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UTC students premiere films, shows, and design work at Creative Media Showcase

Students from seven UTCs across England premiered their year’s work at the UTC Creative Media Showcase at the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield last week.

Doncaster UTC, Elstree Screen Arts Academy, Global Academy, UTC Media City, London Design and Engineering UTC, Mulberry UTC, and UTC Sheffield City Centre all took part in the showcase on Wednesday 26 June.

Students from each UTC presented showreels of their work, which included a broad variety of different mediums: film, TV, design work, games design, drama, comedy, action and so on.

This is the third UTC Creative Media Showcase, which has been run by Baker Dearing in collaboration with the BFI (British Film Institute) since 2022. The two previous events were held at the BFI’s Southbank cinema, but this year, the event moved to the Showroom Workstation in Sheffield’s city centre.

BAFTA winner tells students ‘do not be closed to opportunities’

Students gathered in one of the Showroom’s theatres to present their own showreels and watch those from other UTCs.

The event was compèred by BBC Radio 1 DJ James Cusack, with a keynote speech from Sheffield-born triple BAFTA winning producer Diarmid Scrimshaw, who passed one of his BAFTAs – for the 2011 film Tyrannosaur – around the audience.

Diarmid Scrimshaw’s BAFTA

He told the students to “follow your passion, but do not be closed to new opportunities,” and also spoke about the impact that artificial intelligence will have.

“AI is going to transform this sector,” and the current jobs and structures will not exist alongside AI, he argued.

“But story-making is at the heart of the industry,” he continued, backing up that statement with news that he is currently co-writing two feature films.

Following Diarmid’s thought-provoking speech, the students then watched the showreels that they and their peers from other UTCs had produced.

Students learn how UK feeds into world-wide creative enterprises

Before the students had the chance to showcase their work, they took part in career workshops that were run by leading creative professionals.

Filmmaker Richard Knight, who has worked on stand-out British films including This Is England and Four Lions, told the students how England’s regions have now overtaken the once dominant London as hubs of media production work.

A speaker at a podium speaking to an audience in a classroom setting. A projector is displaying a slide titled 'Projects for young people at Showroom Cinema' behind the speaker.
Nora Murphy from the BFI addresses the UTC Creative Media Showcase.

Yorkshire, for instance, has become a major hub for film and TV making. For example, Hull has earned the moniker “Hullywood” after being used in multi-million pound productions like Netflix’s The Crown.

Richard told students it is “pretty cool” to be working in the UK’s creative sector right now and that they should “seize everything” and “do anything” to further their career.

Nora Murphy from the BFI Film Academy then spoke to the students about the various opportunities on offer to young people.

The courses on offer, Murphy said, help young people “take the first step” into the careers that Knight said were becoming available across the UK.

She explained that the BFI Film Academy’s offer includes a programming residential course, where young people can learn about the business of choosing which films appear in a cinema like the Showroom Workstation.

The final career workshop was led by filmmaker and UTC Sheffield City Centre alumni Damian Palli, who spoke to students about getting into the industry after having taken his A-levels at the UTC before progressing onto a BA in in film and then “half a Master’s.”

A person stands at a podium giving a presentation titled "My First Industry Job" to an audience in a conference room, with a projector screen displaying slides behind them.
Damian Palli at the UTC Creative Media Showcase

Palli already has a varied workload, having spent time earlier that week filming falcons in Rotherham. He has also worked on corporate projects as a producer, which involves “managing” a production and “problem solving all the time”.

He told students how they needed to do “whatever they can to get a project made,” after he put time and a lot of his own money into making his first “proper” film: François.

“Impressive” showreels influenced by industry exposure

Following the showreels, the event was closed by Simon Connell, CEO of Baker Dearing Educational Trust, who thanked the industry speakers and UTC Sheffield City Centre, which helped arrange the event.

He also praised the “impressive student work that we have seen today,” which had been “informed and influenced by the exposure to industry standard teaching, equipment, and insights that a UTC education offers”.