Plans for Summer Film School 2016 are in full swing!

Published July 7, 2016


Here at Exeter Phoenix we love the process of filmmaking and seeing young creative minds develop through artistic practice. This is why we are so excited to be plotting the third edition of our famous Summer Film School, which will be running from Mon 1 – Fri 5 Aug at the magical and atmospheric Poltimore House. Every year the kids have an awesome time as we offer children aged 10-14 years the unique opportunity to make their own short film, supported by a host of skilled and experienced film and theatre professionals.

We are delighted to be welcoming our Associate Artist filmmaker Luke Jeffery on board. Luke has a whole host of short film and theatre projects to his name, including the award winning Seeing Red that was produced through the Exeter Phoenix Devon Short Film Commission scheme, plus his current project – iShort Hells Bells that is being shot in this summer.

We have space for some extra helpers this year, so if you have some experience with working with kids, have a passion for film production, and aren’t afraid of a little hard work and (preferably) have DBS clearance then please do get in touch on the details below. For your efforts you will be rewarded with a week full of fun, a credit on a professional quality short film and travel / food will be covered or provided.

Summer Film School was created and developed in 2014 by Exeter Phoenix & Colourburn, an Exeter-based film production company. We assembled a particularly talented team of youngsters at Brampford Speke Primary School who by the end of the week had produced The Sqweakening – a quirky comedy horror about a particularly obnoxious were-hamster.

For a taste of what we got up to at 2014’s Summer Film School, watch The Squeakening here!

Returning this year as a third partner is Four of Swords, a local theatre company which specialises in multi-media performances in unusual, forgotten locations. Four of Swords aided the kids in the creation of last year’s Big Trouble in Little Poltimore, a story of mystical exploration as a group of kids get lost on a school trip, discovering the magic and conflicts of woodland creatures and goblin communities.

Big Trouble In Little Poltimore was screened at Exeter Phoenix’s Big Screen in the Park 2015 in Northernhay Gardens and had its own special premiere at Poltimore House last summer. Watch the film here:

Four of Swords Theatre has entertained sell-out crowds and won rave reviews for shows such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight at Exeter Cathedral and Dr Faustus at St Nicholas Priory.

‘As well as our performances for the general public,’ says Philip Kingslan John, co-founder of Four of Swords, ‘we have been building a body of educational work, partnering with the Central Devon Personalised Learning Service and Cambridge University Press on different projects and visiting various schools in the South West. It’s this experience of working with young people in creative environments that we bring to the project.’

Four of Swords most recently reprised their production of Jekyll and Hyde at Poltimore House, the same venue for this year’s Summer Film School.  Sarah White, Philip’s colleague and Four of Swords co-founder, says, ‘Poltimore House and grounds are a wonderful and magical world of their own! Not only will they provide an ideal base for the week in terms of facilities, but also a fantastically rich environment for sparking the children’s imaginations”.

The week will include a host of fun-packed activities for the children to get involved with. A parent from Summer Film School class of 2015 commented, ‘It’s no mean feat keeping a 13 year old completely absorbed, engaged and creatively challenged for a week and we are indebted to everyone involved in the organisation for their diverse skills, energy and enthusiasm… it’s been great for his confidence and shown him endless creative possibilities.’

This year, the activities will include drama games and puppetry and prop-making workshops, as well as providing hands-on experience with cameras, microphones, clapper boards and exciting special effects.

How To Get Involved

There are only 25 places up for grabs so be sure to book soon. Tickets are available here >>

To enquire about volunteering, contact Sarah White at