An interview with the Director of the BFI Future Film Festival Noel Goodwin

The director of the BFI Future Film Festival Noel Goodwin sits down with Mandy News to discuss their new partnership for the 12th BFI Future Film Festival - the UK’s most important film industry festival for young, emerging filmmakers! Noel also shares with us what his dream guest would be and why, what makes him happy about his job and tips for our upcoming Mandy monologue competition.

12th February 2019
/ By Petra Mandova

BFI Future Film Festival Noel Goodwin BFI

The Mandy Network is bringing a panel session for young emerging actors called “Getting Into Acting” with talent agent Sean Gascoine from United Agents and casting director Heather Basten on the 21st of February from 1:30 at the BFI Southbank and also an "Editing masterclass with editor Nicolas Chaudeurge" (Fish Tank, Still Alice, Black Mirror) on the 24th of February from 11am.


Could you please introduce BFI Future Film Festival to our readers?

BFI Future Film Festival it’s an industry and career festival for a 16-25 years old aspiring filmmakers. It intends to give young people film industry insights to help them pursue their career in the film industry and inspire them to make films. 

In four days we host more than 60 events from masterclasses to workshops, panel q&a’s and networking drinks. We also screen the best short films that have been submitted by young filmmakers in the age of 16-25. 

This year we had more than 1300 eligible submissions from all over the world and we picked about 50 short films to be screen at the film festival.

Tell us a little bit more about the short film competition. What are the criteria to submit a film?

To submit a film to the film festival the writer, the producer, the director and the majority of the cast and crew must be the age of 16-25 when the film is made. 

The film shouldn't be longer than 10 minutes and it can be any kind of format or form. We are looking for interesting stories, inventively told. Our goal is to showcase, support and champion upcoming, emerging young filmmakers.

This is the 12th edition of BFI FFF what are your expectations?

Every year we try to improve the festival, add new things and give it a bit of different spin. We want to explore new technology and new formats. This year we’ve got a 360’ igloo cinema, which will be situated in the BFI Southbank where people can go to workshops and screenings and can find out about VR filmmaking and other new forms and formats of filmmaking. 

The awards are going to be bigger and better than ever this year. We’ve got £12 000 worth the prizes to give away. Top prize being £5000 to make a new short film.

I assume you must be very busy during the festival. Are there any particular events you want to attend?

It’s hard for me to go to events during the festival as I am so busy running it. I usually get to host some q&as or panels. Which means I get to be part of it. Every now and then I get to sit back and see some events. 

I am very much looking forward to the events we are doing with The Mandy Network. Way back in the day I used to have aspirations to be an actor, so I think the acting panel will be really interesting.

Looking forward to seeing casting director Heather Eden Basten in the panel. She is an alumni of the FFF who now has her own casting agency. I am also very much looking forward to the editing masterclass with Nicolas Chaudeurge. It’s great to get somebody who has worked on so many amazing projects.

I am also looking forward to our daily keynote speeches which are always delivered by fantastic female filmmakers.

We’ve got some new sessions this year which are called “The Hot Spot” where we are bringing down top industry talent to come and answer the audience's questions. We’ve just announced most of these (People Just Do Nothing, Maisie Williams, Ashley Walters) and they are going to be really exciting.


"Our goal is to showcase, support and champion upcoming, emerging young filmmakers" - Noel Goodwin


Over the 12 years of the festival. There has been a huge number of BFI FFF alumni. Is there anyone you know of who made it to the film industry?

Earlier I’ve mentioned Heather Eden Basten. Director Kate Herron is doing exceptionally well. We’ve been supporting and championing her for a number of years. Kate is currently one of the two directors on Sex Education for Netflix. 

Last year she did the Keynote Speech for us at the BFI FFF. It’s great to see her moving on up. She is a real talent. Will McGregor whose early short film we showed in the early days at the festival. He has directed Poldark, he wrote and directed a show called One of Us at BBC and he made his first feature film called Gwen. He is doing amazingly. 


BFI Future Film Festival BFI
BFI Future Film Festival

BFI FFF is a patron of upcoming Monologue Competition with Mandy, what are you looking for in the entries?

It would be interesting to see what monologues people pick or if they write their own and what they write about.

It’s intriguing to see what is important to young people. What kind of challenges will they set themselves as well? How different will the characters be from themselves. Would I be convinced that the person is who they say they are? Do they mean everything they say?

Would you have any tips on how to make monologue interesting?

It’s worth thinking about how you are going to shoot and frame your monologue. Even though the most important thing is performance. You want to make sure that you are capturing it properly. Even if you are just capturing it on your phone, what can you do to make it look as professional as possible?

It might be that using your mobile phone with your arm stretched out as a selfie might actually fit what you are doing really well, but it might not. Think through your choices about how you are going to film it. Even if your technology is relatively limited it doesn’t mean that you can’t make it work for you.

The sound is really important as well. Make sure you can record the sound well because half of the film is sound, and particularly if you are doing a monologue, if you can’t hear what you are saying it’s going to be a struggle get through to the next round.


***** Read our tips on How to Master a Monologue*****


What makes you happy about your job?

Seeing the young filmmakers go on and achieve what they want to achieve. It makes me happy to see people having successful careers and just knowing that we have been a part of their journey and done what we could to help them. That’s the most rewarding thing.

Also putting together the festival and FF events is very exciting, there is a lot of creativity and I enjoy and find the Future Film events useful as someone who also wants to tell stories and make films. So I get to learn a lot by going along to the events.

It’s so nice when people come up to you and just say thank you for putting this on, it’s been a brilliant experience. That’s something you don’t get very often and it means an awful lot. If you come to the festival join us at the networking drinks. It is always a pleasure to meet everybody.

Who is your dream guest at the festival?

My dream guest would be Donald Glover who writes and stars in Atlanta which is I think one of the most amazing shows that have been made recently. Series 2 is insane. It went into places that I would never expect it to go. It’s such a clever show and the way of portraying America now and the black experience in America is incredibly inventive.

He is a fantastic talent as an actor, writer, and musician. I would love him to have him at the festival.

With a focus on VR at this year’s festival, what it the future of VR according to you?

At FFF we want to support all kinds of filmmaking. VR filmmaking is going to be explored more and more, so I think it’s up to FFF to give young storytellers and filmmakers the opportunity to explore the possibilities and give them the tools to actually have a go and make some stuff.

The audience of the FFF are probably the people that will be developing it and challenging what filmmaking is in the future using VR.

BFI FFF is not only the festival but over the years you’ve been running monthly Future Film Labs. Could you tell us more about those?

Outside the FFF we have a few things that 16-25-year-old filmmakers and film fans can come to. FF Labs happen once a month on Saturday afternoon. They are like a mini version of the festival that focuses each month on a specific area of the film industry - producing, directing, writing.

It gives you industry insights for things you can do early in your career to pursue your dreams.

We also do quarterly screening events called Future Film Scene. If you don’t get your film into the FFF you can submit every quarter to us and we screen an hour or so of short films made by young people every quarter then we have networking drinks.

If you want to find more go to the BFI website.

BFI Future Film Festival back in 2018 BFI
BFI Future Film Festival back in 2018
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