STUDENTS who have difficulties attending mainstream education premiered their first film yesterday.

The youngsters, aged 12 to 16, from Wizard Education saw the film, entitled Killer Tortoise, also submitted for a national award through Into Film, supported by professional mentors from the film industry.

The students created, directed and produced the film, a spoof horror, and were inspired by the research they were doing about their school premises — the old George pub in Eastcott Hill.

Headteacher Jo McAree said: “The students interviewed several local people about their memories of the pub and one or two mentioned that previous tenants had kept a tortoise in the garden but that it kept escaping. Others mentioned that there had once been a cellar here.”

Support teacher Lee Cain added: “The students’ creativity and imagination did the rest. They had some great fun building props, making fake blood, acting and using all the real life sound and camera equipment that was kindly loaned to us.”

Working with Keith Phillips, a director from Ideal Films in Swindon, and James Eddings from Inner Sound Creative Development, the students learned about all aspects of creating their own film and accompanying music and sound effects. They even came up with a fun rap that plays over the credits.

They enjoyed the experience so much they are setting up a film club that will start in the autumn.

It was the first time Wizard had run a project like this but they hope to do it again soon. From September, they will be changing what they do as a school and will be focussing on 16- to 19-year-old foundation training for those that find mainstream post-16 options difficult. But there will continue to be a variety of engagement workshops and training places available, for example in music production and possibly more films.

l Anyone interested in finding out more about the film club, future film-making projects, and any of the foundation learning or engagement programmes offered by Wizard can either call 07747 804487 or visit www.wizard