I’m a Masters student in Film Studies, and I chose to do a work placement as I wanted real world experience of working in some capacity in the film industry. I was placed with the Insight Festival, a faith based film festival located in Manchester and London that began in 2007. Insight encourages filmmakers to make films about faith. Films which challenge, explore, critique, reflect, celebrate or question this area of contemporary life. After first hearing about Insight, I wasn’t sure what to make about the idea of faith as a film genre. But I wanted to keep an open mind: being a Film student I aim to broaden my understanding of the potential of film, and after watching a couple of past winners’ submissions, I’ve found the concept of exploring faith- and non-faith – intriguing and original, as it is so often overlooked in most films today.

On the panel at the Insight Festival event, Youth on Film, organised by SALC placement students.
From the left: Nicola Carter, Penny Starr, Dr David Butler, Prof David Law.

I was placed as an assistant to the Student Filmmaker Award along with another Film Studies MA student, Nicola Carter. Yet owing to the small scale of the Insight team, my placement objectives soon stretched beyond this assistant role. My objectives initially were to help with the promotion of the Student Filmmaker Award via Insight’s Twitter account, then as the weeks went on evolved into also creating a website design proposal for Insight’s website, attending a screening in London of Insight’s curated films, and finally helping to plan and promote a film screening night, Youth on Film, organised with the other placement students.

The biggest challenge me and the other students on placement faced was the lack of a physical space to do our work in. As Insight is an itinerant festival, it takes place wherever the Insight team members host events. It was an uphill struggle at times trying to communicate solely by email, but it did hone my skills of personal time management and assertiveness in a way that is required of any freelance professional working in the media industry. As the placement progressed, the main skill I developed was adapting to the new tasks at hand with each passing week. Ultimately, I felt my website design proposal and my activity on Twitter – both with promoting the Student Filmmaker Award and the Youth on Film event – made a genuine contribution to the Insight team.