YFN Stories: Amber Hyams
From YFP to Festival Producer and Charity Director of Watersprite Film Festival
Amber Hyams is the Festival Producer and Charity Director of Watersprite Film Festival.
I started volunteering at Watersprite during my first year of university in 2020: I spent an afternoon carrying flowers and boxes in the torrential rain, entirely surprised that the world’s second-largest student film festival takes place in the heart of Cambridge. Growing up I had always wanted to work in film but had entirely given up on it as an idea, thinking I could never be good enough to do it. Seeing the strength and solidarity of a festival run entirely by young people for young people, I was completely enthralled and willing to try again. I joined the student committee in my second year, launching a script writing competition, before becoming the Festival Director in my final year. After graduating, I was asked to return to Watersprite as the Festival Producer and Charity Director and here I am today!
Becoming a YFP
Being part of Watersprite is like being part of a (very) large family. In the last four years I have met so many incredibly talented and wonderful people, all of whom are passionate about the next generation of talent and the power of young voices. Many people return to Watersprite year after year, giving invaluable advice and support to each new wave of Watersprites. The standard of films submitted each year is extraordinary, and many of our filmmakers have gone on to win at the Academy Awards, BAFTAs and Sundance. Watching the work of these filmmakers is always inspirational and seeing them interact, get excited about one another’s work and go on to collaborate is one of the greatest joys of being part of Watersprite.
Aside from the people, I also feel very fortunate to have heard from some of the leading figures in the industry. I interviewed Ita O’Brien, the founder of Intimacy on Set and the intimacy coordinator on shows from I May Destroy You and Sex Education to It’s a Sin. Giving a platform to lesser-known areas of the industry is very important to me, and I feel we have a responsibility as a festival for young people to educate individuals on best practices and what they can and should expect in the workplace.
Now I am staying on as Festival Producer and Charity Director of Watersprite for the 2024 edition. Having started as a volunteer I feel incredibly lucky and grateful to be within the Watersprite community still, now guiding the festival into its 15th year.
Alongside my role at Watersprite, I am also working as Development Assistant to Producer Hilary Bevan Jones, the Chair of Watersprite, and previous Chair of BAFTA.
Words of advice
What Watersprite has taught me is the importance of working with kind people: if you work with people you can trust then nothing can go too wrong. And you really don’t have to be the best at everything – to make a team work properly, you shouldn’t be.
I’m very happy to be contacted if anyone wants to chat about anything!