Working alongside the established Drama Department at Eton is the comparatively new Film Unit. Established in 2018, it is run by the current Filmmaker-in-Residence Mr Bradshaw and his team of pupil filmmakers. Despite some disturbances and restrictions this year, the Film Unit is back and on the lookout for further expansion.
The Film Unit have worked predominantly on short films, a format which provided the opportunity for pupils to form teams and write screenplays on any topic, limited to five pages. Following selection, there are now three short films undergoing preproduction and casting, including a slapstick comedy, a classic crime short, and a surreal drama piece. The ‘shorts’ will be around four to seven minutes long and will enjoy their premiere at Eton’s annual Film Festival, COVID-dependent!
The Film Unit is also collaborating with the Farrer Theatre to bridge the gap between pupils keen to perform, direct and product in a year of disrupted Drama. With the cancellation of much of the dramatic scene in 2020, last year’s school play Hamlet was cancelled too. The Film Unit provided a creative solution by filming, editing and producing the play, which had been transformed by Director Scott Handy and his cast into a film-friendly format. Over a course of two weeks and countless takes, a full 90-minute feature of Hamlet was filmed and is currently in the final stages of editing, you can see the trailer below. Additionally, due to the limited audience allowed to watch house plays, the Film Unit has recently helped stream the performances to a larger audience, including the College house play, The Hypochondriac.
The Film Unit regularly meets on Thursdays for several hours, but pupils often meet more frequently when working on projects. Moreover, senior pupils can also lend the equipment, including three Netflix-approved cameras, outside of hours. The best aspect, however, is that one doesn’t need any prior experience to join the Film Unit, the only thing you need is an interest in and love of film.