Film-Crewe puts town in 'the limelight'

August 13, 2010

Chris EllisonChris Ellison – famous for his role as DCI Frank Burnside in the popular ITV police series The Bill – arrived in Crewe today (13 August) to guide and instruct young film-makers as part of the latest feature film project by The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy (BYFA).

More than 150 young people enrolled in The Co-operative BYFA five-week residential summer camp to work on its latest production ‘The Limelight”.

Filmed at the M Club, Crewe, the full-length feature film is described as a dark and gritty tale that provides a reality-check for today’s TV talent-show generation.

The Co-operative Group’s £500,000, three-year support for the BYFA, is an integral part of its Inspiring Young People Campaign - designed to open up new ways for the next generation to seize opportunities and change their world for the better. The partnership will allow more than 3,000 students, from 14 years of age through to postgraduate levels of education, to experience the various aspects of professional feature film production.
Supported by mentors with backgrounds in industry and education, everything from camera to makeup and from wardrobe to post-production is offered to students to enhance their CVs and help them make informed decisions about future education or career choices.

Michael Fairclough, Head of Community and Campaigns at The Co-operative Group, said: “These summer schools represent a real opportunity for young people to develop new skills and the confidence to pursue a career in film.

The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy logo“For those who want to break into the film industry, bridging the gap between education and practical experience is critically important. The Co-operative BYFA seeks to give all interested students, no matter what their background or ability, the opportunity to experience first-hand the thrills and challenges that a career in film could bring, as well as helping prepare them for further education or future employment.”

Becky Smith, from Crewe, who studies at South Cheshire College and plays the lead role of ‘Sally’ in the film, said of the experience: “It’s given me the opportunity to see how the professional industry works and to develop my own skills as an individual and performer. I have met amazing people who I believe will be tomorrow’s influences in the film industry. This opportunity has changed me forever and I know it will provide the foundation for my future career - I can’t begin to thank The Co-operative BYFA for this uniquely brilliant experience.”

Kevin Atkinson, Senior Manager for The Co-operative BYFA and Executive Producer for the ‘The Limelight’, said: “I have worked in the professional performance industry and the education sector for nearly two decades and have never stop being amazed at the brilliance young people have and bring to work. I feel incredibly privileged and proud to be involved in facilitating and supporting their development and growth. They grow as people as much as they do as film-makers; being allowed to witness first hand tomorrow’s brilliance today is a very special place to be”

The Co-operative BYFA allows young people to benefit from the skills and experiences of established actors and industry professionals. Learning by doing, students make professional standard feature films to showcase their own creative talents.

In addition to the summer camps, The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy offers training all year round for young people and educators, for more information visit

Additional Information

The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy (BYFA) - From camera to wardrobe, and from acting to post-production, its students work with professional filmmakers on a real film set to produce quality full-length feature films. Regardless of background, connections or educational achievement, students are given the skills, confidence and the all-important experience to develop as filmmakers. Throughout their time at the Summer School, the students get workshops in all the different areas of film making provided by experienced professionals - some of which have come through the ranks of BYFA and now revel in being able to give back to others. For more information visit

The Co-operative Group stands apart from other major retailers in the UK as a business which is owned, not by a small group of shareholders, but by more than five million consumers. With core interests in food, financial services, travel, pharmacy, funerals and farms, it has an annual turnover of £14 billion, employs 123,000 staff and operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets handling more than 20 million weekly transactions.  

Following the acquisition of the Somerfield supermarket chain in March 2009, The Co-operative Food is the fifth largest food retailer. The Co-operative Financial Services is one of the largest and most diversified financial mutual businesses, operating The Co-operative Bank, The Co-operative Insurance and Britannia.
The Co-operative is the UK’s number one provider of funeral services, the third largest retail pharmacy chain, a leading travel retailer, supplying the travel needs of more than three million people annually, and is the UK’s largest farmer.

Among its other businesses are The Co-operative Motor Group, The Co-operative Electrical Shop and The Co-operative Legal Services.


For further information contact:

Andrew Torr
The Co-operative Group Press Office
T: 0161 827 5622

Kevin Atkinson
Communications & Operations Manager – The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy
T: 0161 247 5496
M: 07967 823363