Aspiring filmmakers who were given a helping hand to kickstart their careers by the Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE) have worked on a feature film that is set to premiere at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

The group worked with 21 Media, which was established by ICE and funded by the Government’s Kickstart scheme to create new jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

They helped work on Ken McMullen’s Hamlet Within, starring Sir Ian McKellen, which launches at the Cannes Film Festival on 21 May.

Art Cinema/Scape Films

Senior Lecturer in Media and Associate Director for ICE, Carl Hunter, said:

“This is an amazing achievement for this group of talented young people who worked with us for six months at 21 Media.

“The majority of young people who have come through the programme are from working class backgrounds, which are typically underrepresented in the film and TV industry.

“Traditionally it’s very difficult for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get a foothold in creative industries.

“We’re proud to be able to play our part in giving people a helping hand to start their career.”

Edge Hill graduates and Kickstart trainees worked on Hamlet Within as 21 Media crew.

21-year-old Euan Barton-Jones worked closely on the production with cinematographer Oliver Curtis, whose career stretches back more than 30 years and includes work on films like Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho and Frank Oz’s Death at a Funeral.

Euan, an Edge Hill University BA (Hons) Film and Broadcast Production graduate, said:

“I want to specialise in the cinematography side of production so working on the film was a really great experience for me.

“I was so excited when I heard the film we worked on was going to be shown at Cannes – it’s definitely going on my IMDB page.

“21 Media was a great place for meeting likeminded people and forming relationships that allowed us to develop our skills and create projects of our own.”

The production company is based in the Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE) at Edge Hill University.

Its mission is to create quality film and media productions while providing employment opportunities and social capital to those from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds who may find barriers to entry to the film industry.  It is led by Martin McQuillan, Director of ICE and a long-term collaborator and producer of films with Ken McMullen.

The release of Hamlet Within will be marked with a launch event at Cannes on 21 May. The film will also be available at the Marche du film (distribution by Screenbound International Pictures Ltd), screening scheduled on Saturday 21 May.

The film is a co-production between Art Cinema, Scape Films and 21 Media.