McKellen hails budding film talent
Sir Ian McKellen has hailed the First Light Awards for demonstrating budding film talent in Britain's youth - and for showing that young people can work together.
The veteran actor and Lord Of The Rings star presented the Best Screenplay award to teenagers Alexander Maver and Ian Sutherland, who won for their short film Backfire, at the Odeon cinema in London's Leicester Square on Tuesday.
McKellen said: "You don't want to be patronising to young people because they're doing something now that I couldn't do myself, I've no idea about how to function behind a camera - I think it's wonderful for children to have the opportunity to make films and get involved if they want to."
He added: "But I hope part of what they enjoy is doing it together. The great thing about making films is it's a communal activity and that the young people want to work together is perhaps contrary to the image of young people as being loners who are out to destroy the rest of us."
First Light, whuch is supported by the National Lottery through the UK Film Council and by DCSF, provides funding and expertise to enable five to 19-year-olds to make their own short digital films and media projects.
Sir Ian said: "I don't think First Light should be looked at as training people to go into the business, but if that happens, terrific.
"It's the unspoken truth about the theatre, and now increasingly the film industry, that underpinning the professionals are the amateurs, which is what these guys are at the moment - enthusiasts."