Mr Ekkel is of course, busy preparing for the upcoming BFAs (BISS Puxi Film Awards) which will be held on Thursday 21 April from 6pm to 8pm, with a drinks reception from 5.30pm.
1) What do you love most about teaching Media and Film?
Seeing students’ ideas begin on a page and then turn into fully-realised films is something magical. It takes as long to make a short film as it does to put on a theatre performance and our students have produced some outstanding films this year. I’m constantly amazed at the innovative approaches that our talented students take to their work.
2) What is your educational background, both academically and career wise?
I studied English Literature at Cardiff University, with hopes of becoming a writer. After university, I set my heart on working in the media and spent time working at MTV Europe and Sky News, then as an assistant editor on several film productions, including The Mummy Returns and a James Bond film. I took a break and gained a teaching qualification, working in London for several years. I then worked for a while as a tutor to child actors in film and TV. I was fortunate to travel around the world working with the young cast of films such as Defiance, Harry Potter and TV’s Outnumbered and Benidorm.
3) Can you tell me more about the BFA’s? What is the aim of the event and when was it first held?
The school has held annual screenings of IB coursework films since before I joined (in 2012). However, I adapted this into a film awards show two years ago, adding GCSE coursework films and making the event a red carpet, black-tie affair to bring a touch of showbiz to BISS Puxi! We host the event the week before the Year 13s and Year 11s go on study leave, so my hope is to make the students feel like movie stars for the night by celebrating their hard work and sharing the films with their parents and peers.
This year, we will screen all 21 coursework films produced by our talented Year 11 and Year 13 students and the best work will receive awards. It’s a free event for pupils in Year 7 upwards – and staff and parents too, of course. We hope that guests will enter into the spirit of the event and dress up formally (though school uniform is also fine)! The audience will also get the chance to vote for the Best Film award.
And now for some light-hearted questions
4) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Perhaps Paris, a film-lover’s dream
5) If you could get a selfie with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
A photograph is always ruined by my presence. However, I would put this aside for a pic with Harrison Ford or Steven Spielberg, though I would NEVER use a selfie-stick.
6) If you weren’t a teacher, what alternative career path do you think you would have taken and why?
I was fortunate to work in my dream job in my younger days as an assistant film editor on several films. But I’ve always fancied running a Charles Dickens-themed pub, perhaps called Bar Humbug.
7) If you could choose one actor to star as you in a film, who would you choose and why?
A tough question. Daniel Craig and Ryan Reynolds aren’t handsome enough. Perhaps Chewbacca, or Tom Cruise standing on a box.
8) What’s your favourite restaurant in Shanghai?
Lost Heaven has some special memories for me and I enjoy Glo London for a taste of home.
9) What 3 things could you not live without in Shanghai?
English football on my internet TV, cheap DVDs and Yang’s Dumplings.
10) Have you got anything exciting planned for the summer break?
Hopefully a break from marking coursework by taking a driving tour of Ireland with the new Mrs Ekkel.
Thank you for your time Mr Ekkel. Who will be in the Getting to Know You spotlight next week?
Ryan Kealey, Marketing and Events Manager