FOR many teenagers it is the latest blockbuster in the Marvel or Star Wars franchise that gets them excited about film.
Not so for Joel Whitaker whose passion for the movies was sparked by the French New Wave when he was just 14, particularly titles like Band of Outsiders by director Jean-Luc Goddard.
It was a love that led to him taking Film Studies at Priestley College and now becoming one of only eight people accepted onto the National Film and Television School’s Masters course in Film Studies, Programming and Curation.
“We look at film and film theory and apply that to programming an event such as a festival,” said Joel, who is 22.
“The school’s links with other institutions provide a great opportunity for the students on the course.”
Those links include a partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI), which opens doors to extraordinary venues and events such as the Barbican and the London Film Festival.
Part of his course required him to write 200-word review of each film he saw during the festival – no small feat considering he watched dozens of films during the event.
His thoughts on one a movie, Monrovia, Indiana, were published by independent film review magazine Dog and Wolf.
The festival experience was essential for Joel and those with whom he has studied as they will be expected to stage a festival of their own at the end of the course.
His talent and passion for film was evident at Priestley College where he combined an A-Level in Film Studies with Drama, History, English Literature and the Extended Project.
He secured an A in Film with 100% in his coursework and took home the prize for Film Studies at the college annual awards. He attributes his understanding of how to analyse a film to his time at Priestley.
Joel went on to secure a First at the London South Bank University before starting his Masters. One day he hopes to be scheduling the films he loves for a venue such as a cinema.
“I already believe anything is possible if you put yourself in the position to achieve something you dream about doing,” he said.