Home » Latest News » Production Designer Grant Montgomery Gives Fascinating Insight to QE Film Studies Students

College News

Production Designer Grant Montgomery Gives Fascinating Insight to QE Film Studies Students

Date Posted: 14/02/2023 | Posted In: Latest news

Acclaimed production designer Grant Montgomery has come to QE to speak to A Level Film Studies students about his work on BAFTA-nominated flick The Wonder, and gangster family epic Peaky Blinders. With more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, Grant gave a fascinating insight into his work on movie sets and television series to students hoping to carve out a career in film and media. Grant, a designer and art director responsible for the visual concept and design styles on many major productions, spoke about his close working relationship with critically acclaimed Chilean director Sebastián Lelio on his recent project, The Wonder (2022). The Netflix movie, starring Florence Pugh, is set shortly after the Great Famine in rural Ireland and tells the story of an English nurse tasked with observing a fasting girl, who appears to survive without eating food. The Wonder has been nominated for Outstanding British Film in the 76th BAFTA Film Awards on Sunday (February 19th) and Grant was nominated for Best Production Design in the recent British Independent Film Awards.

Speaking to QE students about his role, Grant explained: ‘Production designers help tell the narrative through a three-dimensional world. I love creating these worlds – it’s a form of storytelling. Really good design is often invisible but tells a story. You’re creating an arena for the performers. When I was working on The Wonder, I knew I had to do something authentic. The famine was a cataclysmic event in Irish history, when more than 1 million people died and another million had to leave, so I needed to create the right arena for these characters to have really important dialogues about faith and science.’

Over the last nine years, Grant has been nominated for three BAFTA awards for Best Production Design (Peaky Blinders and Gunpowder) and in 2011, he received the RTS Award for Best Production Design for his work on The Crimson Petal and the White. His credits also include Birdsong, Death Comes to Pemberley and The Secret Garden. His message to students was clear: ‘You’ve got to have passion; you have to passionately study, understand and love film to help you get through the ups and downs of a career in the industry. It’s passion that keeps you going in whatever role you choose.’

QE is the North East’s leading centre for the study of film and media at A Level, with almost 500 students enrolled on the college’s popular Film Studies, Media Studies, and Creative Media courses. Mark Dodsworth introduced Film Studies at QE in 2005 and today, a record 225 students are taking the course. He said: ‘It’s a very popular choice because we offer a learning experience that’s as close to the professional practice as possible and have invested in the very best industry-leading video editing software.’

Student Charlotte Round, 17, from Ingleby Barwick, who is taking A Level Film Studies, English Language and Sociology, said: ‘I think it is great that young people are given the opportunity to pursue a career in film and television by studying here in Darlington. Talks by people with first-hand knowledge of the industry really add a different dimension to what we learn in the classroom.’ Film Studies students Polly Hunter, from Yarm, and Isobel Collin, from Thornaby, also attended Grant’s lecture. Isobel, 16, said: ‘It was a really insightful talk, and it was fascinating to hear about the level of detail in production design.’ Polly, also 16, added: ‘I think his message about being passionate is an important one; he’s inspired me to seize opportunities.’

For more information contact Mark Dodsworth, Course Leader – Film Studies, on 01325 461315 or email mdodsworth@qeliz.ac.uk.