Why RAFT?

Robinson is immensely proud of its vibrant alumni community, many of whom are working in Film and TV in a range of areas from writing to acting and production. RAFT provides a focus and a forum for this group and can harness their experience and advice for students seeking to follow their lead.

Purpose

Robinson Alumni Film and Television Group (RAFT) aims to:

  • Bring together Robinson alumni who work in the film and television industries in any capacity with current students to create a community around common professional interests
  • Participate in events aimed at socialising the knowledge and experience within the Robinson community
  • Provide guidance to current students and alumni on issues relating to working in film and television, through informal mentorship and other channels
  • Stimulate paid work experience and internship opportunities for Robinson students in the creative economies, and otherwise open doors for students seeking to break into the media sector

Forthcoming events

New series of events is being planned for Michaelmas 2021 term.

Past events

  • Film and Television Production Workshop

Co-hosted by:   Brickhouse Theatre Company (Alex Lindsay) and RAFT (Sandra del Valle Casals)

Brickhouse Theatre Company, together with Robinson College Alumni Film and Television Group (RAFT), offered this exclusive opportunity for Robinson students to get together with TV Development Assistant Producer, Film Production Assistant and Robinson alumna Anna Keeley to talk about how she broke into the industry and how you could do the same.

This informal, interactive workshop on held online on Wednesday 5 May covered the questions facing any aspiring film/TV executive – or anyone unsure about how to put their love of film or storytelling to good use – such as:

  • I’ve never considered a career in film or media before, why might I consider producing?
  • What do early-stage production jobs look like across film, TV and film festivals?
  • What is production all about, why is it interesting and what skills or interests does it speak to?
  • How do I look for jobs in these areas?
  • How do I develop my own projects?
  • How should I approach job interviews and job applications?
  • What about internship opportunities?
  • What personal and professional development steps can I take now?
  • Is it important to build a network in the industry?
  • What does the whole thing actually feel like in those first few years post-graduation?

Event speaker: Anna Keeley (MML, 2014)

Anna is a new producer who has worked in a variety of early production roles in Film, TV and Film Festivals since graduating in 2018. After leaving Cambridge, she worked in Mexico City as a Development Coordinator and Production Assistant at Mexican Academy-Award winning film company Agencia Bengala. On returning to the UK, she worked as Producer of Watersprite, the UK’s largest BIFA-qualifying student film festival in Cambridge and has since freelanced as a script-reader at Escape Plan Productions (Saint Maud, The Origin), Development Assistant-Producer of factual-entertainment TV at Nevision, and a translator for Mexican documentary director Luis Rincón’s projects. Anna is currently working in VFX production at Untold Studios, while producing several short film projects. She is also a ScreenSkills x Talent Manager “Crossroads” Mentee with BBC Comedy Producer, Inez Gordon, and a Lionsgate Mentee with Marc Lorber, Senior Vice-President of International Co-Productions at Lionsgate.

  • Talk and Q&A with Lola Adesioye (2000, SPS) - British, US-based social and political commentator, broadcaster and writer

"Perception, Power, Representation and Diversity in the Media: a comparative approach between the UK and the US"

RAFT held a successful and captivating second event on 6 March 2021. Lola Adesioye introduced us to the media's role in shaping public perceptions, paying particular attention to what this meant - both presently and historically - when it came to media-driven portrayals of oppressed and disadvantaged groups. Lola also explained why - given how powerful the media is - representation and diversity in this sphere were increasingly important for advancing social progress, expanding social, political and cultural thought, and driving action. She drew on her understanding of and experience in both British and American media. 

Having read Social and Political Science at Robinson, Lola discussed her journey into the media world and offered valuable advice on how to progress a career as a freelancer. She revealed some pitching techniques and strategies for those looking to break into the job market.

Lola commented on the ways her political engagement during her time at Cambridge both as Anti-Racism Officer for the Cambridge University Student Union, and as Ethnic Minorities Officer for the College, had inspired much of her activist vocation at the heart of her work and contributed to building her career.

You can watch the recording of the RAFT launch event by clicking on the image below.

Event speaker: Lola Adesioye

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lola Adesioye is a social and political writer, commentator and broadcaster, having spent her career at the intersection of culture, society and politics, with the aim of advancing newer, broader, diverse perspectives and using the media, culture and creativity as tools for social good and social change.

Lola's life experience as a Black British-born US-based woman of Nigerian descent has given her a unique perspective which she aims to bring to everything she does.

Born and raised in London, England, the daughter of parents from Nigeria, Lola has lived in New York City since 2007. She is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, holding undergraduate (Bachelor of Arts) and postgraduate (Masters) degrees in Social and Political Science (with Italian and Spanish). She has travelled extensively, and has lived in post-apartheid South Africa.

For the past 14 years, she has been a vocal and active participant-observer of American society and politics. Lola's opinion, commentary and analysis of American race relations, current affairs, society, politics and culture have been published in a number of international publications including The Guardian, the Economist, CNN.com, The New Statesman, the Huffington Post, the Sunday Times, Forbes Africa, The Independent, The Atlantic and many others.

She provides opinion and commentary for American and international TV and Radio networks such as the BBC, Sky News, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post Live, CNN, BET and MSNBC. Lola is also a regular participant on the weekly Sunday Open Line current affairs, news and politics show on WBLS1075 Radio in New York.

Lola was formerly the founding Deputy Editor of NBC’s African-American news site, TheGrio.com, and was previously Contributing Editor at AOL Black Voices (now part of the Huff Post). She has been described as “one of Nigeria’s top 10 wordsmiths” and “one of 11 sharp black commentators in America”. 

