Youth Advisory Council members on what makes the programme special

18 May 2020

5 mins
Rhys Ifans with YAC members
Rhys Ifans with YAC members

Our Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is a crucial part of Into Film, allowing young people to have their voices heard and influence key parts of our programme as well as access unique opportunities in the film industry. So, with applications now open for a new cohort of passionate young members, we wanted to hear from our current ones on all that they've gained from their experience.

It has been a busy year for all involved, with the council attending and participating in a number of exciting events including Q&As with Into Film Ambassadors Rhys Ifans and Lynwen Brennan and juries for the Scottish Youth Film Festival and the Cardiff Animation Festival. They've also provided guidance on topics as varied as our Get Into Film channel and online safety to the British Independent Film Awards.

We've asked a member from each of the 5 regional Councils (England South, England North & Midlands, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) to open up about how the programme has affected them personally, academically and in terms of their future ambitions as well as their advice to anyone thinking of applying. Check it all out below!

Do not be intimidated because everyone is in the exact same position as you are. It's really inspiring to be a part of something like this.

Youth Advisory Council member Sean (14)

How has your Youth Advisory Council (YAC) experience helped you personally and has it influenced or changed your future career ambitions?

Seren (15), Wales: The programme has made me realise what career path I'd love to pursue and that there are plenty of opportunities out there for me to achieve this goal. It has also been great to meet others with the same passion and a chance to discuss film topics, helping with my confidence.

Sean (14), Scotland: Getting to meet other kids as passionate about film as I am shows me that i'm not bonkers! It has helped make my confidence grow like for example, speaking in front of a large audience and doing tasks more efficiently. The experience has made me even more passionate about film and has made me even more determined to work in the film industry.

Saorla (16), Northern Ireland: I am interested in a career in journalism or documentary filmmaking. As part of the council, I found out about the ScreenWorks programme. One of the days we focused on broadcasting, which I found it particularly insightful as I got to learn about the industry in Northern Ireland and what it was like to work in a live studio. This experience made my career ambitions seem like a realistic option.

Sean loves it. As someone with ASD, it has given him a lot of confidence. He has discovered something he has a talent for, mixing his passion for films by writing reviews, speaking in public and group activity with other film buffs in a fun, encouraging environment.

Kenny Grant, father of Youth Advisory Council member Sean (14)

What advice would you give to other young people you would like to encourage to become a YAC member?

Sara (13), England South: I would tell a young person to try it even if they don't like films as much as other people do as they might still want to go for a career in film. I think it would be great for children who don't even have a interest in films to join because it is such a loving environment and because they could always change their minds.

Seren (15), Wales: Go for any opportunities you can get. It will give you the chance to meet people with the same interests as you, meet professionals in the industry and get a better idea of how important film is, not only as entertainment, but in general. It is a once in a life time experience. 

Hettie (10), England North & Midlands: I would recommend becoming a YAC member if you love films because you get to learn about jobs that you might not know about. We had a sound engineer who works on Coronation Street explain what he does. We also learnt about the British Independent Film Awards and BISH (British Independent Specialist Heritage) films which Into Film are trying to make more people aware of. I now know about other jobs in the film industry that aren't acting or directing.

Sean (14), Scotland: Do not be intimidated because everyone is in the exact same position as you are. It's really inspiring to be a part of something like this. This is great way to learn more about the film industry. 

Part of Youth Advisory Council Case Studies N&V 2020
Sara (13) - Youth Advisory Council Member

Do you think discussing, watching and making films through the YAC activities has helped you with your school work?

Sara (13), England South: I'm not a very confident person but the YAC has helped me to do things that I would usually reject. Discussing and talking about films, and seeing how they're made has helped me to focus on my work and always try to improve on it.

Sean (14), Scotland: For me, being able to write as many film reviews as I have has helped me develop skills which I use to write critical pieces of work for English, Modern Studies, RMPS and History.

Saorla (16), Northern Ireland: In school I focused more on the content rather than how effective or persuasive my writing is. In writing reviews, I found that it enhanced my literacy skills as I evaluated how I was writing. 

Hettie (10), England North & Midlands: Films are a good way of learning about different topics. I have especially enjoyed learning about women's roles in the past through films such as Hidden FiguresCalamity Jane, and Hairspray. I now look forward to films with a strong female lead character, such as Black Widow and Wonder Woman 1984.

Applications are now closed for 2020/21. We will be developing an online expression of interest form for 2020/21 that will be available from the Autumn - please keep an eye on the Youth Advisory Council Page for more information.

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