Wannabe actress takes 12-week CGI course - and lands jobs on Star Wars and Men In Black
Siona chose to pursue a career in visual effects instead after completing a part-time National Lottery-backed BFI Film Academy ‘Cinemagic’ course.
Did you know that you’ve played a leading role in the biggest UK films?
Because every time you play a National Lottery game, you’re helping to raise money that funds new UK independent films.
Not only that, you’ve helped young talent from different backgrounds get into this exciting industry.
Visual effects ace Siona Davis has got to work on big budget films like this year’s Men in Black: International and 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story since enrolling on three National Lottery funded BFI Film Academy courses.
Siona originally wanted to go into acting but after doing a three-month part-time Lottery-backed BFI Film Academy ‘Cinemagic’ course in Belfast five years ago decided to pursue a career in the visual effects side of the industry.
‘I quickly realised that creating the film’s magic - everything that we do in visual effects is a big part of what makes a film come alive for viewers - was an incredibly exciting part of the business to be involved in,’ she says.
After studying Digital Film Production at Ravensbourne University in Greenwich, the particle physicist's daughter from Northern Ireland worked as a runner before landing a paid placement on the Pinewood Studios-shot Solo: A Star Wars Story, thanks to a National Lottery-financed BFI Film Academy Future Skills programme in partnership with Lucasfilm.
‘Working on Solo gave me an invaluable insight into everything that happens in a studio from prop-making to how long it takes a set to be built,’ says Siona. ‘It was a real eye-opener.’
The experience she gained on that film helped her get jobs in visual effects – creating ‘CG’ [computer-generated] characters and impossible to perform stunts - on the new live action Pokémon film, Detective Pikachu, the upcoming 2020 fantasy comedy Dolittle and a hush-hush new Marvel Comics films.
‘It’s a really exciting time for me career-wise but I wouldn’t be where I am now but for all I learnt on The National Lottery-funded BFI Film Academy courses I participated in,’ she says.
In the longer term though Siona’s goal is to try to help get more films off the ground in her Northern Ireland homeland. ‘The UK film business can be London-centric but there are so many voices outside the capital that deserve to be heard,’ she says.
If you are 16-19-yrs-old and interested in a career in film, the BFI Film Academy is for you! Applications for courses across the country are now open here .
Get free cinema tickets by playing The National Lottery this Saturday
National Lottery Cinema Day is a chance to celebrate the amazing contribution the public has made to the UK film industry by playing The National Lottery.
Thanks to National Lottery funding, the British Film Institute (BFI) invests more than £50million a year in the future success of film in the UK helping to bring stories such as The King’s Speech, Billy Elliot, Pride, Belle, Suffragette and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind to life.
To say thank you for all your support, The National Lottery is inviting you to enjoy free entry to participating cinemas across the country to see a film of your choice this weekend.
Simply buy a Lotto ticket for Saturday’s Lotto Double Prize Event Draw and you can also use it to secure a free cinema trip on Sunday 25 August. Each eligible line provides free entry for one adult.
Just visit cinemaday.co.uk to find out how you can claim your ticket, and to see which ODEON, Picturehouse, Empire, Light, Merlin and other participating independent cinemas are taking part in The National Lottery Cinema Day celebration.
Participating West Midlands cinemas:
- Birmingham - Empire Birmingham Great Park
- Birmingham - Odeon Birmingham Broadway Plaza
- Birmingham - Odeon Birmingham New Street
- Coventry - Odeon Coventry
- Crewe - Odeon Crewe
- Dudley - Odeon Dudley (Merry Hill)
- Hereford - Odeon Hereford
- Nuneaton - Odeon Nuneaton
- Settle - Settle Victoria Hall
- Stratford-upon-Avon - Stratford Upon Avon Picturehouse
- Sutton Coldfield - Empire Sutton Coldfield
- Tamworth - Odeon Tamworth
- Telford - Odeon Telford
- Walsall - Light Cinema Walsall
- West Bromwich - Odeon West Bromwich
(One adult cinema ticket per entry into the Lotto draw on 24th August, redeemable only on 25th August 2019. Cinema tickets are subject to availability. Selected cinemas only. Full Ts&Cs apply and are available at www.cinemaday.co.uk . Account Terms, Rules & Procedures apply when playing Lotto. Players must be 16+ and physically located in the UK or IoM).
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