Manchester, it’s almost your time to ‘Dream It Here’

22 June, 2021

‘Dream It Here’ is the slogan on the Screen and Film School Manchester video, and dreaming big is what creative people all across the city are doing right now. This is the moment to be in and around the streets of Spinningfields, of the Northern Quarter, of Deansgate.


We’ll let you into a secret: this wonderfully produced short film contains actors. They just happen to be actors from ICTheatre Manchester, a branch of the Institute for Contemporary Theatre, our close friends, and creative collaborators. Screen and Film School Manchester has close ties with our neighbours at ICTheatre, as well as our local branch of BIMM, which all adds up to a triumvirate of creative ideas and artistic expression.

At the heart of this partnership is instilling in our students the ethos of industry, entrepreneurship, and the spirit of collaboration. This can clearly be seen through the creation of this video, which starred ICTheatre Manchester first year students, Roman and Emily, and was shot by our very own BAFTA-nominated tutor, Tim Baxter.

Screen and Film School Manchester will aim to network and introduce students to each other as soon as we open in September, encouraging our budding filmmakers to interact with ICTheatre performers, and vice versa. It will be a mutually beneficial relationship which will go a long way towards enhancing the learning experience for our students as well as creating networks which can survive long into the future.

Our new lecturer Tim Baxter is an RTS award winning, BAFTA nominated Director of Photography whose television credits include BBC drama’s ‘Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster’ and ‘The Men Who Sleep in Cars’ starring Maxine Peake.

Tim Baxter out in the snow
Tim Baxter


We spoke recently with Tim, the talented man behind the lens, to discuss what his hopes and aims are for his future with us when we begin teaching in the Autumn.

What are the key specialisms you will be teaching?

Camera and lighting techniques.

How will you bring your industry experience to teaching, and why do you think it is important?

I’ve been lucky enough to work on a wide range of diverse projects in a number of varied roles, from high-end drama to documentaries and live sport. I’ve experienced all the pitfalls that my peers and myself can make, hopefully learning from them and becoming a better filmmaker. Film school is a great place for students to learn some of these pitfalls and to experiment.

How do you like to teach and what can students expect from you?

As practical and as hands on as possible. Only the very lucky few get the big budget projects. I try (and sometimes fail) to avoid using some of the confusing jargon and make it understandable – there are too many acronyms as there are!

What would you say are the main ingredients for a student being successful in the industry?

The right attitude is key – be friendly and confident – it’s okay to not know everything but being a nice person to work with will take you far. Be a good communicator. Get to know a lot of people. Always be on time and respectful and try to get used to working under pressure. Learn what you enjoy doing and what you don’t. Film school is a great place to practise all these things, it’s a safe place to get it wrong!

If you could say one thing to your 18-year-old self now, what would it be?

Apart from…to buy bitcoin? It’s okay to fail sometimes, getting it wrong can be the best lesson to take, but try and get those mistakes out the way first. Filmmaking is constantly evolving, what is relevant now is not going to be in the future – try new things, experiment, throw the rule book out! Sorry, that’s more than one thing!

What is the best film or series on Netflix, Prime etc of late, and why?

The Terror. Brilliantly shot, atmospheric, great story and great pace.

In studio shot of production assistants and camera with lights


That’s the view from the lecturer, now how about the student experience? We asked Roman and Emily, two of the rising thespians who starred in Tim’s ‘Dream It Here’ production, to share some of their thoughts about what it is like to be part of such a collaborative student environment, which revolves around not only their own school, ICTheatre, but our own Screen and Film School world. Roman and Emily have recently taken part in our Experience Days at Screen and Film School Manchester too, where they shared their views on the high standards that our new students can expect when we open in September.


On the feeling of community between film, theatre and music:

It feels like we’ve got an extended family. We’ve got these connections all around, if we need help with film or music. There’s always someone there to reach out to if we need to. That’s what’s so great about it, we’re not just one school who do one thing only.

On her starring role in the film:

I couldn’t really believe it to be honest. I was in my first term and here I was on this big set and I had no idea it would be on such a scale, how professional it was, intense, hands on. It gave me a really good insight into what it’s actually like working in the industry. How you have to do take after take after take. It was such a confidence boost to know that I had something under my belt, industry experience straight away. I’m just so grateful for it, I really am.

Drummer on a film set with crew and clapperboard.


On gearing up for starting at ICTheatre:

I was apprehensive about coming to such a big city as Manchester, I didn’t know what to expect. But everyone here has just been really accommodating. And I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything I’ve done with ICTheatre and BIMM. The university has opened a lot of doors and given me the opportunity to dip my toe in and see if I enjoy it.

On Manchester, our city:

As a city, Manchester is very, very diverse. There’s no one way of living or one style of people that you run in to. Not just in a multi-cultural sense, but just diversity in the way people think as well. It’s definitely somewhere good to come if you’re into the arts.

We value the cross-pollination of ideas and creativity that Manchester has to offer our Screen and Film School students. Having ICTheatre and BIMM as our city neighbours is an extremely important advantage for everyone involved. This dream trio of schools really does amount to a northern powerhouse of artistry.


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