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BBC’s imagine… chronicles Danny Boyle and SODA students’ creative journey for Aviva Studios The Matrix reboot

Danny Boyle and students from Manchester Met’s School of Digital Arts (SODA) feature in tonight’s episode of

The show, airing tonight (December 11) at 10.40pm on BBC One highlights how Oscar winner Boyle and the students created video content for Free Your Mind at Aviva Studios.

Boyle directed the Free Your Mind, large-scale immersive re-telling of The Matrix films through dance, music, and visual effects which served as the official opening event for Aviva Studios.

This unique collaboration will be highlighted in imagine…The Factory: Made in Manchester, presented by Alan Yentob, which tells the story of Manchester’s new cultural venue and home to Factory International and the Manchester International Festival and discovers how the world’s first industrial city is looking to modernise through culture, design, and digital innovation.

The programme takes viewers behind the scenes of the creation of Factory International’s immersive production Free Your Mind and features SODA students who talk about the role of SODA in the project.

In the programme, students Ali Johnson and Lui Bauer are interviewed during one of the weekly workshop sessions at SODA where students and Boyle viewed and discussed concepts for the video content that they had developed.

The programme later picks up again with students where Bauer, Charlie Andrew, and Jayden Crooks talk about their work and where it featured within the final production of Free Your Mind.

BA (Hons) Filmmaking student Bauer said: “Coming onto the Free Your Mind project we had no idea the imagine… team would be following our journey. It’s been fantastic to be producing digital content for the second half of the show, while also experiencing being on the other side of the camera. We’re so excited to share a peek behind the scenes of our fantastic project.”

Jill Griffiths, head of SODA, said: “It’s been wonderful to see our students featured in the imagine… programme and we’re extremely proud of what they have achieved on the Free Your Mind production. Having the opportunity to create such exciting and innovative video work for Free Your Mind alongside Danny Boyle has been incredible experience for our students.

“It has given them an opportunity to put into practice skills learnt on their course, to work collaboratively across different disciplines and to work with a distinguished and internationally recognised creative team. This is an experience they will take into their future careers.”

From weekly workshops and tutorials at SODA, to attending dance rehearsals and technical rehearsals for the show, students worked collaboratively to develop their work for the show.

Boyle added: “It’s a very inspirational work for a lot of people, a very prophetic work, and it just seemed the perfect opportunity to use the skills and resources of the students here at the School of Digital Arts to connect with The Matrix which is about our digital futures.

“It’s been wonderful to work with students who are digital natives as there’s always been screens in their lives. It expands the opportunities that we have with the show.”

Some of the video work created by students in the workshops featured significantly within the immersive production. A group of nine students from the Filmmaking, Future Media Production, and Music and Sound Design programmes took part.

imagine…profiles leading figures and events that are shaping today’s cultural world. The star-studded line-up for the four-part series includes comedy double act French & Saunders, prolific screenwriter and Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies, and legendary pop duo Pet Shop Boys.

imagine…The Factory: Made in Manchester airs tonight (December 11) at 10.40pm on BBC One and will be available to watch again on iPlayer afterwards.

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