Magazine article Screen International

London Film School: Class Action

Magazine article Screen International

London Film School: Class Action

Article excerpt

As the London Film School plots its 2016 move to the Barbican, school director Ben Gibson tells Andreas Wiseman about the challenges ahead.

Last year was an amazing year for our film-makers," says London Film School (LFS) director Ben Gibson. "Our graduation films played at more than 100 festivals, winning dozens of first prizes, and we had films shortlisted for Bafta and student Oscar awards."

Founded in 1956, the celebrated training ground for the likes of Michael Mann, Mike Leigh, Duncan Jones and Tak Fujimoto continues to develop film-makers of global repute.

Recent notable alumni include Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio, Oliver Hermanus and Flora Lau, whose Bends played in Un Certain Regard at Cannes this year.

The internationally focused craft school now has a number of new courses in the works and is moving forward with its anticipated $22m (£14m) relocation to London's Barbican.

The 2016 relocation, expansion and upgrade forms the cornerstone of the school's next chapter.

After years of searching, the Covent Garden-based school has agreed a deal with the Corporation of London for a 50-year lease on Exhibition Hall 1, a 32,000 sq ft space in Golden Lane currently controlled by Barbican Arts Centre. "This is the first time we've found the right deal in the right place," says Gibson.

The current plan for the space will offer a 130-seat main cinema, two sound stages, seven large teaching rooms including a second screen, four seminar rooms and accommodation for technical departments and teachers.

The tech upgrade will include a digital production facility with green screen, and a digital silo server system covering post-production and film library services. Backing for the move comes from a Lottery grant, the BFI's capital fund for film schools, the school's own accrued capital, a bank facility, major donations and smaller gifts.

Course offerings

The MA in film-making remains the school's biggest draw, attracting more than 100 students each year. But it is developing new courses. Earlier in 2013, the school launched its MA in international film business. The one-year Masters programme offers a degree awarded by the University of Exeter.

Also gaining traction are the school's PhD Film by Practice programme, its workshops and summer schools.

In response to the rising consumer and industry demand for high-end TV production, the school last month launched its first post-graduate course in series formats development and production. …

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