Aspiring Filmmakers Get a North East Premier with the New Release of Short Documentary Films

Talented young filmmakers from across the North East have seen their very own films screened at the Tyneside Cinema as part of the intu Documentary Film Academy.

A group of 15 teenagers have worked together over a number of weeks and months with specialist filmmakers from Tyneside Cinema to create short documentaries on topics as diverse as parkour (free running), graffiti art, the holocaust and wrestling.

The free academy programme allows young people aged 15-19 to develop hands-on skills in film by working together, as a crew to develop ideas for documentaries before bringing those ideas to life with the support of filmmakers, producers and mentors from across the industry.

In a premier evening which took place at Tyneside Cinema on 10 December, the filmmakers took a trip up the red carpet before presenting their films to friends, family, members of the public and sponsors Intu Properties who have funded the initiative since 2013.

"Every year we are delighted and amazed by the quality of the films and the calibre of the young talent in our region,” commented Alexander Nicoll, intu's Corporate Responsibility Director. “As ever, this evening’s premier has been a fantastic opportunity to celebrate that talent and put the spotlight on the young filmmakers who have demonstrated outstanding commitment and creativity throughout the programme. Everyone at intu Eldon Square and intu Metrocentre are proud of our partnership with Tyneside Cinema."

The films were shown at the Tyneside Cinema and at 80 years old the venue has hosted some of the world’s most prominent filmmaking talent over the last century.

Ian Fenton, Director at the Tyneside Cinema said, “We’re enormously proud of the documentaries this years’ filmmakers have produced, and grateful for the continuing support of intu, whose support to date, has now given over 100 young people from Newcastle the chance to take that first step into a career in film or TV.”

The films screened on the night were:

The Accidental Activist, Director Laura Alise Lydon (age 18)

An intimate film portrait of artists Chris Fleming who works under the name of ‘Ida4’ to explore his sexuality and political views through stencil art.

Face Value, Director Owen McKnight (age 18)

An engaging tale of how two men found a way to express themselves through the world of amateur wrestling.

Motus, Directors Laura Moscrop and Frederick Ford (ages 17 & 16)

A fast-paced and dynamic documentary focusing on a group of free-runners in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Tolerance, Director Joseph Thornton (age 17)

A powerful tale of the lasting impact of persecution throughout the 20th century as told through the experiences of one family.  

Laura Alise Lydon, The Accidental Activist, Director, said “I’ve loved being part of this year’s Documentary Academy and it’s been a great opportunity for me to develop my ideas and learn more about filmmaking. I’ve learnt many new skills, from how to use cameras and how to edit, to discovering the challenges faced by documentary makers and the many processes involved in making your own film. I’d definitely love to continue to make films in future.’

Joseph Thornton, Tolerance, Director, said “Being part of this year’s Documentary Academy has definitely inspired me to continue to make film and to explore my own ideas more. It’s been a great experience. I’ve learnt the importance of teamwork in order to bring a film together. I think we all went into this process thinking we could all do things by ourselves; you have to let go of that control and trust that collaboratively you can do the job right.”

Find out more about all Academies offered by Tyneside Cinema at