Our world-renowned patron Fabian Wagner cuts the ribbon to officially open Screen and Film School Manchester

23 February, 2022

On Thursday 17th February Screen and Film School Manchester officially opened with our Patron, staff, students and industry partners present. We welcomed our very first group of students in September 2021 and with last week’s milestone occasion, our new home in the North of England is now well and truly cemented.

In attendance at Riverside Studios were College Principal David Thompson, Executive Principal Dara Kilkenny, and CEO Adam Carswell, as well as patron and world-renowned Cinematographer Fabian Wagner, who had the honour of cutting the official ribbon.

Fabian Wagner at Screen and Film School Manchester

The day begun with an incredible Masterclass from Fabian, who discussed some of his most acclaimed film credits, including Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Sherlock, and the iconic Game of Thrones episodes The Long Night, The Bells, and Battle of the Bastards, which won him an ASC award in 2017. Fabian also took questions from our students about his career so far, and shared advice about breaking into the industry.

Students were also able to network with some of Screen and Film School Manchester’s Industry Partners, and during the afternoon they had the opportunity to take part in a workshop run by Fabian and his good friend and colleague, Gaffer James Bridger. Amazingly, the students had the chance to reshoot a battle planning scene from the critically acclaimed Game of Thrones episode, Battle of the Bastards, in one of our brand-new studio spaces.

Behind the scenes at Screen and Film School Manchester

Taking part in all of this was Muhammed Bittaye, a first-year student and recipient of the inaugural Fabian Wagner Scholarship. Fabian had time to discuss this initiative, which is worth £30,000, at the launch event:

“For years, I’ve tried to give young people opportunities wherever I can. Someone who feels restricted may be inspired to go for it with this scholarship. I saw something in Muhammed. He has a passion for filmmaking. Supporting young filmmakers and aspiring cinematographers has long been a passion of mine, so I’m delighted to be giving this opportunity to another fantastic talent in Muhammed. I will be there to support him every step of the way, as will everyone at Screen and Film School Manchester. My advice to Muhammed would be to take everything that he possibly can from the three years with us.”

Muhammed Bittaye

This launch has been long awaited for by College Principal David Thompson and Head of Industry and Careers, Jude Suckling. Here’s what David had to say about the day:

“It was great to see so many of the different people who have supported the Film School over the last year all in one place. It was thrilling to see all that hard work culminating in such an exciting day for our industry guests, students and staff.

It was amazing to me that during the Game of Thrones workshop, piece by piece, and using only our first-year students as actors, Fabian actually started to make it look like the real thing. We had offers from Arriflex to give us all kinds of fancy kit, and yet Fabian was insistent that he only wanted us to use what the students have access to themselves. Which showed what is possible and the standard of what we have.

We were also thrilled that in the process, Fabian renamed one of our students ‘Don Snow,’ who had been chosen to act in one of the scenes! It was a very proud day for us all and we can’t wait for the next time Fabian joins us. There’s a very bright future ahead.”

David Thompson

Jude added to David’s sentiments. She said:

“It was an absolute pleasure to officially open Screen and Film School Manchester. The staff and students have worked hard to make the school the buzzing and vibrant place it is, and it was amazing to show it off to our Industry Partners. Fabian was generous with his time and expertise and the students learnt so much from the time they spent together. Oh, and the catering was to die for!”

First-year student Federica Taddeo was also on hand throughout the day to capture images of our Industry Partners as they entered the event, and of her fellow students in the workshop:

“It was a really good experience capturing the good times we had on Thursday during the Official Opening event with Fabian Wagner. For me, it is always a great opportunity to have fun with my camera and when Jude told me that I could help the crew of photographers who were there, it did nothing but change my day for the better. When I have my camera in my hands I feel in a safe place so that I can enjoy every single moment that surrounds me!”

Photo by Federica Taddeo


There is much for everyone involved with Screen and Film School Manchester to be excited and proud about now that the building is officially open. The Spinningfields building itself is over 13,000sqft and houses two production studios, as well as fully kitted out edit suites, two mac rooms and a screening room. There are also several open spaces including a learning resource area with a circular glazed library overlooking the river which holds bespoke edit suites, student lounges and multiple meeting rooms for production meetings.



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