Soho-based VFX studio Freefolk has launched the fourth annual Futurefolk competition, their initiative to nurture, inspire and kick-start the careers of the next generation of VFX talent.

An ever increasing demand for VFX in film, TV and commercials has created a global shortage of people with the right skills and industry experience so the Futurefolk mission is to spot talent from all VFX disciplines.

The one month paid internship will allow experience within Freefolk Commercials and Freefolk Film & Episodic, in either the 2D or 3D department. The scheme will again result in one female-identifying and one male-identifying VFX student being offered a placement.

Freefolk, Managing Director, Vittorio Giannini commented on the company’s commitment to Futurefolk, “We all know how crucial it is to discover the VFX experts of the future and this initiative allows us to find the talent and nurture it. Covid and remote working has had a major impact on entry level and junior artists. The development and career progression of this group has been stalled so through Futurefolk and our existing junior staff, it’s our duty to do all we can to reverse this.”

Due to Covid restrictions last year’s internship was fully remote but despite being unable to experience the facility environment the winners still felt the opportunity gave them invaluable industry insight that is traditionally very hard to come by.

The Futurefolkers of 2020 were Carina Carlsson and Daniel Evans. At the time of application Carina was completing her Digital Effects MA at the NFTS and Daniel undergraduate at Bournemouth university studying Computer Animation and digital effects.

Carina explains her Futurefolk experience. I feel very fortunate that I was able to do this internship with Freefolk as many of my classmates now weren’t as lucky and the lockdown massively affected their ability to gain industry experience via an internship since many companies didn’t run theirs last year.

I really appreciated how much my mentor checked in, through a combination of both calls and messaging via Google Hangout. I was able to learn so much and as some of it was written in the chat, I was able to make a lot of notes too, which was helpful when reviewing the skills I was learning. The use of screenshots to give feedback was also a really useful means of communicating so I could easily see the specific areas of the shot the feedback was for.”

Daniel had this to say, “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Freefolk. It taught me a lot about how a professional production team work together to achieve the end product and overcome challenges along the way. It was an enlightening experience that I feel very lucky to have had, especially during these extraordinary times.

For anyone thinking of entering this year I’d say, focus on your reel and portfolio, doing as much as you can in your own time. Your own projects are what will make you stand out amongst others.”

With the growing need for VFX the shortage of artists is steadily increasing and gaining workplace experience is invaluable. Neil Hatton, Chief Executive, UK Screen Alliance explains, “The demands of content creators are really ramping up as we exit the pandemic and so the need to grow the VFX workforce with highly skilled and talented people is ever more important. Freefolk’s paid internship programme is the ideal opportunity for someone to get a foot in the door and gain the experience they need to build a rewarding career in VFX”.

The initiative is open to all VFX students – pre and post graduate, so whether you’re a budding animator, CG generalist, FX TD or a superstar comper, you need to compile a two minute reel of your best work to be in with a chance of winning a one-month paid work placement.

This year’s placement will be either remote, at the studio, or a combination of both with timing to work best for all. If your talent makes the grade you’ll be invited to meet the Freefolk team and convince them that you are the right person to win the chance to learn from award winning VFX professionals on both TV and commercial projects.

Deadline for submissions is midnight August 1st 2021. You can apply to via the Freefolk website.

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