Manchester student heads for Hollywood

Harriet Edwards, a second year student of film-making at Manchester Metropolitan University, has won a dream opportunity to work with a Hollywood production company. She was selected out of students from across the North of England who entered films into a pilot competition mounted by the Insight Film Festival. The festival was co-sponsored by the Jesuit Catholic Chaplaincy of Manchester Universities.

Harriet's expenses-paid trip to Hollywood will include a six week internship with Loyola Productions Inc., an award winning company based in the heart of the movie industry in Culver City Los Angeles. She will travel out just before the 2014 American Independence Day celebrations and will have a few days to enjoy the festivities before starting her internship.

Students were invited to make a film on the subject of ‘faith’. They were encouraged to interpret the subject in any way they wished, irrespective of their own background or beliefs. Harriet chose to film a personalized interpretation of one of the psalms. Harriet said ‘I took the opportunity to express how I see the world. It’s to do with self-discovery and finding yourself, and trying to find a voice.’

Entries for Insight Awards are judged by experienced media panels including Usman Mullan of the BBC Writer’s Room North and Fr Tim Byron SJ of the Catholic Chaplaincy of Manchester Universities, one of the competition’s sponsors. During the process entrants were given an opportunity to pick up tips from a workshop conducted by screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce. Having submitted films or scripts, three finalists were invited to be interviewed in a live link-up with Hollywood. 

Festival Director John Forrest, a veteran TV producer-director said “We’re delighted that Harriet has won this award amongst such tough competition. I expect her internship could be an amazing boost to a film making career.”

The internship will be with the Loyola Productions Incorporated (LPI), a non-profit creative media company based in Hollywood that builds on the 450-year-old Jesuit tradition of effective involvement in the communication arts. Its films and TV series grapple with issues of cultural, economic, political and religious diversity, which reflect the Jesuit commitment to education and social justice.

Since 2007 the Insight Film Festival has been encouraging the making of films around the unusual and sometimes controversial subject of faith. It is supported by people from across the world from all faiths and none and is increasingly establishing a global reputation. It is hoped to roll out the competition nationally in future. Its next competition will be run in conjunction with the United Nations Association of Civilizations.