BIMM University / Filmmaking / It's Your Future

It’s your future: Anna

5th July 2024

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Anna Piggot-Reeves’ journey as a BA (Hons) Filmmaking student at Screen and Film School Birmingham is a captivating tale of passion and discovery.

With a rich family history in scriptwriting and an initial interest in acting, Anna’s path to filmmaking has been shaped by both her background and the supportive, dynamic environment at Screen and Film School Birmingham.

Discovering My Path at Screen and Film School Birmingham

I am Anna Piggot-Reeves, and I’m currently studying for a BA (Hons) Filmmaking degree at Screen and Film School Birmingham.

When I was looking at universities, I walked past a billboard advertising Screen and Film School. Intrigued, I looked into it on the website and attended an open day. It was thrilling to discover a new university in Birmingham that specialises in film. Unlike other universities, Screen and Film School offers a balanced programme that combines both practical and theoretical aspects of filmmaking, which is essential for every filmmaker.

My background and inspiration

My grandpa was a scriptwriter, and his passion for film sparked my interest. Initially, I was interested in acting, but choosing the film route turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have made. I’ve met so many interesting people along the way.

My grandpa has been my main inspiration in filmmaking. He was a scriptwriter his whole life, and as I delved deeper into his passion, I realised how exciting film could be. He started writing scripts specifically for me to make. At the end of last year, I made one of his micro shorts called Snicket, which was screened at the Birmingham Film Festival and will also be shown at the Wolverhampton Film Festival and the Midlands Movie Awards. He was my biggest supporter and inspiration.

Working on set

Having an acting background has been incredibly beneficial for my directing and other crew roles. It helps me communicate with actors respectfully and effectively. On set, stress can sometimes lead to harsh interactions, but understanding the actors’ perspective helps maintain a positive environment. Actors are doing us a favour as much as we are for them, so being able to talk to them and understand their vision is crucial.

One project I am particularly proud of is a grad film I produced called Last December, a World War II period piece. Initially, I was overwhelmed because I had never worked on a period piece before, but I embraced the challenge.

We sourced costumes from army surplus shops within budget and secured Kenilworth Castle as a filming location for free. The production designer was amazing, and we had dedicated actors and a high-end makeup artist on board. Problem-solving on this project was exciting, and seeing the film evolve from start to finish was incredibly fulfilling.

In Birmingham, there’s an event called Producers Forum, which holds a one-minute film challenge. You get three prompts and make a one-minute film. My prompts were ‘teddy bear’ ‘running late’ and ‘tickling’. It was challenging but fun to involve people from uni and actors I know outside of uni. The result was pretty funny.

The value of being multidisciplinary

Being multidisciplinary in filmmaking is crucial. As a producer, understanding all the roles you’re managing is essential. As a director, knowing the camera department is important because it’s your vision you’re explaining to them. Trying out different film roles helps you discover new passions. I started at Screen and Film School wanting to be a director but found a passion for producing, which is mainly what I do now.

Life as a film student at Screen and Film School Birmingham

Life at Screen and Film School Birmingham is never dull. The facilities are always expanding, and everyone in my year feels like a team because we’re always working on each other’s shoots. We share the building and facilities with Performers College Birmingham, so we’re surrounded by actors, singers, and dancers as well. The city of Birmingham offers a lot of activities, restaurants, and student discounts. There are theatres and cinemas, so there’s always something to do.

The campus staff and lecturers have supported me and the other students and have always provided opportunities outside of the university, which is important. The facilities have also played a big part in my journey and have really helped me strengthen my skills.

My advice to new filmmaking students

To young people thinking about studying filmmaking, I recommend just doing as much as you can. You can make films on an iPhone now that are just as good as those on a camera. Be proactive, get friends, family, or pets involved, and just make films. Build a portfolio because it will help when you’re trying to get into a university or into the industry. Showing that you’re proactive will really help.

As part of BIMM University, we have the BIMM Student Association (BSA) at Screen and Film School, and I am the President. It’s important to have a student association that voices student opinions. We run regular meetings and events, like the end-of-year party. It’s a responsibility, but I enjoy helping people and representing the students. It’s important to have a student voice in the university, and the BSA plays a big role in that.

A Future in Filmmaking: Embracing Challenges and Opportunities

Anna Piggot-Reeves’ story highlights how passion, dedication, and a supportive educational environment can shape a career in filmmaking. Anna’s experiences at Screen and Film School Birmingham reflect the vibrant, collaborative, and enriching journey that we aspire to offer all our students. We wish Anna the very best of luck as she continues on her path to a successful career in the film industry.

Want to follow in Anna’s footsteps and start your journey at Screen and Film School?

Apply through Clearing now


BIMM University

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