Posted on 22nd May 2024

Education Partnership Spotlight: Two Minutes, and How the Next Generation Are Telling Their Stories Sustainably

After 20 years as an actress in the industry, producer Annie Lee-Jones decided to try something new. ‘During Covid, I decided to go back to education while the industry completely closed. I had time to really think about what I wanted to do,’ and that was learning about the process on the other side of the camera. ‘I think as an actor, I had a real appreciation for characters’ journeys and how they’re perceived on screen.’ So, she enrolled for an MA in Producing for Film and Television at Bournemouth University.

While studying at Bournemouth University, Annie had the opportunity to become an albert grad through the BAFTA albert Education Partnership. Throughout the course, she and her peers were encouraged to include sustainability considerations alongside shooting their productions. ‘When you’re working to these tight budgets, you constantly think of reducing costs – which ultimately reduces the impact on the environment.’

From online rehearsals, limited private transportation and donating unused food to the local area to avoid waste, even Annie’s student production had plenty of opportunities to improve their impact. And that creative thinking offered a valuable transferable skill; ‘I need to take this forward with bigger budgets,’ she explains.

‘In 2023, at the time I was doing [the course], we were a lot more aware of the environment and our impact on this earth – which is dramatically affecting the health and wellbeing of everyone on it,’ Annie says. ‘You apply it to your life – so you should apply it to filmmaking too.’ But even with the contextual understanding of modern climate science, the impact and opportunities that the screen industries’ role was a learning experience. ‘We do all have a part to play and if we can then absolutely we should.’

Having worked with writer/director Jamie Benyon as an actress previously, and by fostering the creative relationships from her MA, encouraging the team as a whole to think sustainably became less of a challenge: ‘we all had a mutual understanding – as long as you inform people from the start what their perimeters are and what we’ve got to work with, they’re forthcoming in applying it. Filmmakers are creative, not irresponsible.’ 

I really think younger generations are watching more short form formats, they’re becoming really popular. And the industry does recognise them as calling cards to new filmmakers to distinguish their styles.’ As the next generation of filmmakers for the UK screen industries, having the opportunity to apply sustainable thinking right at the start of creative careers helps embed it as best practice for generations to come. We’re going to be applying everything we’ve applied in producing these short and on to the features.’