BBC Films

Trailblazers 2009: interviews

Film Network met the EIFF & Skillset Trailblazers at the Edinburgh Film Festival 2009 and quizzed them about their partcipation in this exciting filmmaking scheme.

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Film Network met the EIFF & Skillset Trailblazers at the Edinburgh Film Festival 2009 and quizzed them about their partcipation in this exciting filmmaking scheme.Now in its third year, the EIFF & Skillset Trailblazers scheme aims to encourage and promote the work of key emerging talents identified through the various Skillset Screen Academies. Their work is screened during the festival and the Trailblazers are also invited to numerous meeetings and networking events, giving them a taste of how the UK film industry works at major festivals.

We caught up with most of them during the annual awards ceremony (where the surprise host was none other than Sir Sean Connery) and asked them about their careers so far and the significance of the Skillset scheme. See below for our video interviews and, underneath, a full list of this year's Trailblazers in all categories.

Erik Bostedt, Director

Erik Bostedt's Capturing Space is a documentary about Trellick Tower, the imposing tower block in West London. The short was selected for this year's Trailblazing Shorts selection.








Gerard Johnson, Director

Gerard Johnson created several shorts with regular collaborator Peter Ferdinando before one caught the attention of acclaimed TV writer Paul Abbott. With Abbott's helpful patronage Johnson managed to adapt a short idea into a feature project and the result is the psychological drama Tony, which screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival.




Momodou Musa Touray, Director

Momodou was a practising print journalist in Gambia before graduating from the prestigious Arts Institute at Bournemouth in June 2008. Sweet Mother is his second short and it recently attained a Special Mention Award at the RTS Student Awards.






Michelle Eastwood, Producer

Stuart Earl, Composer

One of the most uncategorisable films at EIFF 2009, By The Grace Of God mixes documentary, fiction and gonzo-style pranks to bizarre effect. Producer Michelle Eastwood has worked on shorts and commercials previously and hopes this medium-length film acts as a stepping stone to feature work. Stuart Earl is the first ever composer to be included in the Skillset Trailblazers scheme.



Stuart Hazeldine, Writer/Director/Producer

Stuart already has a profitable career writing and rewriting blockbuster sci-fi movies for major studios (The Day The Earth Stood Still), but his directorial debut saw him returning to the UK to make the tense, compact horror Exam.







Kerrie Hayes, Actor

Leigh Campbell, Writer

Kerrie and Leigh both worked on the BBC Films production, Kicks, a drama about two obsessive Liverpool FC fans whose adulation spirals out of control. They are joined in this interview by producer Andy Stebbing, director Lindy Heymann and cinematographer Eduard Grau, who was himself a Skillset Trailblazer back in 2006.




Lawrence Gough, Director

Lawrence directed the suburban horror Salvage, a big audience hit at Edinburgh. The BBC Films production is his debut feature folliwing a series of well-regarded horror shorts.








Robert Evans, Animator

Michael O'Sullivan, Animator

Rob and Michael, the writers, directors and animators on Crescendo, were both mature students at the Skillset accredited animation course at the University of Wales. Rob specialises in computer modelling and animation, while Michael favours more traditional 2D techniques.






Bryan Larkin, Actor/Writer

Bryan is something of a multi-tasker who has been credited as actor, writer, producer, editor, cinematographer, director and composer throughout his career. He wrote, starred in and co-produced the BAFTA Scotland winning film Running in Traffic.






Shehzad Azfal, Producer

Shehzad has trained as a screenwriter and directed documentaries before studying Screen Project Development. His latest work has been producing the drama Down The Rabbit Hole, which was selected to be a Trailblazing Short.








Click here for Shehzad Azfal's Film Network profile

The Skillset/EIFF Trailblazers 2009 in fullThe Trailblazers selected from the EIFF 2009 features programme are:

Emily Beecham (Actor, The Calling)

Leigh Campbell (Screenwriter, Kicks)

Lawrence Gough (Director, Salvage)

Kerrie Hayes (Actor, Kicks)

Stuart Hazeldine (Director/Screenwriter, Exam)

Katie Jarvis (Actor, Fish Tank)

Gerard Johnson (Director/Screenwriter, Tony)

Bryan Larkin (Actor/Screenwriter, Running In Traffic)

Justin Molotnikov (Director, Crying With Laughter)

Kyle Ward (Actor, A Boy Called Dad/Salvage)

The Trailblazers Selected From The Skillset Screen Academy Network Are:

The National Film & Television School, A Skillset Screen & Media Academy

Ralitza Petrova (Director, By The Grace Of God)

Michelle Eastwood (Producer, By The Grace Of God)

Stuart Earl (Composer, By The Grace Of God)

Vanessa Stockley (Director/Cinematographer, Emma & Ben)

Mikael Svartdahl (Editor, Emma & Ben)

Skillset Screen Academy Wales

Robert Evans (Animator, Crescendo)

Michael O'Sullivan (Animator, Crescendo)

Bournemouth Skillset Screen & Media Academy

David Bell (Writer/Director/Producer/Animator, Toy)

Momodou Musa Touray (Director, Sweet Mother)

Edinburgh Skillset Screen & Media Academy

Eva Pervolovici (Director, Down The Rabbit Hole)

Shezad Afzal (Producer, Down The Rabbit Hole)

Amy Rose (Director, Kirran And The Hatchmaker)

The London Film School, A Skillset Screen Academy

Erik Bostedt (Director, Capturing Space)

Skillset Screen Academy At London College Of Communication & Ealing Institute Of Media

Tatiana Korol (Director/Screenwriter, Akbulak)

Kasia Sobocinska (Cinematographer, Akbulak)

James Rocarols and Stephen Bailey | Published 08 July 09

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