PVA - LabCulture

Young Film Makers in Dorset


Since 2003, PVA MediaLab has made 7 films with young people aged 7 – 18 from all parts of Dorset.  These have been funded by First Light who are supported by the UK Film Council to encourage young people to get involved in filmmaking, supported by professional filmmakers.


Best Screenplay…Noel Clarke
Best Screenplay - Rebecca O'Brien, Jessica Tallant, Mike Kelley, Joe Sohawon, Tim Mallon, Charlotte Coombes and Noel Clarke

These young people from West Dorset were celebrating yesterday after scooping the First Light Movies Award for Best Screenplay at a star-studded awards ceremony in The Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square.

PVA MediaLab Studio HDV resources supported the film making which was facilitated by  filmmaker/director Peter Snelling. The studio successfully obtained funding from the Wellcome Trust and First Light to work with pupils at The Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester to devise a script around the subject of DNA and identity called '23 pieces'.

One of the awards’ judges, Anthony Horowitz, said
“This film impressed me because of its wide and varied use of all the language of cinema: close shots, flashbacks, voice-over, humour, and above all silence (as well as dialogue). I was hooked by the story as it slowly unravelled and I really liked the ending, great title too.”

PVA Media Lab and Gordon Brown
PVA Media Lab and Gordon Brown

As well as rubbing shoulders with celebrities such as Alex Zane, Imelda Staunton and Sanjeev Bhaskar, Peter Snelling and two of the young filmmakers, Charlotte Coombes and Mike Kelley were also invited to attend a Downing Street reception. Here they were introduced to Gordon Brown and chatted to him about their project.

Speaking after the event, Peter Snelling of PVA MediaLab said, “This has been a brilliant occasion for all the young people. They worked incredibly hard on this project and really deserve their success. I’m sure this will inspire them to continue their interest in and enthusiasm with filmmaking.”

young filmaker using camera

a scene from the film

Taking Pictures 2003

This drama about loneliness and friendship starred Abi Mortimer and Alex Kachepa and won the First Light Best Drama Award in 2005.

scene from the filmFairy Cakes 2004

This was a dark comedy abut a young supermarket shelf stacker starring Lilly Jaggard.

It was nominated for a First Light Best Drama Award in 2006.




What are you going to do? 2004

PVA worked with Year 3 at St Mary’s School Bridport to make this charming documentary about their views on the world of work.

When you go to work 2004

scene from the film

This unusual animation was made with children from Bournemouth Family Centre.
It was selected for screening at the Animated Exeter Festival in 2006.

Living Statistic 2005


This moving documentary tells the story of Alex Kachepa (co-star of Taking Pictures) and his family who were threatened with deportation from their home in Weymouth to Malawi.  This film has been widely screened and received public acclaim including awards for Best Documentary from the BBC Big Screen Online and from the Showcomotion Film Festival in Sheffield.

T is for Teenager 2006

This docu-drama was made with young people at Sherborne Pupil Referral unit.  The film was shot and edited on location and its fast, hard hitting style reflects the energy and enthusiasm of the young filmmakers for this project.  This film has been screened at The Co-op Young People’s Film Festival in Bradford and at The Barbican as part of the London Children’s Film Festival.

23 Pieces 2006

This project was funded by The Wellcome Trust and First Light.  The scriptwriting process was an exploration of DNA and identity.  Out of this research came the ideas for the story of Gerald, a boy trying to establish his own identity by looking for his biological father.  This film has been nominated for a First Light Best Screenplay Award 2007.

New Projects 2007

Currently PVA has three new First Light films in production.  Each film is being made by groups of young travellers – new age travellers, a circus family and gypsy travellers who attend Ferndown Upper School, East Dorset.  Each of these films will explore the unique aspects of these young people’s lives, either through drama or documentary format.  PVA is working closely with Dorset Traveller Education department on this project.