BFI Academy

BFI Film Academy

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The BFI Film Academy helps to train and inspire the next generation of filmmakers, supporting young people aged 16 to 19 to develop the commercial and cultural knowledge and skills to help make a career in film.

BFI Film Academy offers young people passionate about film a chance to learn together, working in production teams to create short films in an industry led environment. BFI Film Academy courses are supported by the Department for Education in England, the National Lottery, Screen Scotland and Northern Ireland Screen.

Masterclasses with industry professionals during the course offer insight into careers and the working life of the Screen Industries.

Previous masterclass speakers include cinematographer Seamus McGarvey (Avengers Assemble, Atonement) directors Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire), Andrea Arnold (American Honey), Andrew Eaton (Rush, 24 Hour Party People), Ivanna MacKinnion (Slumdog Millionaire), Chris Martin (Good Vibrations) and Writers Glen Leyburn, Lisa Barros D’Sa (Good Vibrations).

BFI Film Academy Alumni go on to work and train in the screen industries with previous participants working in the fields of directing and producing, VFX, animation and sound design. Alumni join the growing BFI Film Academy network supporting young people up to the age of 25 with access to talent labs, Industry masterclasses and networking events.

The course is an accredited NCFE level 2 Preparing to Work in the Film Industry qualification. This qualification has been driven by the needs of industry and education partners.


In 2020 to 2021 the BFI Film Academy will deliver in line with government guidelines on social distancing and will involve face to face and online delivery.

In order to apply you must:

  • be aged 16 to 19-years-old on the first day of the course
  • be a UK resident
  • have a passion or talent for filmmaking and an ambition to work in the film industry
  • be able to commit to the duration of the course
  • not currently be at university or enrolled at university when the course starts
  • not have previously enrolled on a BFI Film Academy course

Any evidence you have of your passion or talent will help your application. The course is open to young people from anywhere in Northern Ireland with BFI Film Academies based in Derry-Londonderry, Belfast and Armagh. No academic education or degree is necessary and the Nerve Centre welcomes applications from underrepresented groups and intersectionality across ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, disability, religion, and socio-economic circumstances. Candidates must be available for all dates of the programme

The deadline to apply for 2021/22 BFI Film Academy is Friday 10th September at 5pm. Click here to apply at your chosen location. 

The course will commence on 23rd September 2021.

"I ganied experience as a Video Assist with Game of Thrones. I learnt vital skills for film making through the BFI and if it wasn’t for completing the programme at the Nerve Centre, I just wouldn’t have had the confidence or skills necessary for such a demanding job".

Eoghan, BFI Film Academy Graduate

"Film has always been my passion but up until finding a BFI Academy at the Nerve Centre, the thought of having a career in the industry was more of a dream than a possible reality. Through getting the chance to work on different film projects with the BFI Film Academy I have completely fallen in love with the art of filmmaking. I also completed a Specialist Residential in Documentary during the BFI Film Academy which was really invaluable.”

Katie, BFI Film Academy Graduate

“A course like this is brilliant for someone like me as it gives you so much more opportunity to really get hands on experience in filmmaking as well as learning through masterclasses. The masterclasses are brilliant as we got to understand the meaning behind choices made in making film as well as hearing an industry professional telling you what the business is actually like rather than a teacher telling you what it could be like”. 

Edward, BFI Film Academy Graduate

“At the BFI Programme in the Nerve Centre, young people have been encouraged in the ownership of their work. The professionalism of the advisers approach means that the young people have gained realistic insights into both the world of work and the making of art. A real strength of the programme is the ways in which young people are encouraged to interact with the wider arts community, producing film-making of the highest quality". 

Accreditation Moderator

“A number of our students have successfully completed the BFI Film Academy course over the past two years. Undoubtedly, the pupils’ participation in the course helped raise their skill level within all the film discipline areas and in the process contributed in raising overall grades and success at both AS and A2 level”.  

MIA Teacher, Holy Cross College

“The BFI Film Academy course has been invaluable to the students whose practical knowledge has significantly improved through participating in the programme. Critical theory skills have also improved in a number of students. Confidence levels have improved with all students”. 

MIA Teacher St. Columb’s College

“One student in particular has advanced immensely from being part of the BFI experience. As well as moving from a B to an A grade, she has been given amazing opportunities that a school based environment could not afford her. She took part in the BFI documentary residential week in London(where she has got herself loads of contacts and a possibility of an internship next year). The BFI academy has been amazing for her development”. 

MIA Teacher, St Marys College