Students in line for success with movies

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ASPIRING film-makers from Preston will be helping safety-conscious rail chiefs on the right track.

In an industry first, animation and screenwriting students from the University of Central Lancashire are producing a series of safety videos for train operating company Northern.

A clip from the UCLan screenwriting video

A clip from the UCLan screenwriting video

They will work together to write, design and produce the films which will be used as part of a safety campaign launched by the firm, the largest rail operator outside London.

The university has worked on safety initiatives with Northern for the past six years.

Students submitted potential scripts in an annual competition, but the relationship has gone a step further now with UCLan being involved in the whole process and produce a finished project themselves.

The videos, which go live later this year, will be seen by millions, broadcast across the north of England in schools, youth groups, colleges, and other educational institutions as well as being featured on the TV station Life Channel – which broadcasts at venues with a large footfall such as GP surgeries and coffee shops.

Andrea Jacobs, the safety and environment director for Northern said: “This is an industry first. Rail safety is extremely important and this project will allow us to utilise the creativity and expertise of UCLan’s animation and screenwriting students to create something really exciting that can make a big difference.”

Bill McCoid, course leader for UCLan’s screenwriting course said: “This is yet another project that has come about through our fruitful partnership with Northern, and there is yet more to come.

“The multi award-winning animation course at UCLan is world class and this will enable the vision of our writers to be fully realised. On top of that, these films could save lives.”

Course leader Sarah Kennedy added: “Working with Northern and Bill McCoid from screenwriting on a live brief has been a fantastic experience for the animation students.”

“They worked in teams in a real studio set up which proved to be invaluable.”

Besides having their work shown to a very wide audience, many of the students will receive train passes giving them access to free travel for up to six months. The films will go live later this year.

To preview one of the videos go to www.lep.co.uk.