Helping Scotland’s talent make the (Director’s) cut

April 2, 2015

Initiated by Sigma Films and Film City Glasgow, JUMPCUT commends innovative approaches to all aspects of screen production. Award-winning writer/director Catriona MacInnes discusses the latest project and why it’s important for the Creative Clyde community to get involved to bolster the future of film in Scotland…

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JUMPCUT is an enterprise that provides opportunities in the screen industries for young people aged 16 – 25 living in Scotland. Its vision is to help establish and develop new generations of skilled professionals which will ensure Scotland’s continuing growth and evolution in Film and TV production. A year round programme of activities allows JUMPCUT to offer a range of opportunities whilst identifying uniquely talented individuals.

The latest production, ‘Dropping off Michael’ is an example of what the project delivers. The film was born in 2014 at The Summer Production Company, an eight week intensive programme where a group of young people are tasked with making a professional short film with a budget. The film was recently awarded the Audience Award at the Glasgow Short Film Festival (not bad, eh?) and James Price, who wrote the script, has also been nominated for Best Writer at the BAFTA Scotland New Talent awards. Now aged 25, James from Springburn first got involved with the project in 2013 as part of the crew at the Summer Production Company and has developed as a writer since. James, said “I honestly don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for JUMPCUT. It has changed my life”

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James isn’t the only person who has benefited from our programme. Scot Morrison who was 1st Assistant Camera/VFX Designer for the Summer Production Crew in 2013, is now based in Film City Glasgow working full time for Urbancroft Films. “Working on JUMPCUT was a fantastic experience that not only gave me confidence to work as part of a professional camera department, but also gave me confidence in myself.”

However, all of this wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the funding we receive. For the past two years, the project has been backed by Young StartChannel4 and Creative Scotland. We have just received funding from The Robertson Trust and have a donation in place from The Craignish Trust which means we can fund two outreach projects with harder to reach young people this year but we haven’t yet managed to secure funding for the 2015 Summer Production Company.

One of the other main contributors to JUMPCUT’s success is the experienced industry professionals who get involved and provide guidance and support to the young people. It’d be great to see more people who work in the industry getting involved in mentoring and giving time to one or two young people who might never have otherwise had such an opportunity. All the mentors who have worked with JUMPCUT have found it really rewarding and have continued relationships with their mentees.

Without volunteers such as professional director Zam Salim, who directed ‘Dropping Off Michael’, the programme wouldn’t exist. Brian Coffey, one of our mentors and Producer at Sigma Films, said: “The Summer Production Company is a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain valuable hands-on experience of working on a short film and meeting people of a similar age with the same interests. JUMPCUT gives young people the skillset necessary to prepare them for entering the industry”

Every member from the ‘Dropping off Michael’ crew has progressed on to a variety of great new opportunities in screen production including paid BBC traineeships, selection for BFI Film Academy programmes and paid employment within the industry. Success stories such as James Price and Scot Morrison definitely make you wonder why there are not more opportunities like JUMPCUT available to young Scottish prospects looking to make their mark in the film industry.

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Are you interested in getting involved with JUMPCUT? Are you aged 16-25 and looking to get your foot in the door or are you a seasoned professional looking to join their mentoring team? Like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter @JUMPCUTCREW and check out their website for more information.

Catriona MacInnes’ first short film ‘I’m In Away From Here’ premiered in competition at the 65th Venice International Film Festival in 2008, and was nominated for a BAFTA Scotland New Talent award the following year. Her last short ‘A Cuillin Rising’ made through Digicult premiered at BFI London Film Festival and has been nominated for various industry and festival awards. Catriona is currently based at Sigma Films in Film City Glasgow, producing for JUMPCUT – a Screen training initiative for 16-25 year olds and she is also a visiting lecturer on the BA Film course at Edinburgh Napier University and Edinburgh College of Art and working freelance as a writer/director. Follow her on Twitter @CLMacInnes or check out her website.