Our Journey


From award winning shorts to transformative education and training, Calling the Shots have always aimed to make a difference to the lives of participants and audiences.

Follow the journey of our first 20 years below



New Creatives (2019)

A new training and development scheme in partnership with BBC Arts and Arts Council England; over two years we will be producing 60 audio works, 38 short films and 4 interactive works by young people aged 16-30 for BBC Platforms.

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Exploring Diagnosis (2018)

Between 2017 and 2019 Calling the Shots worked with four self-identified autistic artists from Canada, USA and Cornwall to facilitate new animation skills.  Artists responded to a series of research interviews conducted by the University of Exeter as part of a Wellcome-funded project aiming to explore the role that diagnosis plays in society and in medicine, using autism spectrum disorder as a case study.

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Inhale (2017)

Calling the Shots partnered the Open Society Foundation (LINK) to deliver a programme of training and development to BAME young people studying at Cotham School, in Bristol, UK.
Students worked with writer Edson Burton and director Rob Mitchell to develop an honest, funny and poignant drama about friendship and loss.

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SYNC.SW (2016)

Production scheme Random Acts identified a large group of young creatives across the South West of England wanting to connect with each other and write about film.  Random Acts alumni Theo Watkins, Megan Domaille and Al Hodgson
developed Sync SW as a platform for young writers and bloggers to discuss film and film makers.

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Random Acts (2015)

In partnership with the Arts Council and Channel 4, CTS will produce 72 films directed by young people aged 16-24 over the next three years.

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BFI Animation Camp (2014)

This national camp, for 30 young people aged 16-19, is part of the BFI’s Film Academy programme which gives young people a chance to develop skills for further study or for a career in film.

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Robert Hart (2013)

A 30 minute documentary for the University of Bristol exploring the forgotten history of Britain’s role in supporting the Imperial Court in Peking in the early 1900s at a time when most foreign interests were treated with great suspicion. Filmed in Shanghai and across the UK, this film explores this turbulent period.

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The Future Cemetery (2012)

Building on the relationship developed with Arnos Vale in 2010 and now in partnership with the University of Bath’s Centre for Death and Dying, the Future Cemetery consortium has gone on develop a series of innovative mobile apps to help visitors explore the cemetery.

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Second Light (2011)

A two-year project that supported 11 young people from Bristol’s BME communities to develop a career in the media. Five trainees went on to work in the industry or entered full time education. Trainees worked as a team to create five short films and undertook a variety of industry work-placements.


Arnos Vale Heritage Centre (2010)

Initially commissioned to make three exhibition films, this project developed into being a further suite of ten films for web and DVD distribution. CTS delivered films that included a re-enactment of a Victorian funeral and aerial filming to showcase this remarkable Victorian monument.


Full House International Exchange Project (2009)

This youth exchange filmmaking project saw 15 young people from Bristol work alongside 15 from Hanover in Germany and 15 from Posnan in Poland over two years to devise, write and shoot a drama about youth migration.


Digital Shorts, Hilary Flamingo (2008)

This colourful short film explored one young woman’s imaginary world, and was directed by (and starred) Harriet Fleuriot, who won the Audience Award at Encounters Festival.


Severn Stories (2007)

CTS emphasised their ability to scale production and switch genre with this 7 x 30′ series for ITV West. Presented by One Show regular, Marty Jopson, the programmes took viewers on a Coast-like journey along the longest river in the UK. Think history, nature and people and you get the picture.


BBC3 New Film Maker Awards (2006)

This competitive scheme, run by BBC3 and with a first prize of £3000, attracted some of the best young directing and acting talent in the UK. One of the films, ‘Say Sorry’, directed by Camille Griffin, starred actress Heike Makatsch, who later that year appeared in Love Actually.


Streaming Stories (2005)

Working in partnership with Cre8 in Swindon, CTS devised this innovative online community of local people, supporting them to create short films and photograph and write about their lives. Over a hundred residents of Swindon, from groups that included the Caribbean Pensioners Lunch Club, young people in care and a mental health survivors group, shared their experiences of living in the city.


Our Lives with Horses (2004)

Commissioned by Bristol Natural History Consortium, CTS supported a group of eight young Roma travelers to make a film that explores traveler culture and the community’s relationship with horses.


Mini Masterpieces (2003)

Funded by the BBC, Mini Masterpieces 2003 established a long-standing partnership with Encounters Festival, setting out to offer new filmmaking talent a first experience of working with a professional producer. In various guises, it’s a model that led to the creation of over 40 short films, launching the careers of a significant cohort of filmmakers.

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First Byte (2002)

Two short dramas created by emerging filmmakers and one of our first forays into what we now think of as ‘Talent Development’. One of the films, ‘Red’, offers a modern take on the Red Riding Hood story in an impressively shot package.


First Light (2001)

Working in partnership with Somerset Film and Video, we produced eight short films in the inaugural round of the UK Film Council’s First Light scheme. First Light set out to partner groups of young people with professional filmmakers. Looking back at the films now, they represent an amazing insight into the lives of young people at the turn of the millennium.


Romeo and Juliet at the Meriton (2000)

The Meriton, an off-site school support unit, helps young parents to continue their education. CTS delivered a week of drama workshops, set and prop-making and filming to enable the group to produce a modern re-working of Shakespeare’s classic love story.


Curzon Film Crew (1999)

CTS worked with the Curzon Cinema and the Barn Youth Centre in Clevedon to support a team of young newsreel producers, producing a monthly newsreel for the cinema about young people’s concerns in the town. The team also produced short adverts for local businesses.


Stray (1998)


One of our very first projects, and still one we are particularly proud of, ‘Stray’, shot on super 16, was made for Encounters Festival’s Film in the Community project. We worked with Bread Youth Project to create a powerful drama that explored some of the groups’ experiences of being homeless.