The Scottish Youth Film Foundation are our Filmmaking Champion

25 Jun 2024

Scottish Youth Film Foundation group shot.
Scottish Youth Film Foundation group shot.

Congratulations to staff at the Scottish Youth Film Foundation, who have been crowned Filmmaking Champion (sponsored by Lucasfilm Ltd.) at the 2024 Into Film Awards. Their award was presented to them by actor Dougray Scott.

The Scottish Youth Film Foundation (SYFF) is led by David Barras, Scott Mackay and Heather Bowry, who have decades of industry experience behind them. Their aim is to work with young people at youth facilities and schools all across Scotland.

Scottish Youth Film Foundation collecting their Filmmaking Champion award

Their nomination was submitted by Emily Ritchie, who has worked with SYFF for almost three years. On David, Scott and Heather, Emily said: "Living in the 21st century, they understand that media is our main source of information, entertainment and communication. They use this as the basis for the work they do, teaching young people cinema literacy - how to understand and engage with the world around them, meaning that even the young people not interested in becoming further engaged in film, can gain transferable skills and knowledge."

Film and moving image is a modern day literacy that every person should be able to understand and enjoy. SYFF exists to help make this goal a reality.

Scottish Youth Film Foundation

The Scottish Youth Film Foundation evolved from the Scottish Youth Film Festival, which has been running since 2015. For the last 10 years, SYFF has worked with thousands of young people, working towards their key aim of improving the lives of young Scots through the use of film. Their work often focuses on young people who may face barriers to entering the screen industries - whether that be due to geographical reasons, financial barriers, or other challenges.

"The importance of SYFF's work is their ability to create a safe space", explains Emily. "As a young person, the importance of having a place to grow, be creative, and do this without judgement cannot be undermined. What SYFF creates is an environment unlike school, where they have the ability to show young people that anything is possible, without any of the constraints of a classroom."

The work that David, Scott and Heather are doing is already changing the narrative that the film industry is just out of reach for some people - they are giving once in a lifetime opportunities to our country's up and coming filmmakers and allowing them all of this without any financial burden.

Emily Ritchie, on nominating Scottish Youth Film Foundation for Filmmaking Champion

This year, the charity will celebrate their 10th anniversary. In the last decade they have grown from a small Film Festival in West Lothian to a National Foundation, supporting young people and allowing them to take part in events such as COP26, Festival of Politics and the Glasgow Science Festival.

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