Former student works on new Sam Mendes film

3rd October 2022

A former Digital Media Production student from Stratford-upon-Avon College has completed work on the new Sam Mendes Film, Empire of Light.

As part of her university studies, Layla O’Callaghan, who studied on the Digital Media Production course from 2019 – 2021, had to apply for various practical placements and was thrilled to have landed a placement as a PA for the Assistant Directing team on the film.

Empire of Light, directed by Sam Mendes – who has previously directed several Bond films, American Beauty, 1917 and more, stars a whole host of A-list actors including Olivia Coleman, Colin Firth and Toby Jones.

collage of layla empire of light
Layla, pictured right, had a great time working on the film set

Layla helped overlook many aspects of the operation and run relevant errands. Her favourite thing about the experience: “Just seeing the action and being there on set with the cast and being involved. It was an incredible experience. I have seen recordings and even was an extra on the film Everyone’s Talking About Jamie but working on a set is what I want to do.”

Layla commented that her time at college had prepared her for this type of experience: “The time management skills and the knowledge of what goes on in a set environment that I learnt at college was invaluable. You need a level of professionalism to do this job and college helped create that and I brought it to the set.”

So what is next for Layla? She is continuing on her degree course at the University for the Creative Arts in Kent and will be applying for all the extra set experiences she can. In the future she would like to be a TV Producer in a live film environment. This experience has prepared her for this: “It has given me the knowledge of being on set and how things work which has been great!”

Empire of Light is released in the UK in January 2023. We can’t wait to see it!

Find out more about the College’s Digital Media Production courses: Digital Media Production courses