Film Student Leonard Villamor accepted on to BAFTA mentorship Programme.
Recent BA (Hons) Film, TV & Theatre Production graduate Leonard Villamor has been accepted into the BAFTA Mentorship programme fresh from finishing his degree here at The Northern School of Art. We were interested to learn about the benefits of the programme and all of the enterprising ways Leonard is working to gain experience and make his way in to the industry after university.
Leonard is one of just 7 mentee’s accepted on to the programme which offers young creatives the opportunity to gain 6 months mentorship and professional support with an industry professional. The programme is a collaboration between LUX artists, BAFTA and BFI Film academy.
Read on to find out more!
You have been accepted on the Bafta Mentorship Programme tell us about it.
I came across the BAFTA Mentorship Programme during late January when I was worrying about what to do with myself after graduation. After finishing my dissertation, I took a step back reevaluating my possible predicted grades for the end of my graduation realizing I wasn’t confident in my overall grade for the end of the year. So I was stuck in a blind state of panic trying to make sense of my own future after The Northern School of Art.
Recklessly I spent a whole night searching and applying to all available possible opportunities to further learn, work, or study in film. Sending out emails, responding to job applications, drafting showreels all in one night without much thought or hope of ever getting a response back. I came across an old email newsletter I had received from the BFI weeks ago at the time talking about open applications for a Mentorship Programme in collaboration with LUX Artists, they had a scheduled zoom meeting for anyone who was interested in wanting to know more however at the time it was already too late for me to attend it, so I just applied to the opportunity blindly not expecting much out of it.
Months later it’s June and I had just said my goodbyes to my lecturers and friends, being ready and accepting of this just simply being the end to my filmmaking journey and flying back to Belfast to work in marketing research again. However, I had then received back an email from a representative of BAFTA informing that I had been accepted onto the BAFTA Mentorship Programme and had been hand selected to be a mentee for Nick Emerson (editor of Lady McBeth, Greta, and Emma).
What does the programme entail?
The mentorship programme is a 6 month long programme where selected early film entrants get to be guided, mentored, and advised directly from accredited professionals from specific creative departments of the industry such as Costume Design, Directing, Editing, Cinematography and many more. You specify the goals which you intend to achieve and work towards with your assigned mentor across the 10 months, and have scheduled zoom calls in between with the BAFTA representatives following up on your progress and working relationship with you and your mentor. So far it’s been pretty great hearing directly from people working within the industry giving feedback on my overall work and portfolio, and being given guidance in areas to improve in my skill and professional practice.
Let us know about any other projects you are working on!
Aside from the Mentorship Programme, I’m currently working with the BBC on their Content Production department for Children In Need, and currently in talks with Disney on being a sound trainee for a 10 month long production next year at Pinewood Studios. As of now I’m currently working freelance on small individual video commissions, and had just wrapped shooting a dark comedy short film called ‘The Day Job’ directed by George Dickson in Hartlepool, in collaboration with other great alumni film students such as Connor Lovett, Anna Bant and Oscar W. Fitchett! Outside of filmmaking I’m also volunteering at The Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast, assisting local upcoming bands in studios and connecting with other creatives and artist networks within Northern Ireland whilst also writing music.
Tell us about your experience studying BA (Hons) Film, TV & Theatre Production
My experience studying film at The Northern School of Art has been the most enriching years I’ve had so far. From lecturers such as Andrew Hutchinson, Alyson Agar, Lee Charnley and Jonathan Youdale, to the entire small network of students across the entire course, it has all been very integral in helping shape me who I am today. Prior to studying in the Film, TV, & Theatre Production course I was always dead set on pursuing to be a sound designer as a career, but throughout my experience on the course it had helped me discover a new passion in wanting to also venture into Editing. Early projects such as Me, Myself & I and Digital Production really helped encourage me in experimenting new practices outside of what I was already comfortable with, and understanding the value of working in a collaborative group environment.
What’s special about the northern school of art?
Coming to The Northern School of Art for me was the biggest risk I’ve ever taken since I had never visited Hartlepool and had only heard about it referenced by Ridley Scott. Especially with my family’s socio-economic background as Filipinos working in Northern Ireland, nobody in my family understood what my career aspirations were and the idea of flying abroad to another part of the UK which I don’t know of to study film was just the perfect recipe for a disaster. My first time ever visiting Hartlepool and The Northern School of Art campus was during freshers week, I came in blind knowing nothing about Hartlepool and very little about The Northern School of Art itself. From the very beginning I always struggled with the constant thought of feeling inadequate, out of place and lost being a part of the uni. However, the student community across the entire campus has really been a big help in welcoming and guiding me throughout my entire uni experience. I wouldn’t have had the lifelong friends I have now such as Maxfield Long and James Taylor if it weren’t for the wonderful collaborative space the uni creates, and former alumni students such as Svea Hartle have inspired me in my own creative development and practice as a filmmaker. Even the lecturers, I have nothing but respect for the time and patience they have in trying to bring out the best in us and the amount of support they have to give. For me, they have been nothing but graceful and kind in helping me find hope in myself to excel in the creative fields I had always dreamed to work in.
Any advice for prospective students?
I’d personally say to anyone to just take a chance at any opportunity you have an interest in. Whether that may be socially, creatively, or even careerwise. It’s always too easy getting caught stuck worrying about what the best direction or choice would be for you in whatever it may be you want to excel or want to pursue, and regardless you’re still going to be left either looking back wondering if it was right or wrong, if it could have been done any better or worse. We end up becoming our own worst critics. However, I believe the worst decision you can ever make to yourself is not trying. The Northern School of Art has been the best place for me to study freely and experiment and try things I myself would normally would have never thought of giving a chance in my own personal creative practice, and if it weren’t for the positive circles and support I had beside me throughout my entire journey I wouldn’t have pushed myself hard to see where my time, work, and relationships could take me.
You can keep up to date with Leonard on his instagram: @leo.villaaaaaaaa
If you are interested in studying film our degree course is established and offers great opportunities and support. Find out how you can apply here.