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FutureLearn partners with the British Film Institute (BFI) to create free online courses for budding filmmakers

The first course, ‘Explore Filmmaking: from Script to Screen’, a BFI Film Academy collaboration with National Film and Television School, is available now
The BFI will also lend its expertise to FutureLearn’s academic and cultural partners planning to create film-related courses

FutureLearn and the British Film Institute (BFI), the lead body for film in the UK, are joining forces to create free online courses for aspiring filmmakers around the world.

The partnership with the BFI reinforces FutureLearn’s commitment to building a portfolio of career-enhancing courses for the creative industries, as part of its wide-ranging line up.  The BFI, in turn, will use the relationship to open up access to breadth of opportunity in the filmmaking industry to a worldwide audience, complementing its already extensive education programme.

FutureLearn offers free, web-based courses from universities, cultural bodies and other centres of excellence around the world. Set up by The Open University as the UK’s first provider of massive open online courses (MOOCs), FutureLearn operates as a social learning platform, connecting people around the world who learn by having conversations around course material provided by world-class educators.

The BFI’s first course on FutureLearn, a collaboration with the National Film and Television School (NFTS), is available now for potential learners to sign up for. Entitled ‘Explore Filmmaking: from Script to Screen’, the course is supported by the Lottery-funded BFI Film Academy which provides opportunities for young people aged 16-19 to learn more about the film industry and the range of disciplines it encompasses

The course will begin on 2 February 2015 and run for six weeks. It will see a team of award-winning filmmakers – whose credits include The Crying Game, Leaving Las Vegas and Touching the Void – guide learners through their own approach to telling stories. They will also demystify their individual filmmaking specialisms – from writing and directing to cinematography, editing and composing.

FutureLearn CEO Simon Nelson said: “I’m delighted to welcome the BFI to the FutureLearn partnership; this collaboration will offer our global community of learners another important route to exploring careers in filmmaking. As the internet continues to transform learning and education, it is heartening to see more and more of the world’s great cultural and storytelling institutions using free online courses to reach brand new audiences and nurture new talent.”

Paul Gerhardt, the BFI’s Head of Education, said: “This important new initiative will extend the reach of the highly successful BFI Film Academy programme.  FutureLearn provides an opportunity to connect with even more talented young film makers, and to inspire them to join the creative production sector.  The BFI has always had an education mission and we are delighted to be able to join this great experiment in social learning.”

The BFI joins 39 internationally renowned universities and three cultural bodies in the FutureLearn partnership – the British Council, British Library and British Museum – delivering free short courses to anyone with an internet-connected device. As well as developing its own courses, the BFI will share its expertise in filmmaking, and open up its content archive to other FutureLearn partners creating film-related courses.

BFI is the most recent stalwart of the UK creative sector to venture into free online courses through FutureLearn. The NFTS joined as a partner in June, at the same time that Pinewood Studios announced plans to produce a free course with The Open University, aimed at people interested in pursuing a commercial career in the film industry. The BBC also made its first foray into MOOCs this summer, working with four of FutureLearn’s university partners to create a portfolio of courses about World War 1.

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