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Meetings start at 7.30pm and finish around 10.00pm

Due to professional commitments, visiting speakers may need to change dates. Please check before travelling long distances


January 5th

Zoom Meeting

Premiere Evening

On this evening we will be viewing and reviewing the 'Mini Epics' shot during the year. Mini Epics are a long-established tradition where we divide into groups or work as individuals to make a short film on a set subject. This year it is "FOOD".

There is still time to create your own 'Mini Epic'. If you are a visitor to our Zoom meetings please join in and submit a film. It is not a competition, just a fun evening. Plenty of time to shoot and edit over Christmas. Need a script? We have a ready-made one specifically written so it can be filmed by a filmmaker on their own. If you would like a copy of it please e-mail

January 19th

Zoom Meeting

Tim Smart :

Acting for the Camera and Directing Actors

All filmmakers should know how to direct actors in their dramas, as well as presenters in their documentaries.

What actually is acting? What makes a good film actor? What is the difference between a stage performance and one for the camera?

Which is easier? Which do actors prefer? What do actors need from the director and crew – and other actors? Whose character is it anyway - the director’s or the actor’s - or the editor’s?

February 2nd

Zoom Meeting - Two part evening

The Making of 'Post Heist’ with Leon Silavant. How do you make a heist movie without actually showing the heist?

And how do you make it look really professional with little or no budget?

Leon Silavant from Reading Film and Video Makers has always wanted to create a heist film and with a team of sixteen actors and crew he worked over the last 18 months to achieve this.

After the Break: Film Trailers

February 16th  

Zoom Meeting : A.G.M.

The Annual General meeting to plan the future.


‘The System Strikes Back' :The making of a Star Wars homage.

April 20th

Zoom Meeting - Films we can make

A review of all the scripts we have planned, as club productions, for the end of lockdown. A considerable number, both documentary and fiction. Including how our national / international membership can be involved.

We will soon be able to start filming as a group(s) again as this s a preview of what we may do. The projects we will review range from full scripted and cast films held over from March 2020, through some full scripts to just concepts and loose ideas.

A lot of our regular attendees live away from Bristol but they can still be involved in future productions even if they cannot attend the shoot. Everything from scripting / graphics / artwork / special effects / CGI / editing / sound effects / music and sound mixing / colour balancing etc. etc. All these can be done remotely so please join us.

We have a wide range of filming plans from 5 minute documentaries to long serious and semi dramatised documentaries. Along ones relying heavily on new graphic techniques.

On the fiction front we have a considerable range of scripts and idea from very short to a major costume production.

Please join us for an evening of looking what we can do as a group.

May 18th

Zoom Meeting : Guest Speaker - Adam Nelson

Adam is from Portsmouth and began filmmaking before the age of ten. He would write short stories based on films he had seen and then make stop motion films based on these with his Dad's VHS camera. He studied both film and media studies at A-level and graduated with a 2:1 in Film Studies. Since then he’s made shorts and features through his Production Company Apple Park Films ( Little Pieces (2015), nominated for a National Film Award, and Emotional Motor Unit (2017) are available to watch on Amazon Video.


March 2nd  

Zoom Meeting : Character Archetypes in a Story

Merlin Goldman will give a presentation on Character Archetypes. The talk will cover what a character archetype is and how it can help us understand the roles certain characters play in film and television. Once we understand them, we can use them ourselves to help us create better stories by creating a richer and more distinct array of characters.

March 16th

Zoom Meeting - Competition Evening

Thalia Goblet and certificate for the winner.The winner will receive the Jack Baker Trophy and a certificate. Second placed film receives the Ivor Wiltshire Memorial Trophy

Details on the Competitions web-page

 The Ten Minute Trophy  

        (any subject, max 10 minutes)

 The Quickie Film Competition (any subject, max 5 minutes).

Download entry form HERE

April 6th   

Zoom Meeting : To twist or not to twist? 10 top tips for short film plots

Mark Harrison takes a look at how short form film dramas are structured and examines what makes the best plots for engaging shorts. 

How important are things like plot twists? How far can you apply the traditional models of feature films when you have limited time (and budget!) to tell your story? 

During the evening, Mark will be showing many examples of best (and sometimes not so best) practice to build up a template for scriptwriting success! 

May 4th  

Zoom Meeting : Larry Hall - Enhancing your work using visual effects

Larry explains how he uses visual effects in his films to add that little extra.

