Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 09.03.48Young filmmakers from the North East enjoyed a red carpet premiere of documentary films they made in association with Tyneside Cinema and intu.
A gala screening of four short documentaries made by young filmmakers at the Northern StarsDocumentary Film Academy were enjoyed by participants, mentors, family and friends at Tyneside Cinema.
Over the autumn of 2015, 15 young people aged 15-19 from across the North East took part in the free programme of workshops at Tyneside Cinema, which gave participants the chance to work with leading industry professionals and gain hands-on experience of directing, producing and editing their own short documentaries.
This year Tyneside Cinema partnered with Freedom City 2017, a programme that marks the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King Jr being awarded an honorary degree from Newcastle University, and aims to empower and inspire a new generation, stimulate academic debate and an create artistic response to the themes of his speech – war, poverty and racism. 
The filmmakers were asked to respond to a challenge from Freedom City 2017 to use the themes as a starting point to create their work. The four resulting films include a portrait of a worker from SSI in Redcar who has lost her job, the experiences of a refugee from Liberia who has settled in the North East, and a volunteer whose personal experiences led her to work with disadvantaged communities inNewcastle
Mark Dobson, Tyneside Cinema’s Chief Executive said:
 “The young filmmakers have worked exceptionally hard over the autumn to create four fantastic and inspiring short films, and we’re very proud to present their premiere at Tyneside Cinema. This is the third year of the Northern Stars Documentary Film Academy, and we’re incredibly grateful to intu for their ongoing support, which has and will continue to enable us to provide this free opportunity for even more young people in the North East to learn new skills.”
The Northern Stars Documentary Film Academy has been made possible by the support of Intu Properties plc, who co-own intu Eldon Square in Newcastle and intu Metrocentre in Gateshead. Their partnership with Tyneside Cinema began in 2012, when intu Eldon Square offered the Cinema an unprecedented opportunity to create a unique filmmaking facility in a shop unit on High Friars. The local success of Pop-Up Film School led intu to look at other partnership opportunities with the Cinema and the resulting development in 2013 of the Northern Stars Documentary Film Academy is now a key part of intu’s corporate responsibility strategy, focusing on support for young people in the North East.
Alexander Nicoll, intu’s Corporate Responsibility Director, added:
“I am very pleased with our partnership with Tyneside Cinema over the last two years and am glad we can support the young documentary filmmakers again in 2016. The quality and originality of the films made by young filmmakers since we started supporting this initiative back in 2013 has been outstanding and award-winning. The annual screening premiere is a very special occasion for all involved in supporting these talented young people from across the North East and is, of course, a well-deserved celebration for them.”
Georgia Middlemass, Director of ‘Closure’ a film focusing on the closure of Redcar Steelworks, said:
“The experience of working with Tyneside Cinema making a real documentary film has been absolutely amazing. I originally applied as I thought it would help with my application for university, as I would like to do a course in Film & TV production. However, I’ve learned far more than the basic skills I imagined I would, and had greater creative choices and freedom to make decisions than I anticipated. The guidance from the course mentors has been terrific, and we worked so hard on the film and believed it to have a big heart, but you never know how it is going to be received until the showcase! Luckily, people seemed to like it!”
Callum Hall, Director of Sweets, commented:
“Taking part in the Documentary Academy has been a fantastic experience – I’ve learned so much about film-making, made some great friends and met a lot of talented future collaborators. It was so exciting to see our documentary on the big screen – the final piece was quite different to how we imagined it but we’re really proud of how it came together.”