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?
René Lorraine: Graduate
Screen and Film School Graduate, René Lorraine, has had somewhat of a spontaneous route into the Film Industry. Aged 18 and faced with the prospect of attending University, René decided she no longer wanted to pursue a career in Architecture: “UCAS applications were already closed and my A-levels were Maths, Further Maths, Physics and History of Art which made me feel that my options were limited,” she remembers. After brainstorming some of her hobbies and whether they could be turned into careers, she considered her interest in YouTube Vlogs. “I loved watching vlogs and even made quite a few myself. At the time I never saw them as films, but as I learned more about film, I realised vlogs tell a story and I feel like that’s exactly what film is there to do – tell stories.” Eager to live outside of London, she googled best film schools in the UK and found the website for Screen and Film School, “I hedged my bets and applied. I think it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
The impromptu switch to creative education didn’t come without its fair share of challenges, “It was terrifying for me to go from purely academic based subjects and a mindset that I was going to study Mathematics or Architecture at University, to then drop all of that and pursue film.” Another challenge that presented itself was the historical lack of diversity in the film industry and how to overcome those barriers. A recent report from Directors UK found that, despite the fact that 14% of the UK population consists of people from ethnic minority backgrounds, just 2.22% of our TV programmes are made by directors of colour. “I remember telling my grandmother that I was going to study film, so I could be a director and she responded with “Why? They don’t make us filmmakers.” When she first said that, I was taken aback but I realise it is true – and the challenge I choose to overcome each day that I pursue my dream, is that there are racist people, and sexist people, and ignorant people but at the end of the day, I’m just me and I’m going to be a director.”
“A question I usually try to remind myself of from a spoken word poet, Humble The Poet, is: How can you add value and beauty to this world? Although he didn’t necessarily mean it in the context of filmmaking, I always consider that when coming up with ideas and the work I put out.”
Her tenacity and passion proved vital to her success, and she soon saw her documentary about her youngest brother’s autism, One Piece of the Puzzle, screened at Together! 2019 Disability Film Festival– an achievement she describes as her all time greatest moment so far in her career. “The fact that my film was shown on a big screen with an audience – it’s indescribable. No matter where I go from here, I feel happy that I could share my brother’s story and give my family that experience.”
Her professional steps into the industry continued as she landed a role as a Production Logger at Blast! Films, after mingling with Industry Partners at Screen and Film School’s Alumni Community Launch in November, and she shows no signs of slowing down with her own projects either. One Piece of the Puzzlesaw her team up with D.O.P Jamie who she’s currently working with on a number of projects, including a documentary about young people who have had to deal with the death of a parent, which they’re hoping will be finished by the end of the year. “With seeing how our first documentary went with no budget and only the two of us as the crew, I have no doubt that we are going to keep on creating awesome content that people are going to want to see.”
“Have fun with it and create what you want to create. Because if it’s not fun, and you don’t want to create it – then what’s the point?”
“The best advice I received as a filmmaker, would be to “trust your inner voice” which is what I heard from SFS Brighton College Patron, Michele D’Acosta- she’s right, you should always trust you,” says René. “I think in this industry it is very easy to lose sense of who you are and what you stand for, so I think if you remember from the beginning that you’re doing this for yourself then hopefully it will stay that way.”