Amanda Nevill, CEO of British Film Institute, Delivers Film Masterclass at Pembroke


British film is flourishing. Ken Loach’s film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ was awarded the ‘Palme d’Or’ at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and British films, selected from a global field, have opened and closed the BFI Film Festival for the past two years. Special guest Amanda Nevill, CBE, the Chief Executive Officer of the British Film Institute (BFI), shared these triumphs with an audience of budding filmmakers and film aficionados at Pembroke on the evening of 31st October as part of the Pembroke Film Masterclass Series.

The series was founded in 2014 by Valentina Ippolito, a Pembroke DPhil candidate studying Italian and Romanian cinema of migration. The remit of the series is to bring industry professionals to Pembroke to discuss and celebrate film with members of the College, the community, and the University. 

In addition to talking about BFI-funded successes and sharing a sizzle reel of recent films, Nevill spoke about the trajectory of the BFI under her leadership. The BFI is ‘interested in the pioneering of the art of the moving image’ in the fullest sense, she said. To this end, the BFI are emphasising partnerships and funding applications from virtual reality and video games creators, as well as from directors and producers committed to working with the moving image in emerging media. 

Nevill also sketched the challenges facing British film going forward, including the pressing need for film professionals prepared for 'a marriage of the arts and technical ability'.

The BFI is committed to promoting diversity at all levels of the film industry and has implemented a diversity standard for all projects seeking BFI funding. In order to be successful, applicants must demonstrate diversity, not only in front of and behind the camera, but also in terms of the audiences addressed by the proposed work. Another goal has been the ‘devolution’ of film from the South East of England through supporting regional British film industries so that aspiring creators need not necessarily project a trip to London to achieve a career in film. ‘Our role is to incubate future talent’ said Nevill, referring to talent sourced from across the UK.

Following her talk, Nevill answered questions from student filmmakers and others in the audience who were keen to engage with her on the topic of professional and vocational pathways within the film industry. The event was followed by a reception, where speaker and audience had the opportunity to continue the lively and engaged discussion.

Article by William Badger, current Pembroke graduate scholar (DPhil English, 2012).