New degree hopes to inspire budding directors

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg. Picture: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg. Picture: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
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THE University of the Highlands and Islands is hoping to inspire the next generation of Spielbergs with the launch of a new film making degree.

Available from September, the contemporary film making in the Highlands and Islands BA (Hons) aims to provide students with the skills needed to produce creative films in their local communities.

Taught by industry experts, topics will include editing and production techniques, writing for screen, small business planning and film studies.

The new degree will be available at Orkney College UHI, Shetland College UHI and North Highland College UHI.

Students will be encouraged to collaborate with local writers, musicians and actors to help them develop industry contacts and support the region’s creative industries.

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Professor Robin Macpherson the university’s chair of creative industries, helped to set up the degree.

A BAFTA-nominated producer himself, he has first-hand experience of working in the film industry.

He said: “We are excited to be offering this new degree which will help graduates to forge careers in a variety of roles, including camera operation, TV or film production, editing, location management or programme researching.”

Professor MacPherson has worked in Scotland’s creative industries sector since 1980.

He entered the film and television industry in 1989 at the Edinburgh Film Workshop Trust and has since produced numerous documentaries, current affairs programmes and dramas, including the BAFTA-nominated drama, The Butterfly Man, and the Scottish BAFTA nominated Tree Fellers.

He established Screen Academy Scotland in 2005 and joined the University of the Highlands and Islands from Edinburgh Napier University, where he was Director of its Institute for Creative Industries.

Dr Bill Ross, Orkney College UHI principal, said: “I am delighted that we will be offering the cotemporary film making in the Highlands and Islands degree.

“There is a long tradition of visual media activity in Orkney inspired by the landscape and history, but probably most importantly by the lives and social activities of those who live, study and work here.

“This degree will give our students the knowledge and skills to become the next generation of film makers and I’m particularly pleased that they can study this through to honours degree level here in Orkney.”

Shetland College UHI acting principal Irene Peterson said: “The new film making degree provides a really exciting addition to our university’s networked creative industries provision.

“Staff at Shetland College UHI are looking forward to being involved in supporting students locally on this programme from September 2016 in collaboration with colleagues at North Highland College UHI and Orkney College UHI.”

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North Highland College UHI principal Donald MacBeath commented: “I was pleased to see staff from North Highland College UHI taking this new degree development forward with their colleagues in Orkney and Shetland.

“It adds real value to our existing arts provision and also complements other arts courses currently under development, such as the new creative writing degree.

“I’m really excited by the prospect of our new film students collaborating on experiential learning projects with University of the Highlands and Islands students from other creative arts disciplines to create high quality films in our local areas.”

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