Girls on Film

Notting Hill & Ealing High School played host to a fantastic three-day film festival with the aim of inspiring students to work in the industry

It’s not every day you see a dinosaur on the red carpet but that’s what happened at Notting Hill & Ealing High School (NHEHS) when it staged the GDST Film Festival. The lifelike creature – a prop from the Jurassic World Hollywood movie – was part of a red-carpet extravaganza at the school, just one of many special events designed to inspire girls about the various career opportunities in the film industry.

The three-day festival saw girls at NHEHS take part in workshops at school with film industry professionals as well as two headline events: a GDST-wide film-making competition which culminated with a screening of the finalists’ films at the Everyman Hampstead, and a ‘Women in Film’ panel event at the school, chaired by presenter and comedienne, Mel Giedroyc.

Aspiring film students also used the event as a platform to campaign for greater representation of women in film. The Year 12 Film Team created the #SETtheExample initiative to show that every girl or woman can make a difference – by supporting films that represent them, by creating them and by being more involved in the industry.

The GDST Short Film Competition culminated in a glamorous night at the Everyman Cinema in Hampstead. Students and staff from across the GDST family of 25 schools gathered for a special screening of the final 13 shortlisted films. The student-made films, interpreting the subject of ‘Time, were shown to the assembled audience and high-profile judges from the film industry including Karen Krizanovich, Trish Edwards and Liz Tuckers – who had the task of choosing the winners.

The final winners (image above) were:

  • Overall Best Film and Best Y10-Y13 Film: Connie Harris (Norwich) with What’s the Time Mr Wolf
  • Best Y7-9 film was Ella Bright (SHHS) with I’m Perfect
  • Best Sound was Georgia Wells (NHEHS) with Screen Time
  • Best technical achievement was Trixie Sambidge (Sydenham) with Waiting for You
  • Best direction was Charlotte Crossley (Portsmouth) with Wishing Time Would Fly

The Film Festival finished with a sell-out ‘Women In Film’ Panel event, held at NHEHS. A panel of illustrious women in film: casting director, Lucy Bevan; actor and star of The Witcher, Freya Allan; director Savyna Darby; director Coky Giedroyc and Pathé’s Deputy Managing Director Jenny Borgars, inspired the audience by sharing their experiences and giving girls some top tips, including ‘prep, prep, prep’, ‘make yourself indispensable – and learn how to make the best cup of tea in the business’ and ‘be five times better prepared than a man’.

Coky Giedroyc
Director Coky Giedroyc, The Hour (2011). How to Build a Girl (2019)

The panel were hugely optimistic, saying that the film industry is a brilliant industry for women to be in. “Opportunity is everywhere,” said Coky Giedroyc, and it suits women as it is “an industry of collaboration”. Giedroyc, the director of the upcoming How to Build a Girl, also said: “Go in on the front foot, be prepared to have fun and always keep your sense of humour.”