Film Studies - Behind the scenes at the Disney dream factory

3rd January 2014 at 00:00
Student reporter for FilmClub charity wins trip of a lifetime

Getting advice from employees of the world's most famous animation studio and first-hand experience of drawing characters from the new Disney blockbuster Frozen is the stuff that Christmas dreams are made of.

But for a 16-year-old student from Newton Mearns, it became a reality when he was chosen by education charity FilmClub to visit the Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles.

Kieran Lamb, a student at St Ninian's in Giffnock and a young reporter for the FilmClub talent development programme, watched a preview of Frozen, which is based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Snow Queen.

He then met and interviewed the film's producer, Peter Del Vecho, and director and screenwriter Jennifer Lee, quizzing them on what it took to make it in their industry.

Kieran even got to try his hand at drawing the animated characters from Frozen and changing their expressions and movements, and became a cameraman on the virtual film set.

"The entire experience was one of the best I have ever had and likely ever will," Kieran said, explaining that the trip to the US had taken him further than he had ever travelled before.

"During my interview with (animation technology manager) Evan Goldberg, I got a chance to man the virtual camera, which is used to film actual scenes, which was awesome," Kieran said. "I tried my hand at animating Olaf, which was really fun, and I came up with a pretty interesting result to say the least."

Visiting the Disney studios was not Kieran's first experience of show business since joining the FilmClub talent development programme last year. At the BFI London Film Festival premiere of Philomena in October, Kieran carried out red-carpet interviews with the film's stars Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. He also spoke to the Australian director Kim Mordaunt, whose feature The Rocket was being screened at the festival.

FilmClub, which has access to an extensive catalogue of films and promotes the medium as a learning tool, now operates in 7,000 UK schools. It aims to give young people the chance to meet those working in the profession.

Elaine Cox, principal teacher for support for learning at St Ninian's, said the school had been running the club for six years, during which time it had gone from strength to strength.

"Not only are there obvious social benefits - pupils are able to make friends, friends who share a passion for film - there are other obvious educational benefits that dovetail superbly with the core principles of Curriculum for Excellence," she told TESS. "FilmClub gives pupils opportunities to become confident individuals, successful learners, responsible citizens and effective contributors."

It also supported literacy skills, she added: "Pupils enhance their listening skills while watching films and discussing their opinions of the films with each other."

Over the year, students had been given the chance to interview film- makers, directors and stars at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and review premieres at the BFI London Film Festival, Ms Cox said.

"Kieran has gained in confidence from his experience and has certainly grown as a young man through these amazing opportunities," she added. "In fact, all the members have benefited, watching the interviews and basking in reflected glory."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today