In early 2016 I was lucky enough to have a place on one of the BFI’s residential courses to study documentary for a week.
I applied very close to the deadline, mainly thinking I’d hear nothing back but it would be cool if it happened. Early December I received an email saying that I had been given a place and would I accept, after crying with happiness for a couple of minutes, sitting stunned on the sofa in my living room, I formed a reply thanking them for the opportunity and that I would love a place.
Late January the time had come. I travelled on the central line for what felt hours and reached Debden for our welcome weekend. This involved lots of ice breakers and meeting people. We were put into groups of about seven people, here we found what our topic would be and what we’d be making our documentary on, I was chosen as director, which to be perfectly honest stunned me, but I was ready for the challenge.
Over this weekend we watched documentaries and made notes on them.
The weekend drew to a close and I was back on the central line travelling home, this time with a few friends in tow.
Fast forwarding a couple of weeks it was february halfterm. the weather was cold and crisp, and I was making the journey back to Debden, this time in a little warmer in the car. We all arrived, ate dinner and then watched another fantastic documentary, and were lucky enough to have a Q&A with one of the producer.
Activities like that continued throughout the week, fitting around planning days and filming days for our documentaries.
The week was concluded by watching our documentaries at a cinema in London surrounded by our participants, families and friends.
Saying goodbye to everyone was hard, we’d become a family of some sorts, we ate together, messed about in the common room until the early hours of the morning, and for that to be over was hard, I’d do it again in a heart beat.
So if you’re thinking about signing up, DO IT!
The experience you get from this is amazing.
You have until the 6th of December 2016 to sign up for next years residential.
Find out more and sign up here.