Clapton couple inspired by nine-year-old daughter to launch film classes for young people

The Birkinshaw family: (From left to right) Zizi, Des and Shazna.

The Birkinshaw family: (From left to right) Zizi, Des and Shazna. - Credit: Archant

A Clapton couple who met while working on Top of the Pops have launched film-making classes for young people after being inspired by their nine-year-old daughter.

Des Burkinshaw has worked with the likes of Michael Jackson, Beyonce and Michael Caine – but it was a collaboration with young Zizi that led to the idea of the Young Directors Film School.

Zizi’s experience of making a 30-minute film about the solar system with her father inspired her to “become a filmer”. The short featured every student in her class at St John and St James School and was shown at Hackney Picturehouse.

Des, who has also worked on producing Glastonbury coverage, said: “All the film-making courses we have seen are a bit ad-hoc.

“Anyone can stick a smartphone in someone’s face, but if you want to be good there’s a lot else to learn.

“Luckily, it’s fun learning, but we aim to give all young people a solid grounding in ideas, scripts, lights, camera, sound, editing and, of course, the importance of teamwork.

“It will be more like a class than a club but good fun anyway.”

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Des runs production company Magnificent! with his wife, Shazna, who has also worked on Blue Peter and Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow.

She said: “I looked around for a course for her and realised there wasn’t one. So here we are two months later running the school ourselves.

“We’ve had people getting in touch with us up panicking that there are no spaces left. That’s because all children are interested in learning how to do this now but it’s still something schools only do patchily.”

The school starts on April 18 at the Round Chapel in Lower Clapton Road. The first class is for nine- to 12-year-olds and runs from 4pm until 5.30pm.

The second class runs from 5.30pm until 7pm and the cost is £15 per week. There will also be a two-day introduction to film-making course on April 10 and 11. Classes will run all year round during term time.

Anyone interested in the classes can visit for a booking form.