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Student Spotlight | #14 | Kaya Mitchell

As we head into our Sustainability fortnight, we thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to interview level 6 Filmmaking student, Sustainability Officer and leader of the Conscious Creatives Society, Kaya Mitchell! One third of our Student Liasion team, Kariim, sat down with Kaya to talk about rave culture, switching off from work and Jonah Hill!

STUDENTS’ UNION: Hey Kaya, it’s great to be able to speak to you, especially with this being the beginning of sustainability week, which I’m sure you have quite a bit planned for!

KAYA MITCHELL: Yeah, we have a mixture of content going on! There is something for everyone, whether it be blog posts, shopping recommendations, advice, plus (the thing I'm most looking forward to) a wine and cheese night!

STUDENTS’ UNION: Exciting times ahead! Why don't you tell us a bit about yourself and the work you produce?

KAYA MITCHELL: Films! At the moment I'm currently working on my graduate film about the late 80's rave scene, which we're currently in pre-production for, and probably when this comes out hopefully shooting!

STUDENTS’ UNION: Ah, exciting times all round! I did a module on rave culture whilst I was at university myself so I can only imagine what’s going to be in the film! What can you tell us about the film?

KAYA MITCHELL: It follows two lads from a small town in the North, who use the emerging rave scene during the Second Summer of Love as escapism from their lives as "squares" in a Thatcher Govt.

STUDENTS’ UNION: Well fingers crossed that everything goes as planned! How have you managed to incorporate sustainability into the film?

KAYA MITCHELL: As part of the films ethos, I created this Green Memo to inform and educate the crew on the effects the film/ tv industry has on the environment. It details some of our aims for the shoot to make it as green as possible!

A sustainability memo for the upcoming film, 'UNITED' by Kaya Mitchell
Green Memo by Kaya Mitchell

STUDENTS’ UNION: That sounds like a great way to keep yourself and the rest of the crew on track and aware of the effects that the industry can have.

STUDENTS’ UNION: Who or what would you say inspires your films?

KAYA MITCHELL: I’d probably say the environment around me. Oh, and Jonah Hill.

STUDENTS’ UNION: Jonah Hill, what an absolute legend! From Superbad to Mid90s, his talent knows no end. As a filmmaker, is there a certain department that you enjoy working in the most?

KAYA MITCHELL: I primarily specialise in writing and directing.

STUDENTS’ UNION: That’s cool! Tell us a bit about your working process?

KAYA MITCHELL: So, my process always begins with forming a script idea which is something I can never force. I just get these scenarios in my head, or a certain character and then I build the story, the script and then eventually the film from there. I love never knowing what the outcome will be until it's done!

A film poster which reads, 'UNITED: What's your name, where you from, what you had?'
'UNITED' film poster

STUDENTS’ UNION: It’s wild how one small idea can suddenly spark something much bigger, and I guess in your case a film. As a filmmaker myself I know how valuable that tiny idea spark can be, especially after you’ve sat looking at your laptop or notepad trying to find an idea that makes you feel something. What do you listen to when you’re working?

KAYA MITCHELL: Deep Focus Playlist on Spotify is essential for getting into the zone. Since working on my Grad film it's been either that playlist or old school rave classics haha.

STUDENTS’ UNION: They’re on completely opposite sides of the spectrum, but I’m here for it either way haha. Going off of what I know about rave culture I imagine it can be pretty difficult to switch off from it after listening to all of those rave classics haha. How do you eventually switch off?

KAYA MITCHELL: Well, being on the Filmmaking course as a whole can be extremely intense, so it's really important to set boundaries with work and switch off. I've found creating a routine (that works for you) and practising things like yoga, meditation and switching off my phone notifications have definitely helped me switch off from work mode.

STUDENTS’ UNION: Nice! They’re definitely some helpful tools. On the topic of helpful tools, what advice would you give to other artists thinking about coming to study at LAU?

KAYA MITCHELL: Use! The! Facilities! Honestly, this year has made me EVEN more grateful for the number of facilities we have access to at both campuses. Pre Covid, some workshops had clubs you could sign up for, which means that just because you’re on the photography course, it doesn't mean that you’re only limited to using only photography-based resources! Joining twilight workshops is also a great way to make friends outside of your course bubble.

STUDENTS’ UNION: Wise, wise words indeed! To close out the interview, what’s one thing that you’d like everyone to know about the Conscious Creatives society as we head into the next two weeks?

KAYA MITCHELL: You don't have to be 100% veggie/vegan, zero waste and plastic-free to join Conscious Creatives. We welcome anyone who is open to making more sustainable choices (and to have fun and make friends doing it!)


If you want to see more of Kaya’s work, make sure to give her a follow on Instagram at, @slaya.kaya. Also, make sure to stay up-to-date with what’s happening throughout the ‘create, challenge, create’ campaign via our Instagram account, the Conscious Creatives Instagram, and our What’s On calendar. Finally, don’t forget that you can also sign up to the Conscious Creatives society here!


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