Approach to Brief

The Golden Owl Awards is a filmmaking competition for 3-19* year olds living in the city of Leeds. The Golden Owls celebrates the best of young people’s filmmaking across the city and offers an opportunity for young people of all ages and backgrounds to see their work on a big screen in front of an audience of friends, parents, carers, teachers, filmmaking professionals and other young film enthusiasts.

The competition opens for entries each September and closes in January. Working with schools, community groups and clubs we engage children and young people from all walks of life in filmmaking as well as showing teachers/leaders how it supports the teaching of the national curriculum.

The purpose and objectives of the Golden Owls have been consistent throughout the competitions’ four year tenure, with progressive improvement and development seen year on year. The key objectives of the Golden Owls are:

• For all partners – Encouraging more young people to take part in filmmaking

• For ArtForms – Promotion of art forms and media for young people across the city of Leeds

• For Vista – Increase recruitment/retention of staff from local area to 90% by 2016

• For Vista – Extend enterprise opportunities for students at our partner school, Swallow Hill Community College

• For Vista – Offer greater opportunities for staff training and development in events management

• For Vista – Promote our Film service across the city of Leeds

Creative Solution

As Leeds Young Film Festival is part of Leeds International Film Festival, which is one of the only UK festivals that can nominate in The Academy Awards (or Oscars), all partners feel it is important that this opportunity be offered to the young generation of Leeds in order to open up filmmaking as a worthwhile and accessible activity for all.

Categories were created for groups, individuals, community groups and schools to allow as broad a demographic of entrants as possible. Entry to the competition is free, and fourteen hours of judging by a range of film industry experts ensured that every entrant was given feedback on their film, whether they were shortlisted or not.

Artforms are allocated £5000 for the competition and award ceremony, with Leeds Town Hall offering the venue and stewards for free. All additional resources were provided or sought by Vista (estimated £50,000 over four years.)

Impact and Effectiveness


• 2,400 children and young people have been involved with Golden Owls over four years

• 29 primary schools, five high schools and two special schools have taken part Golden Owls since its inception

• Although the total number of films entered fell slightly in 2014 (by 3.5% from 2013) the number of young people involved in the competition rose by 64% (891 entrants)

• 15 high school students have had direct experience of events thanks to Golden Owls, with excellent feedback from teachers and carers

• 36% of Vista employees that have worked on Golden Owls have gone on to promotion following their experience

• 10.7% rise (2014 – 2015) in number of Vista employees from the local area (10 mile radius) and one member of staff employed directly via Golden Owls (work experience)

• Vista are Leeds City Council Children’s Services current ‘Partner of the Year’ for Golden Owls project