Connecting SAE Students with the Film Industry

Introducing SAE Studios

SAE Studios is a new initiative launched by Film Production Tutors Dez Gray and Josh Oliver to help create career opportunities and forge industry connections for SAE students, alumni and staff.
The project’s mission is to offer a first step production house and professional mentorship scheme.
The studios will create high-quality films to promote skills and help students and alumni gain invaluable experience within the sector.

The SAE Studios Team

Led by Dez and Joshua, SAE Studios draws on the pair’s extensive industry connections to help bring film projects to life, utilising SAE’s community of creatives to turn fledgling scripts into films.

From alumni to staff, the aim of the initiative is to establish a new outlet for film experiences, create engaging content as well as help further career ambitions in the sector.
Dez Gray

Dez has trained as a Theatre Director, worked on over 20 feature films as an Assistant Director and has produced and directed multiple short film projects.

“We want to help elevate the student experience and use SAE Studios as a stepping stone from the classroom into the industry. This will see students and alumni working with some of the top professionals to help them develop their careers.”

Meet Dez

Joshua Oliver

With a career spanning 20 years in media production, Joshua Oliver moved to developing his own work, recently earning national media attention for his social video art work under the artist moniker as Red Jay.

“We have been working together on bringing SAE Studios into the wider world for the past 18 months and have leaned on our extensive experience and industry connections to make it a reality.”

Meet Joshua

How SAE Studios can enhance the student experience

Students joining SAE Studio projects will be able to get firsthand experience of how films are made and develop the knowledge to help empower them on their journeys within the creative industries. Josh said:

“We are utilising our own networks to help bring these projects to life and offer more experiences to students. We have already seen how this can benefit students in terms of finding new connections and opportunities, both of which are invaluable in launching successful film industry careers.

To have this kind of credit to their name before finishing their studies is a real bonus for students to help them find their way through the film industry. We believe this will really help participants open doors to new opportunities.”
Working on SAE Studio projects will see students collaborating with peers from across different programmes as well as leading industry professionals.
Gaining real-world experience
Participating in professional projects will enable students to gain the vital on-set experience needed to enhance their studies.
Add credits to CVs and portfolios
Films produced by SAE Studios will allow students and staff to add credits to their CV and IMDb profiles.
Expand networks
Industry connections can be vital in aspiring film industry professionals growing their careers. These projects will see students working with fellow students alongside leading industry experts from across the film sector.


Non Compos Mentis is the first film project to come from SAE Studios, a film written by SAE Students Alana Mae-Flynn and Eithne O' Sullivan about Charlie, a caregiver for a dementia sufferer, who struggles with his own self care.

Shot over two days on set in Edenbridge, Kent, the project saw more than 20 students taking part on the shoot.

They worked alongside industry professionals including a Cinematographer, Script Supervisor, Producer and Co-Director.

Robert Bathurst, star of Cold Feet and Downtown Abbey, was cast alongside Tracie Bennet, whose credits include Coronation Street and Shirley Valentine.

Industry Professional Collaborators

Carley Armstrong Co-Founder of Production Company True Moon Pictures | Director of Non Compos Mentis
'Our Dementia Choir' with Vicky McClure Soundtrack Recording of Non Compos Mentis
Alison McGuigan Assistant Director | 1st Assistant Director for Non Compos Mentis
Simone Manfredini Current Musical Director of West End's Lion King | Music Composer for Non Compos Mentis
Carley Armstrong Co-Founder of Production Company True Moon Pictures | Director of Non Compos Mentis
'Our Dementia Choir' with Vicky McClure Soundtrack Recording of Non Compos Mentis
Alison McGuigan Assistant Director | 1st Assistant Director for Non Compos Mentis
Simone Manfredini Current Musical Director of West End's Lion King | Music Composer for Non Compos Mentis
30 Students 22 Film, 7 Audio, 1 Content Creation
9 Industry Professionals Composer, Lyricist and Choir Musical Director, 1st Assistant Director, Cinematographer, Gaffer, 1st Assistant Camera and Producer/Co-Director
9 Staff Members 4 Audio, 5 Film

Students on their Experiences

Discover firsthand experiences at SAE Studios: where learning meets real-world opportunities.
[Non Compos Mentis] was an absolute mind blowing experience for me.... This led me to connect with so many creative industry professionals and opened up a few important opportunities for me.
I was offered the role of 2nd Assistant Cameraperson and I absolutely loved working with the camera team. The Director of Photography and the 1st Assistant Cameraperson were really patient with us and helped us learn so many new elements in the process of filmmaking. The 1st Assistant Cameraperson was really generous to me by letting me 'focus pull' an entire scene which I will definitely cherish. So, learning new things and networking will be the main highlight by working on this project.
During the shoot I learned how a set is actually ran and it differed a lot to what a student set experience is like.
It is a lot more structured and the people are more reliable. I also spent a lot of time with the script supervisor and he introduced me to some script supervising software that is often used. So, next time I get asked to do a script supervising role I’ll definitely try out some of his suggested methods.
The experience to be able to work in a project of the UK film industry with a proper production (budget) for the very first time was really a great experience for me.
This made me connect with all the other talented persons involved in the project which hopefully, I can work with again soon. I'm also glad and fortunate enough that I was able to work in the camera department, which I always prefer to work in. I also learnt how every other department works for the success of the project. I thank Josh and the entire SAE Studios production team for giving me this wonderful opportunity. Hoping to work again in the future projects of SAE Studios. Cheers!

To get the experience alongside these connections is invaluable. We are looking forward to seeing reactions to this project as the standard of what we’re making is so high and where it takes the SAE community.

Study Film Production at SAE

If you want to work in film production in the film industry, get to grips with the latest video editing software and hone your skills in a uniquely collaborative environment, then our Film Production degree could be for you.

With high-end digital cinema cameras and production suites, our facilities and expert tutors are well placed to give your career the best possible start in this fast-paced and dynamic industry.
How can we help you?
Learn more about our courses, ask a question or request more information.
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