June 1st

Zoom Meeting : Guest Speaker - Adam Etheridge

How do you make Bristol look like the African Savannah?

Local Bristol filmmaker Adam Etheridge will be sharing his professional film making experiences and in particular will talk through his recent short film ‘Poachers’ which amazingly used Bristol locations to look astonishingly like the middle of Africa. His recent short film (aimed at securing budget for a full feature length version) is a high quality action-based thriller and so he is well placed to share with us the secrets of filming action sequences that look amazingly real on a limited budget!

June 15th

Merlin Goldman : What’s that coming over the hill? Is it a monster?

Merlin will follow up his previous talks on Storytelling 101, the Hero’s Journey and Character Archetypes with a discussion on sitcoms. We’ll look at their most common structure and consider why this might be the case. We’ll also use our knowledge of character archetypes and families to go further into what this means for designing an ensemble piece such as The A-Team, Friends or Community. 

July 6th  

A Filming Evening

Our first physical meeting since March 2020. We plan to film four short film scripts.  

July 20th  

Roger Davis : Filming with Drones

The first part of the evening will, weather permitting, consist of drone flying demonstrations by Roger and John Cockwell who will endeavour to the show the power and versatility of these amazing flying cameras.

After the break Roger will outline the minefield that is new 2021 U.K. Drone Regulations and the C.A.A. qualifications that may be obtained to allow both flight in built-up areas and the use of large drones. He will also show a selection of techniques for getting those elusive killer shots whilst flying.


BFVS have an Artists Residency at Ashton Court Mansion for the month of August and will be busy filming for the whole month. All club members are invited to participate in this exciting endeavour.

There will be no club meetings at Filton during August for this reason.

Watch out for e-mails on the BFVS Group about individual filming events.

September 7th

Soco competition entries

Everyone is welcome to come and watch the entertaining films entered in the 2021 SoCo Competition. 

Something for everyone, whether it be drama, documentary, comedy or animation.  A few films you may recognise.

Do you agree with the judges comments?  We can discuss this with other club members.

September 21st   

Guest Speaker - Nicholas Shipley M.B.K.S., I.C.E.

An informal talk on the history and use of zoom lenses from activities of the Royal Society in 1834 with telescopes through to the modern era.  'Depth of field tables' and 'circles of confusion' will all be revealed.

October 5th

Judging Competitions

We enter film competitions, but do we agree with the judges? Why do the judges decide the way they do?

Find out at this meeting when you will participate in a live competition.

Gloucester Filmmakers have asked us to judge their annual competition. On Tuesday we will watch and then discuss, before voting and preparing some notes for the entrants.

From this we will learn the skills of judging films. It will be a truly fascinating evening.

October 19th    


A chance to see some of the best short documentaries EVER made!

7.00pm at the Filton Town Council Pavilion, Elm Park, Filton, Bristol. BS34 7PS. (See )

(Yes, this time will be a ‘live' meeting)


The short documentary is becoming very popular and is increasingly becoming a source of income for documentary makers via YouTube and other social media.

But what makes a great short documentary and what can we learn from the work of top documentary makers from the past and present?

We have got some great examples lined up to show but we’d also like members to come with their own favourite short documentary and explain what makes them so special to them.

We will be happy to source your film (on YouTube or Netflix) and get it ready to show on Tuesday. 

So, if you want to join in and share a favourite short documentary film, just email Mark a link by the end of Sunday and he will get it organised.

Here’s his email:

November 2nd (Zoom Meeting)


Two of our BFVS members, Jim Reed and Tim Smart, both produced remarkable lock down films. In our two parter meeting, both will explain the technicalities behind their two mini masterpieces, Jim’s deep fake-inspired ‘Rip Van Wrinkly’ and Tim’s 'Lockdown Lullaby’.

November 16th  (Zoom meeting!)




Former Head of Social Media for BBC Television, Rowan Kerek Robertson is a Social Media and Digital Media Consultant, Strategist and Trainer with over 15 years wide ranging experience in the field of online communications.

Not surprisingly with that background, she spends much of her professional life advising broadcasters and media and PR agencies about how they can better use social media to get noticed.

Working with BFVS member, Mark Harrison, she is developing a comprehensive course on digital content production and marketing and together they will tell and show you what you need to get your films ranked higher in search engines and on platforms like YouTube, Vimeo and Instagram.

