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Free to Be: The ICBS Workshop... What a Week!

At the start of August, the I Can Be She film workshop began, with eight wonderful young women keen to start learning the skills they needed to make their own exciting films.

Our week kicked off with a trip to the London Film Museum, an absolute treat for any film buff and an amazing behind-the-scenes peek into the whole of film history. As massive Harry Potter fans, our group got stuck in having their photos taken with the blockbuster’s magical props, loved posing Jedi knights from Starwars and even sat in a pretend tube carriage used in Eastenders.

Filmmaking isn’t all fun and games, though, and the next day we got down to the THEORETICAL business of learning what it takes to make a film. Polly Gannaway, our resident film expert, taught everyone about film techniques and editing, from lighting and sound, to mise-en-scene and the rule of threes. Now everyone was really raring to get started.

And, on Wednesday, we did, jumping right in to make our own interviews. As well as being a lot of fun, these also taught us things about each other we'd never known before. We divided into three groups of filmmaker, interviewer and interviewee and rotated. Each group created their own studio employing the basic techniques that they had learnt and asked questions based around Maslaha’s “I Can Be She” interviews. It was great to see people expand on our ideas and really get creative!

On Thursday it was time to get even further out of our comfort zone by applying those interview techniques to the big wide world.  We started off with an introduction to storyboarding and filming terms, learning about high and low angle shots, and the different impressions given from POV shots and close ups. Then, everyone got into groups and came up with their own idea for an original and interesting film...

The Professionals chose the theme of holidays.

The A team chose religion and media.

Sabs and Tabs chose Muslim women and religion.

After a morning of carefully planning our interview questions and storyboard, we hit the streets of Leytonstone to ask the members of the public for interviews and filmed them.

This was an interesting social experiment in itself as we discovered that few people actually like speaking on camera! The girls had to quickly learn the importance of perseverance, and how to graciously accept rejection. They had to work around problems they encountered like too much background noise or shadow, then adapt accordingly.

By the end of an exhausting but extremely worthwhile and productive afternoon, every group had at least four interviews and various landscapes or skits on film.

All in all, we're so proud of everyone for how they reacted and dealt with situations, and their footage looks amazing.

The final day was spent at the British Film Institute on Southbank where a female director told us about her career. We watched a range of short films including “Sundial”, in which Canary Wharf was the protagonist and an MC Escher inspired film that everyone really liked.

Last but most certainly not least, we headed back to the youth centre to be greeted by 'Harry Potter man' Nick Rampling. Nick's a modeller for post-production company DNeg, and talked to us about motion capture, green screens and what it's like to work on one of the biggest films in cinema history, Harry Potter! A thoroughly insightful talk, everyone asked him questions and even got his autograph at the end!

Thank you girls for a brilliant week! For being creative, enthusiastic, inquisitive and for making some fantastic films which we are editing now and will be showing at the Free To Be exhibition in October.

Thank you for showing how strong, independent, intelligent, artistic women can achieve when we work together and use our creative energy. I hope everyone will continue to create and inspire… We Can Be She!!

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