Zak Cameron on how the Into Film Awards benefited him

21 Feb 2024 in Into Film Awards

5 mins
Zak Cameron with Into Film Awards 2024
Zak Cameron with Into Film Awards 2024

We caught up with previous Into Film Awards winner and Into Film alumnus Zak Cameron, who gives some words of encouragement to budding filmmakers in the UK, highlighting how the Awards pushed him to pursue a career in the screen and film industries.

  • Please note - entries for the 2024 Into Film Awards are now closed. The nominees will be announced in due course.

Zak Cameron is a filmmaker from Warrington, based in both Warrington and Manchester. He studied Film Production at the University of Salford from 2020 to 2023, gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree. His passion lies in both directing and writing, with his writing credits including Home Goal and a co-writer credit on Bonnie Bennett's Milkshakes and Burger Phones. Zak's directing works includes Blue, The Negotiation, and the behind-the-scenes documentary for Simon Powell's Rose Gold. Zak also has a short film in pre-production, Once Upon A Time… in Avalon, where he will both direct and write the screenplay.

Zak won an Into Film Award in 2016, when the Warrington Youth Club he ran won Into Film Club of the Year (13 and over). He was also a part of the Youth Advisory Council, and has been a spokesperson for Into Film at various events. 

Do you think winning the Into Film Club of the Year award benefitted you and your career?

Absolutely. I think it was from that big jump point that I came home from the event and decided to believe what I thought may have been a delusion! I decided to believe that I could be a filmmaker someday; I believed I could write stories that could reach and connect to an audience other than myself. And I think with the opportunities from Into Film following that, it all became quite clear that my future lies within this art form. I persevered from that moment on and I got my head down promptly, which leads me to where I find myself now.

However, none of that would've even been considered in my mind if it wasn't for the resources Into Film gave me. Having that one moment where the film club won at Leicester Square in front of hundreds of people, including some of my heroes, such as Michael Sheen, who presented the award itself... that feeling of euphoria, but also knowing that all your hard work, mentally, to get to such a stage had paid off was unlike - and is unlike - any other feeling. I still count my blessings every day for Into Film and the Into Film Awards. The recognition from them in that time, when I was barely recognised by my peers, truly gave me a new lease of life.

Why would you encourage others to enter the Into Film Awards?

I would absolutely recommend that anybody submit to the Into Film Awards. Ultimately, because Into Film and its incredible partners really champion the youth of today, you might just be the voice of tomorrow, but you won't know unless you take that leap of faith! Get your voice out there and heard, believe in what you say and how you say it, and relish every second of it. Telling stories is what gives us an escape from the world around us, and the fear of the unknown we may have, and I think being able to create art and tell stories, with interpretations both intended and otherwise, is a beautiful thing.

With the Into Film Awards, submitting your art could lead you to the same epiphany as I had; it could be the kick-start you need to think about a career. I know I sure didn't think I could even imagine what I find myself doing! Anything is possible. If you believe, you will succeed and achieve, so get out there and do it!

What learnings from your experience at the Into Film Awards will you apply to future projects?

I think ultimately, the concept of breaking out of your comfort zone is something I really learned to grasp with my Into Film Awards experience. Obviously, there are bound to be nerves once you step onto that carpet, and into the room where it all happens, but one thing I learnt - and it's something I have carried into everything I do now - is to relish it all! Use those nerves as fuel for anything you do. Find excitement in the unknown, and tap into it. Using nerves as a boost is something I now do every day, in every venture I undertake. It may not come straight away, but those nerves you feel are all natural and can really give you a boost.

I think a lot of that comes with the sense of pride you feel about being surrounded by likeminded artists, not to mention the stars you see in the films you love and take inspiration from! The main thing to know - and my main take away from my experience - is that YOU belong there. It may seem daunting, but you've made it; nobody can break your stride! Be immensely proud of yourself and use those nerves as fuel. That's what I really took from my experience.

What would you say to someone thinking of entering this year?

I'll use a direct quote from Mr. Michael Sheen for this, a quote spoken in the press room shortly after he presented our award. "Get out there and do it! Don't wait for someone else to tell you to do it, make your own opportunity!" and I have followed that quote for eight years. 

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by submitting to the Into Film Awards, and that's a strong promise. This is a chance for you - at such an early time in your life - to show the world who you are and what you're about, and express yourself to the absolute maximum. To every budding artist working on their short films and their crazy ideas for big tentpole films they want to create, do not let anybody tell you "No." Go out there and make them; you are the future, you are the voice of tomorrow.

Run wild, create what you want to create, and let your voice be heard! You have everything to gain from this, take that deep breath and give it a go. I did all of that with a pipe-dream in my head - a dream to go on to further education purely to study film and the art form of creating stories for people other than myself. And because of the Into Film Awards, and taking that step, that dream is now my reality. 

This Article is part of: Into Film Awards

Articles relating to our annual Into Film Awards, including all the nominees and winners from past years.

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