December 7th

Grand Premiere of 2021 club productions

December 21st

A special Christmas event

Larry Hall has recently shared his films at the recent club competition and many commented on the creative use of a range of visual effects within them.

Larry is going to show more of his film catalogue and share his experiences over the years when using a variety of VFX techniques on a wide range of film projects. He will give us an insight into the technologies he uses and the creative decisions he made along the way.

Larry is also a talented musician and makes multitrack music video performances so, as an extra bonus during the evening, we will also get an insight into how he creates the kind of ‘one man’ band music videos that have become so popular during lockdown.

January 18th  7.30 pm

By Zoom

Following on from this year's BFVS productions and in particular the Mini Epics


All aspects - editing, post production, planning and shooting

Discuss the results of this year's Mini Epics

Experience / lessons learnt from the shoot

The edit and sound - what did the editors think of the rushes?

Lessons for the future

Special effects - how did those doing post-production find doing these?

But it is not just Mini Epic, all these lessons apply to Documentaries as well and to larger drama productions.

Taking the lessons into other, bigger productions. Amateurs often have to film against the clock with little or no time for rehearsal, even (or more so) on big productions. Both technical and on the artistic side.


February 1st  7.30 pm

At St Andrews Church, Filton.



Our first meeting in our new, much larger club room, will have two parts. Look round the large main, church, room, the anti-room, the kitchen / cafe area. Think out how we might use these great spaces for filming. Bring your camera to try out angles etc. The room has built in large monitor screens, if you think that you might in the future be showing films / presentations then please bring your lap top (and HDMI cable) to test out the system.

We will then start work on planning our first project of 2022 - to be filmed in the club room. This will include; scripting, storyboarding, planning the lighting etc.

February 15th  7.30 pm

By Zoom

AGM & Premiere

March 1st 7.30 pm

At St Andrews Church, Filton.

Hands on Filmmaking

March 15th 7.30 pm

By Zoom

Making a costume film - Drama & Drama / Doc

April 5th  7.30 pm

At St Andrews Church, Filton.

Hands-on Filmmaking

This evening we will shoot a complete short film. A big crew needed. Very suitable for new and potential members.

April 26th 7.30 pm (Please note - one week later than usual)

By Zoom

The making of ‘Dream Rides’ and ‘The House’.

May 3rd  7.30 pm

At St Andrews Church, Filton.

Filming of ‘High Stakes’. We will shoot the short film we planned in February and March. Big crew needed - plenty to do.

May 17th 7.30 pm

By Zoom

Audio Visual. How does it differ from filmmaking? How is it done.

Presentation by Jill Bunting.

June 7th 7.30 pm

At St Andrews Church, Filton.

Planning the 2022 Mini Epics. When we divide into groups to film short five minute (max) films in a set theme / subject / script. An excellent opportunity to work in a small film crew.

June 21st 7.30 pm

By Zoom

Editing - The Art of

July 5th 6.30 pm

At St Andrews Church, Filton.

180 Minute Challenge This is when we start early at 6.30 pm and divide into small groups to shoot, edit and show the films all in the evening. A really challenging event that in the past, despite the constraints, has produced some great films.

July 19th 7.30 pm

By Zoom

Works in progress, reports on both members films and club productions

August 2nd 7.30 pm

At St Andrews Church, Filton.

Hands on Filmmaking - Shooting a short film(s) - perhaps specifically using drone shots. Filming action eg. a fight etc?

August 16th 7.30 pm

By Zoom

Editing skills, technical skills. Tips including dealing sound from different sources and non-synched.

September 6th 7.30 pm

At St Andrews Church, Filton.

Sound Recording. Practical demonstrations and experiments including how to record in difficult situations.

September 20th 7.30 pm

By Zoom

Guest Speaker

October 4th 7.30 pm

At St Andrews Church, Filton.

Lighting demonstration. Including unorthodox methods, lighting difficult situations and people on the move.

October 18th 7.30 pm

By Zoom

Competition Evening inc Annual Trophy

November 1st 7.30 pm

At St Andrews Church, Filton.

Experimenting with on-set effects etc

November 15th 7.30 pm

By Zoom

Guest Speaker

December 6th 7.30 pm

At St Andrews Church, Filton.

An early Christmas fun evening

December 20th 7.30 pm

By Zoom

Grand Premiere of films shot this year