Around 200 people gathered at BAFTA to celebrate 10 years of the UK’s Met Film School.

Met Film chief executive Jonny Persey gave the following speech to the assembled crowd…

“I got to know Gemma Purkiss about a year ago while she was in pre-production on a feature film. She was having a wobble, the kind of wobble producers are supposed to have before the ball starts rolling, you know “how can I possibly do this on the budget,” “the director wants a helicopter short,” “maybe we should be making a short film instead,” “maybe I should have been the cook instead.”

“Gemma went on to graduate a few months later, having successfully produced the feature film Goldfish. Gemma was lucky enough to win an internship at Met Film Production whilst we were in the final stages of completing Village at the End of the World. We signed a deal with Dogwoof for the UK release of the film, and Gemma went on to play a key role in the release first with us, and subsequently followed the release whilst working with Dogwoof. 

“Around the room are testimonials from a number of graduates, ex students who have gone on to work in every conceivable corner of the industry. I caused a minor panic in the office on Friday evening as these were going to print because I insisted on adding another one, after Gemma told me that she had been offered a permanent contract with Dogwoof and I thought this story just had to be in there because it describes how the various parts of Met Film come together in service of each other.

“Village was not the first of our films that Dogwoof have released. Last year they released Town of Runners, which was produced by Al Morrow with another of our graduates Dan Demissie who conceived the idea and pitched it to us whilst he was still a student. Town of Runners is one of four films written, directed, or produced by Met graduates to have been released in the last 12 months. That statistic is all the more remarkable when you consider that two of those are recent graduates of BA programmes, and two of part time courses.

“By far and away the most important success metric for us as a school is what our graduates do. And the 81% of our graduates who are working in the creative industries are exercising their various skillsets across the film, TV, and audiovisual industries. When they leave the school they don’t leave the Met Film community, and I just wanted a vote of appreciation here for the students (and here a shout-out to those who are shooting a feature film now, and whose schedule won’t allow them the time to come here), the graduates, the tutors, the staff, and the board of Met Film for their energy, fearless devotion, and hard hard work.

When I started at Met Film seven years ago, the kit room was a cupboard. It now has over 50 fully functioning kits in it. During the last year we have also opened in Berlin, and we have a new MA programme attracting a large amount of interest. I imagine it’s something of the realisation of the dream Thomas Hoegh and Luke Montagu had when they started this adventure ten years ago this month.

“Eighteen months ago, Met Film School lost one of its most loved and respected tutors and mentors, when Jim O’Brien died after a battle with cancer. For his funeral, Christopher Morahan wrote “I cannot think of a wiser film-maker to pass on his knowledge to a new generation. They will be his legacy too.”

“As we look forward to the next decade, we look forward also to the flourishing of that new generation of filmmakers.”