Over the years, Lola has hosted and facilitated high-level interviews and conversations for a variety of major social and politically-oriented organisations including the Congressional Black Caucus, the US-Africa Business Summit, Live@Work (interviewing Etsy and AirBnb) and TedX (host). She also speaks to students at schools and colleges, both in the US and internationally, and consults for brands and businesses on equity, diversity and inclusion.

Lola was a music scholar at James Allen's Girl's School in South London, as well as the Head Girl both there and at Rosemead Prep School. Leadership is something Lola is also very passionate about.

After graduating from Cambridge University - where she was very involved in student politics and was elected twice to the Cambridge University Student Union as Anti-Racism Officer, as well as representing her college as Ethnic Minorities Officer - and prior to moving to New York, Lola worked in the music industry at Warner Music and Ministry of Sound and put on large scale international concerts for brands including Nokia.

In addition to the importance of activism and advocacy for legislative and policy changes, Lola strongly believes in the power of education, the arts and entrepreneurship as vehicles for social, political and cultural change.

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Host

Sandra del Valle Casals is a PhD Candidate in Latin American Studies at Robinson College, Cambridge University. Her current research looks at the representation of migration and notions of citizenship in post-dictatorship contemporary Chilean cinema. As a film producer, Sandra’s credits include Camaleón by Jorge Riquelme, internationally premiered at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival in the first feature competition. Among her latest publications are chapters in the published books Afrocubanas: History, Thought, and Cultural Practices (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2020), and A Cuban Cinema Companion (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2020).

 

  • RAFT launch event, 30 January 2021, 4pm 

“Career Paths in the Film & TV Industry: Post-Pandemic Insights”

RAFT held a successful and interesting inaugural event on Saturday 30 January 2021. Konnie Huq, Saul Metzstein,  Jonny Persey and Isabella Wing-Davey shared their thoughts about their careers, what influenced their decisions to follow particular career paths and what helped and motivated them along the way. They spoke about how the pandemic had impacted their professional lives and the outlook for the film and television industry in the post-Covid-19 era.

You can watch the recording of the RAFT launch event by clicking on the image below.

Event speakers

Konnie Huq (1993, Economics), is one of Britain’s most loved presenters. She was Blue Peter’s longest serving female presenter from 1997-2008 and since then has gone on to present shows including The Xtra Factor, King of the Nerds and London Talking to name a few. She is also a brilliant interviewer, having given J.K. Rowling her first ever interview in 1997 and Malala and Ziauddin Yousafzai at Central Hall Westminster on the publication of Ziauddin's book, Let Her Fly. In 2018, Konnie signed a 3-book deal for a children’s series with Piccadilly Press. This will be her first foray into children’s books and the main character is inspired by Konnie’s own London Bangladeshi background and her love of science and being a bit nerdy. Konnie also co-wrote the second installment of the successful and critically acclaimed Channel 4 series Black Mirror. She is currently an ambassador for the Princes’ Trust and the British Asian Trust.

Saul Metzstein (1989, Architecture), is an award-winning director of two feature films, and the 2nd unit director of a few more. He has directed dozens of episodes of TV drama, as well as the occasional documentary and advert. He studied Architecture at Robinson, graduating in 1992.

 

 

 

Jonny Persey (1988, SPS), is the Director of MetFilm, a unique organisation based in Ealing Studios, which comprises the UK's largest film school and an award-winning feature film production and sales company. He is passionate about creating and maintaining a valuable and industry-relevant educational system, spearheading the synergy between the group’s separate facets to offer students the best learning experience possible. He gets a buzz from watching our graduates win work, runs projects, and apply their trade in film, television, online, and across the creative industries in the UK and beyond. Jonny has over 25 years’ experience in producing films, and his credits reveal an eclectic mix of thought-provoking, inquisitive and entertaining titles.  He and his team have produced numerous documentaries, including Sundance prize-winners How to Change the World and The Reason I Jump; Grierson winner Deep Water, BIFA nominated The Great Hip-Hop HoaxTown of RunnersDonor Unknown, and School in the Cloud. He has also produced, or exec produced a series of fiction films, including most recently The Mercy based on our documentary Deep Water, and Swimming with Men based on our documentary Men Who Swim as well as other award-winning feature films including The Infidel written by David Baddiel, Little Ashes starring Robert Pattinson, and Wondrous Oblivion. Having studied psychology at Cambridge University and worked for several years as a youth worker and organisational development consultant, Jonny produced his first feature film, Everyone’s Child, in Zimbabwe in 1996. He then went on to study at the National Film & Television School where he produced a series of acclaimed short films both through the school and independently.

Isabella Wing-Davey (2004, History), is an award-winning filmmaker and the New York Film Festival  Artist Academy Fellow. After getting her Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University Grad Film, she worked in production and development for Philip Seymour Hoffman. Stand Still premiered at BFI London Film Festival 2019 and won Best UK Short at Link International Film Festival and was nominated for Best UK short at Sheffield Shorts and Birmingham Film Festival. The Rain Collector (2015) starred Hermione Norris and played at festivals around the world before premiering online with MoMI NY (The Museum of the Moving Image New York), and is now on Amazon Prime. Upcoming projects include a feature about a Brooklyn neuroscientist with Park Pictures and a period feature with BAFTA-winning Producer Emily Morgan. She is part of Cinesisters and is represented by Independent Talent.

Host

Sandra del Valle Casals is a PhD Candidate in Latin American Studies at Robinson College, Cambridge University. Her current research looks at the representation of migration and notions of citizenship in post-dictatorship contemporary Chilean cinema. As a film producer, Sandra’s credits include Camaleón by Jorge Riquelme, internationally premiered at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival in the first feature competition. Among her latest publications are chapters in the published books Afrocubanas: History, Thought, and Cultural Practices (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2020), and A Cuban Cinema Companion (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2020).