I was in the industry. We were all really proud of the concept. 

Playtime, a film made by Studio 5 film school students in 2020-2021

You have mentioned you are interested in going into the filmmaking industry. Do you think Sparks has helped you prepare for this as a potential career?

Definitely. I think you can probably learn a lot about film from other sources like the internet, but nothing can come close to actually practising it and testing out theories. Organisations and outlets like Sparks Film School are really hard to find, especially when you are younger. However now I feel like I have an idea of what to expect and I can enter the industry, and Sparks has really prepared me for the next step.

What piece of advice would you have for a new member of Sparks?

I would say have fun! Soak in as much knowledge as you can and don’t feel shy to put any ideas forward, or suggest ideas on the fly. Be prepared to listen to others and to work together as a crew as it’s really beneficial in creating the best film set environment and for creating the best film! 

If you’d like to find out more about Zak’s filmmaking, Studio 5, or other filmmaking classes at Sparks Film School Highgate, then get in touch! If you’re interested in becoming a Sparks Film School student, you can register here.

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