Students get Special Effects Masterclass from Expert who Worked on Avengers Film

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A Suffolk born special effects wizard cast a spell on One Sixth Form College Media students this week when she handed out tips and advice to wannabe filmmakers.

The event took place at One Sixth Form College in Ipswich on AccessVFX day and the all-day session was overseen by Leanne Dua.

Leanne is a former Sudbury Upper School pupil who went on to study visual effects and motion graphics at The University of South Wales.

She currently works for a company called DNEG and has recently worked on hit films including Dunkirk and Avengers: Infinity War.

She said, "I came along to try and inspire the next generation. I started from the bottom and I'm gradually making my way to the top. Getting into film is not as hard as you would think. I've gone from Suffolk to a career in special effects. I want to see how far I can get. The students (at One) seemed really positive and engaged."

Leanne was joined by Javert Valazuela Barros, a visual effects artist who works for FXhome. He said, "We did a workshop in visual effects, so the students can get a basic understanding of the skills that you need to go into industry. The response was good – the point of the workshop is to introduce them to different techniques (using FXhome software for filmmakers) and they can now go home and build up their skills with a view to gaining a career in this industry."

16-year-old Seren Forster from Manningtree is studying on the Media Production BTEC at One Sixth Form College. She said, "I'm really interested in a career in this industry and it's really cool to work with someone from Marvel (who oversaw the production of the Avengers film). Leanne was talking about future projects, but she couldn't be specific in terms of the films she was working on. It made it sound very exciting."

16-year-old Abbie Cook is from Framlingham and she is also studying on the BTEC Media Production course. She said, "This came at a good time and this has opened up new possibilities. It's good to get opportunities like this."

Alastair Bartlett is a teacher at One. He said, "We were approached by these external organisations (DNEG and FXhome) to see if our students would be interested in having a special effects session and we jumped at the chance. To get advice from somebody who has worked on Hollywood blockbuster films is an amazing opportunity and we would like to thank everyone for coming to see us. The fact that Leanne was born locally makes the thought of replicating her achievements seem all the more possible."