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Seventeen-year-old director finds festival success with NYFA SetReady film 

Seventeen-year-old director Luke Couch has found festival success with the film his group made on the SetReady course this summer.   

The comedy short film, The Culture Club, has received a handful of selections including Birmingham Film Festival.

“The idea for Culture Club came about on the first day of the SetReady course when I suggested we should do something about a cult, which would allow a large cast and an interesting story,” said Luke, who is studying in Yorkshire. 

The SetReady Course brings together filmmakers and actors to produce a short film, with the National Youth Film Academy giving guidance, equipment and funding to help make the project. The organisation later screens the final movie to family and friends at a cinema in London.     

Luke explained that originally he wanted it to be more of a horror, but somebody suggested what if the cult didn’t know what their cult was about. 

“We loved this idea and over the next two days we improvised this situation with the actors, with building characters that showcased the abilities of each individual actor,” explained Luke. 

Luke added the improv also built chemistry between the actors which helped the onscreen performance. On the third day the writer took all these ideas away and brought back a cohesive script. Over the next week the cast and crew filmed, edited and screened the Culture Club.

While everyone on Luke’s team were happy with the film and experience during the course in August, they didn’t want the journey of the film to end there. They decided they wanted to send the film off to several film festivals.

“The group thought it had potential to go further, we were really proud with what we had made,” said Luke.  

“So everyone in the group put a bit of money in, and we had enough to submit to six festivals, which we have got into about three, including Birmingham Film Festival, where we were also nominated for best young filmmaker.”

Birmingham Film Festival, which took place in early November, was Luke’s first experience of going to a festival with his own project in the programme. 

“There was a photowall and we saw Culture Club on a massive screen, it was also wonderful to see the whole cast and crew again,” said Luke.

Luke is now making a horror feature, with people he met on the SetReady Course. He said: “Its going to take us a few months but filming is going well so far!”

The young director first heard about the course when a friend sent him a link to the course website. “I have had an amazing experience with all of it,” said Luke. 

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