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Director Brian Yuzna plans Birmingham film academy

Renowned horror specialist who also co-wrote Honey, I Shrunk the Kids says the academy will help teach the next generation of film makers in the city

Pic: LittleWingLost Brian Yuzna
Brian Yuzna

Renowned cult film director and producer Brian Yuzna has unveiled plans to open a specialist horror training academy in Birmingham.

The film maker, famed for his work on horror movies Re-animator and Society as well as family hit Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, outlined his plans to launch the centre during a visit to Birmingham City University.

The academy will be aimed at graduates with some training in the film industry and developed alongside staff from the university's school of media.

Initially, the project will run for a year during which those involved will produce a feature length film to be aired to an international audience.

The academy will be specifically focussed on horror films and students given a crash course in the history of the genre, from the days of silent cinema to current blockbusters, to help shape their movies.

Mr Yuzna has previously ventured into Europe and opened the Fantastic Factory studio in Spain in 2000 which has produced low budget horror, sci-fi and fantasy films with a focus on developing local talent.

He said: "The idea is to co-ordinate with the university to create a course that would result in a feature film that could actually be sold on the general film market.

"We would look at what constitutes a horror or genre movie and how it fits into the history of cinema. Basically, if you don't know the genre you're working in you're at a disadvantage.

"Just as an architectural student needs to understand the style that they're working in, you can't make a movie without context.

"I think Psycho was the film that really knocked it out of the park and kind of established the model for the slasher movie.

"There's a wider acceptance now of horror movies, or what I refer to as ‘genre movies'. I always feel like horror is supposed to be transgressive, there should be something about it that goes over the edge. Horror is the rock and roll of cinema."

Experts at the university have welcomed the new horror training academy.

Dr Xavier Mendik, associate professor in film, said: "We are honoured to be working with an acclaimed genre icon such as Brian Yuzna on this exciting new project which will help train the next generation of horror film talent.

"It is now widely accepted that horror cinema is an important format for exploring wider social trends and tensions but no-one has yet come up with an educational format which sees aspiring film makers taught by established masters of the horror genre."

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