FOR many teenagers it is the latest blockbuster in the Marvel or Star Wars franchise that gets them excited about film.

Not so for Joel Whitaker whose passion for the movies was sparked by the French New Wave when he was just 14, particularly titles like Band of Outsiders by director Jean-Luc Goddard.

It was a love that led the 22-year-old to taking film studies at Priestley College and now becoming one of only eight people accepted onto the National Film and Television School’s masters course in film studies, programming and curation.

“We look at film and film theory and apply that to programming an event such as a festival,” said Joel.

“The school’s links with other institutions provide a great opportunity for the students on the course.”

Those links include a partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI), which opens doors to extraordinary venues and events such as the Barbican and the London Film Festival.

Part of his course required him to write a 200-word review of each film he saw during the festival – no small feat considering he watched dozens of films during the event.

His thoughts on one of those movies, Monrovia, Indiana, were published by independent film review magazine Dog and Wolf.

The festival experience was essential for Joel and those he studied with as they will be expected to stage a festival of their own at the end of the course.

His talent and passion for film was evident at Priestley College where he combined an A-Level in film studies with drama, history and English literature.

He secured an A in film with 100 per cent in his coursework and took home the prize for film studies at the Loushers Lane college’s annual awards.

Joel attributes his understanding of how to analyse a film to his time at Priestley.

He went on to secure a first at the London South Bank University before starting his masters.

And one day he hopes to be the one curating films at a cinema.

“I already believe anything is possible if you put yourself in the position to achieve something you dream about doing,” he said.