Film Made Me: Cerys Burns-Toms

25th September 2020

Film Made Me is a new series from Screen and Film School Brighton, exploring how the wonderful world of film has influenced the lives of people in our community.

From students to staff, industry partners, and graduates- film is an inspiring medium that has a unique ability to shape who we are and who we become… Are you ready to tell your story?


Cerys Burns-Toms: Third Year Student

Screen and Film School Brighton student, Cerys Burns-Toms can trace her initial interest in film back to watching a YouTube Channel called ‘Film Riot’ at twelve years old: “I can remember watching how to edit the special effects without understanding any of it,” she tells us. “Since then I made my own little films and experimented in basic special effects such as turning myself into a ghost or duplicating myself.” Her passion for film continued through secondary school, and she decided to attend a Screen and Film School short course for young filmmakers, meeting Brighton tutor Gina Kawecka, and our film technician Richard Knight with his “wonderland storage room of professional filmmaking equipment that I would be absolutely fascinated with. I remember asking him many questions about what the stuff was and how it was used, which I still do to this day.”

Faced with choosing a University after finishing college, Cerys applied for Screen and Film School and one other choice. “What allowed me to choose was the response I received from each university. My other choice gave me an unconditional offer with no interview, Screen and Film school however wanted to meet me in person and they referred to my personal statement throughout the interview. This made me feel valued and listened to as a student.” Cerys notes that she learns best from hands on experience and learning from her mistakes to improve herself, a trait which has made her well suited to the practical learning that’s at the heart of everything we do.

“Do and try everything you can so that by the time you chose a specialism you will have a better idea what you enjoy the most. But don’t overwork yourself and burn the candle at both ends… Most importantly: enjoy your time at film school.”

Currently in her third and final year of her BA (Hons) degree, Cerys says her favourite part of studying filmmaking is starting from scratch and developing an initial idea all the way into a full film. “I enjoy being organised so when I’ve worked hard and everything falls into place it’s really satisfying. It might not fall into place the way you want it to, however it’s a reflection of the team’s hard work and the challenges that took place that have made it a unique piece of work.” Some of these challenges she’s had to overcome whilst creating films include troubleshooting unexpected events: sometimes no matter how hard you plan, life has other ideas. Fortunately Cerys isn’t one to back down when the going gets tough, noting that troubleshooting is “always something I’ve enjoyed as it keeps me on my toes and trains me for future problems and dilemmas.”

When asked her favourite moment as a filmmaker so far, Cerys tells us “This is a hard decision because I have had so many fantastic moments, from having fun with the crew ,and having the knowledge to look professional when I work.” The top moment however, belongs to the production process of her short horror film whilst in college. Being a fan of the genre myself I was very excited. The reason why it was one of my favourite moments is because we spent a lot of time running down the corridors of my college with our actor screaming and me dressed up as a demon!” In the near future she aspires to be a reputable Producer with a couple of award-winning films from A tier film festivals, as well as being known for skills in make-up and visual special effects- however looking back on her earliest work brings her an enormous sense of pride: “I feel the final product was really good at the time but one of the best feelings I have is looking at old work and seeing how far I have come.”



Are you ready to tell your story?

Clearing is now open at Screen and Film School for our undergraduate degrees in Filmmaking starting September 2020.




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