Grantham Journal Big Interview: Be a (film) star at Gravity Fields

Perfect Youth Theatre group run by Fiona Kimberley Pope, centre.
Perfect Youth Theatre group run by Fiona Kimberley Pope, centre.
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Children in Grantham will have the chance to star in their own movie at this year’s Gravity Fields festival, courtesy of a local youth theatre group and an up-and-coming filmmaker.

Perfect Youth Theatre and Tin Hat Productions are working together to create some exciting acting workshops for children in and around Grantham, which will also be filmed so that they can take home a DVD of their performances.

Callum Burn directing a film made by his company Tin Hat Productions.

Callum Burn directing a film made by his company Tin Hat Productions.

The Journal spoke to head of the theatre group Fiona Kimberley Pope and Callum Burn who set up Tin Hat Productions, to find out more.

What is the workshop?

Callum: The idea is that 20 kids aged between 8-18 get the opportunity to star in a short film based around ‘Giants of Science’, the theme of this year’s Gravity Fields. Over the course of a week they will get to audition, rehearse and perform scenes in front of a camera. We will have a professional cameraman from London come to film their work and they can all get a DVD of it afterwards.

Fiona: It’s great because acting helps to build children’s confidence, and they will all get to star in a film.

How did the joint project come about?

Callum: It was a few months ago that Perfect Youth Theatre approached us at Tin Hat about doing something like this. I used to go to the theatre group myself, and I know how useful it is as a director to have a background in acting.

What made you decide to go into filmmaking?

I started making films when I was about 5 or 6 years old, and later my degree included a module making a feature film at Ealing studios. Since then I have directed a number of short films, one of which was shortlisted in a film competition. I started off with comedy and gangster films, with the first feature film being a dark comedy called Playing Dead. I’ve now done quite a few films set during the First World War, which is where our name Tin Hat Productions and logo of a World War I soldier comes from. I’ve also just done a feature film called Our Shining Sword, with more information and clips of my films available to view on our website www.

Do your films have a particular style?

Not so much a style, but my films are very driven by character and the relationships between them. I’m mostly interested in the performances.

Working with children for this project, what do you think are the different challenges as director?

I think it’s the same as with adults in terms of getting those more used to acting on stage to act differently in front of a camera - making sure it’s not over the top.

Have you got any other workshops planned?

Fiona: Yes we’re actually doing another one at Perfect Youth Theatre also as part of Gravity Fields. We are creating a play for children about Isaac Newton, which will be told from the perspective of the apple!

l For more details on the workshops contact Fiona on 07801 354641. The project with Tin Hat Productions will be at St Mary’s Church Hall on North Parade, August 25-29.