Case Study: Alternative Filmmakers’ Club

College
College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
School / Department
Lincoln School of Film Media and Journalism
Lead(s)
Rachel Scarrott – Senior Lecturer in Film Production and LSFMJ Neurodiversity Lead
Start and End Dates (where applicable)
March 2023 – ongoing
Innovation Case Study Categories
Student Engagement / Student As Producer

Inspired by Chris Packham’s ‘Inside Our Autistic Minds’ TV series, an Alternative Filmmakers’ Club has been established in the Lincoln School of Film, Media and Journalism for neurodiverse filmmakers. The club enables members to create projects together, work within a calm and inclusive environment, be supported, mentored and engage with both student led film projects and staff-led ‘student as producer’ initiatives.

Film Production is a collaborative creative process, involving many small and large group productions. Neurodiverse students may sometimes struggle socially with group work, which can often force them into the less desirable film roles, and communication issues can lead to them withdrawing…and sometimes lead to discontinuing their studies.

The club meets weekly for a drop-in session to drink tea, eat biscuits and chat about films, pitch and discuss documentary and film ideas, and collaborate on film projects. Working with other colleagues, students are offered script and production support, feedback and mentorship, alongside invited alumni and third year students acting as mentors for group projects.  

As of November 2023, students have been supported to apply for student initiative funding (for their filmmaking activities) as well as internship applications to enhance their employability. 

The group are also involved in Student as Producer EIG projects, creating 360VR dramatisations to help train NHS staff about autism in the workplace. This has directly involved neurodiverse crew from the Club and actors from the School of Performing Arts. Plans are also in place to take the group out for field trips, which will include The Noise Academy in Lincoln to learn more about, and film DJ-ing.  

Alt FM logo Web Banner for LALT Website
The logo for the club.

In conjunction with the club, filmmaking neurodiversity awareness videos are being introduced into production module groups, along with a formal process for all students to declare their access needs before groupwork proceeds.  

The Alternative Filmmakers’ Club is already having an impact with 20 members joining since inception, expressing an interest from Film Production, Media Production, Journalism, Sound Production and even Law programmes, enabling students to collaborate and create together – with three scripts already developed that are due to go into production shortly.  

Students have said that the club is the highlight of their week and two students have been inspired to set up further networking scriptwriter and filmmaker mentoring groups.