LFA Showcase 2021: Celebrating the achievements of our LFA Class of 2021!

10 December 2021

Our cheeks are still aching from all the smiling we did at our Showcase event two weeks ago!

Image credits © Danny Cozens.

Our annual Showcase is the graduation day for our undergraduate and postgraduate students which celebrates their hard-work, dedication and achievements in filmmaking from their education at LFA. This year was our biggest and grandest Showcase to date, as we witnessed over 100 of our truly amazing students graduate!

In addition to our BA (Hons) Filmmaking and Filmmaking Diploma courses, this year was also the first year we had students graduate from our brand-new MA Filmmaking and MA Screenwriting programmes. Our pioneering master’s students have set the bar incredibly high for future cohorts!

Image credits © Danny Cozens.

The Showcase was hosted at the British Film Institute headquarters in Southbank, overlooking the River Thames. The BFI is the UK’s leading cinema archive and screening destination, and the beautiful, grand, and historic venue was the perfect location for this special day of celebrations.

The day’s programme was hosted by The Financial Times and The Guardian film journalist, Danny Leigh, who is a long-time friend of LFA and a regular host of our Showcase events. We were also joined by some very special guests, including trailblazing director, Sarah Gavron, (‘Rocks’, ‘Suffragette’, ‘Brick Lane’) and legendary producer and long-term Stanley Kubrick collaborator, Jan Harlan, (‘The Shining’, ‘Eyes Wide Shut’, ‘A Clockwork Orange’).

Image credits © Danny Cozens.

Speaking about the films on display at this year’s Showcase, LFA screenwriting tutor, Kay Stonham, had this to say:

It was the most amazing selection of films today. I was blown away by them. Each time one finished, and you wanted to think about it because it was so good, another one came along and you were blown away by that one as well. The diversity on screen was extraordinary. It’s so heartening to see that the new filmmakers coming through are really thinking about diversity, thinking about who they cast, and whose stories they chose to tell. So I was very, very impressed with that.

Kay Stonham, LFA Screenwriting Tutor

LFA’s Senior Production Coordinator, Alastair Train, who was involved in the technical side of creation of the films, and programmed this year’s Showcase schedule, said:

Honestly, I’ve been at LFA now for nearly five years, and I’ve got to say, this is definitely one of the best Showcases I’ve been to. The films really did blow me away, in terms of the quality of films that the students managed to produce.

Alastair Train, LFA Senior Production Coordinator

This year’s selection of films displayed the talent, determination, and pioneering spirit of our fantastic filmmakers. Showcasing films across a range of genres, and telling stories with diverse roots and backgrounds, our graduating cohorts truly went above and beyond this year. Their work was even more impressive and commendable considering that most of the screened projects were completed under some form of COVID-19 restrictions and regulations.

Image credits © Danny Cozens.

LFA Vice Principal, Simon Flynn, said:

The moment you feel like a real filmmaker is when other people have seen your work in a cinema.”

Simon Flynn, LFA Vice Principal


In this vein, our students became fully fledged filmmakers last week, as they got to watch their work, with their family friends, up on the stunning NFT1 screen; the primary screening theatre within the BFI.



Image credits © Danny Cozens.

After the screenings, we held our graduation ceremony, where our students received their degree certificates up on stage. Danny Leigh also hosted conversations with our special guests, as well as LFA co-founders and co-principals, Anna MacDonald and Daisy Gili. Sharing her wisdom and experience in filmmaking, Sarah Gavron had this to say to our graduating students:

Collaboration, and versatility, is everything. I think that you can be the Jack, or Jill, of all trades and the master of none, as a director, but it’s worth learning about every single role in the filmmaking process. I see myself on a lifelong learning journey. I still go to acting classes, do little editing exercises, read, and watch new books and productions. The more you can do, to learn, the better. It’s so vital. I can’t tell you how important that is.

Sarah Gavron, 'Suffragette' Director

Image credits © Danny Cozens.

Our Showcase audience of filmmaking family and friends were also treated to meaningful, heartfelt speeches from a selection of our graduating students, who summed up their LFA experience, the lessons learned, and the memories forged, in eloquent and thoughtful ways. Read some of the highlights from their speeches below:

When people ask me what was the best thing I got from LFA, I immediately smile, because it’s all of you. The community that we built, our friendships. This network is the strongest tool in our arsenal as filmmakers, all of us. As long as we continue to do what we did over the last 2 years; tell impactful, important stories, and acknowledge our sacred responsibility as filmmakers, it will all work out. Or, we’ll fix it in post!

Bianca Alexander, BA (Hons) Filmmaking Graduate 2021

So now, as we venture out into the big wide world, there are two things I wanted to thank LFA in particular for. Firstly, for all the thing we’ve learned over our two years on the course; invaluable knowledge as we try to make our way out there. But finally, for making us better people. People who understand the importance of working in harmony with those around us. And the value of a strong, supportive community.

Ben Wolfin, BA (Hons) Filmmaking Graduate 2021

Anna and Daisy closed the ceremony by awarding one student from each cohort with the prestigious ‘Emerging Filmmaker Award’, which allows the winner to access free equipment hire from our generous award sponsors, Blue Fox Studios and Verve, to create a project of their choosing in 2022. This year’s winners were:

  • Aimee Robinson (BA (Hons) Filmmaking)
  • Guido Zanghi (Filmmaking Diploma)
  • Erica Belton (MA Filmmaking)
  • Chelsea Kania (MA Screenwriting)

Speaking about her receipt of the award, Chelsea had this to say:

This award came as such a surprise! As a writer, I’m thrilled for the opportunity to fully produce an original script with LFA’s support. I’ve had a short film playing in my head for some time, so this award is a great nudge to get it out on paper, share with my LFA circle, and see its potential. Having produced work is a major career step for any writer, because it shows their words can be brought to life. So I’ll use this opportunity to prove that to myself, and hopefully to others!

Chelsea Kania, MA Screenwriting Graduate 2021

Image credits © Danny Cozens.

Erica, the recipient of the Emerging Filmmaker Award for the MA Filmmaking course, said:

It was really special to receive the Emerging Filmmaker Award, especially surrounded by my friends and family who haven’t been able to see exactly what I’ve been up to this year because of COVID restrictions.

I really want to create some short films that develop my voice as a queer female filmmaker. I’ve been working with my writing partner Alice Uzzan, from the Screenwriting MA, on several ideas, including a comedy short film. We’re also working on a queer musical short film. The award will really enable us to create quality shorts that take us to the next level so I’m super excited about this.

The level of quality that is achievable from the opportunity the award will provide will be integral for a successful festival, and really help establish the professionalism of the projects. I think this will (hopefully) help establish my early career pathway and give rise to more funding opportunities. I hope to be able to build a website and showreel from the projects I create with the award too.

Erica Belton, MA Filmmaking Graduate 2021

Image credits © Danny Cozens.

It was a true honour to see our tenacious and talented students celebrate their hard work, and fly the LFA nest to explore the wider film industry! We couldn’t be prouder of their achievements, and we can’t wait to see where their LFA education takes them, as they continue their steps along their filmmaking journeys. Congratulations, LFA class of 2021!

At LFA, graduation never means goodbye. All of our graduating students have lifetime access to the LFA Filmmakers’ Club, which gives them exclusive access to talks and masterclasses from industry heavyweights, as well as networking and job opportunities within the LFA community. Stay tuned for our exciting relaunch of the brand new Filmmakers’ Club in 2022!

A huge thank you to our generous food and drink sponsors:

Applications for our long courses, starting in 2022, are open now! Click the links below to apply, today!