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About the BFI Film Academy

At BFI Film Academy Bristol there are two different course you can choose between. Each course has a different focus – either drama or documentary. You need to decide if you want to make a short documentary film or create a drama production.

If you join the course at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School you will focus on making a short drama.

At Watershed you will learn to make a documentary.

Hear from people who have all been on the BFI Film Academy – and how it can have a huge impact on you:

The academy runs one evening per week and some weekends from December 2018 to March 2019 during term-time only. You will meet each week at Watershed or Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. On both courses you will work with film professionals on industry-standard kit to create your own films, from initial idea to seeing them on the big screen.

Choose your course – either documentary or drama:

At Watershed, you will work as part of a small crew to create a short documentary film for Rife Magazine. You will meet from 6-9pm on Wednesdays and some weekends.

At Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, you will be part of a larger crew that work together to make a short drama film with elements of animation. You will meet from 6-9pm on Thursdays and some weekends.

You can watch films made by last year’s Watershed participants HERE.

You can watch the short drama film made by last year’s BOVTS Academy participants HERE.

The BFI Film Academy courses at Watershed and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School are part of a network of 48 academies all over the UK run by the British Film Institute to help get talented young people into the film industry.

Can I apply for BFI Film Academy Bristol?

You can, if:

  • You are aged between 16-19
  • You are not at University
  • You are able to attend all the course dates
  • You are able to travel weekly to central Bristol (travel bursaries are available)

You must apply by Monday 5 November at 12noon.

Are there any fees or bursaries?

If you are accepted on the Academy there is a fee of £25. Don’t worry if you can’t cover this, just indicate when asked on the application form if you need this waived. We also have bursaries for help with travel, childcare or other costs.

Is there a qualification?

Yes. You will be supported to get the NCFE Preparing to Work in the Film Industry qualification through your work on the Academy.

Are there further opportunities after the Academy has finished?

Yes! You will be supported to apply for the BFI Residential Specialist and Craft Skills Programme. After the Academy you will become part of the growing alumni network that connects you with young filmmakers across the whole of the UK. You will hear about great opportunities in the film industry and continue your learning through online masterclasses and ace events such as the BAFTA career talks.

I have some more questions. Who can I get in touch with?

If you have any questions about the BFI Film Academy get in touch with Bex at Watershed on

More about the UK-wide BFI Film Academy Programme

Open to young people from anywhere in the UK and from any background, the BFI Film Academy offers a real chance for talented 16-19-year-olds to be part of our future film industry. Take a look at the UK Network page for more information and films.

Film Academy funding partners include the Department for Education in England, the National Lottery, Creative Scotland and Northern Ireland. Strategic partners include BAFTA, Pinewood Studios and Creative Skillset, helping to ensure the Academy is a gold standard film industry-focused educational programme.