Opening ceremony film by local lady

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An ex Valley Comprehensive School pupil is writing and directing a London 2012 Paralympic Ceremony opening film.

Lou Birk’s film will play out to a packed 80,000 seater stadium and be broadcast around the world. The estimated worldwide viewing figures are 1.5 billion.

Lou was a pupil at the Worksop school during the 1970s, and left without any great plans.

“I didn’t do that well at school and expectations about what I might do in the future were generally quite low,” she said.

“My careers advice at the time was to go and work in the local clothing factory.”

But after studying a secretarial course at North Notts College Lou made the move to London and started working in fringe theatre.

“I did lots of different jobs for years but was determined to make ago of it working in the arts,” she said.

The 50-year-old, who now has both an honours degree and masters degree from Goldsmith’s College, eventually set up independent film production company Pie Films back in 2000.

The company has written, produced, directed and edited numerous short films with budgets ranging from £1,000 to £30,000, for the broadcast and non-broadcast sectors.

Lou, whose films have won awards and been screened globally, posted off her film idea to the Opening Ceremonies artistic directors and then put it to the back of her mind.

“I knew it was a strong idea but I heard nothing for months. But then I got the call,” she said.

“I was thinking it would be nice for my films to reach bigger audiences and now it feels like I’ve got one of the biggest gigs on earth.”

Lou, who now lives in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, is sworn to secrecy about the contents of the film and details of the ceremony itself.

She added: “It’s a very exciting opportunity and I’m honoured that my idea was accepted.”

The film will be broadcast live on Channel 4 as part of the Paralympic Opening Ceremony celebrations on 29th August.

The opening ceremony will include more than 3,000 adult volunteers, a children volunteer cast of over 100, and 100-plus professionals.

It will showcase the excellence of deaf and disabled artists and will open with a fly past by Aerobility - a British charity that trains disabled people to become pilots.

You will also be able to see Lou on the Jon Snow Paralympic show in the week leading up to the opening ceremony.

For more information about Lou’s work and her independent film production company Pie Films, visit www.piefilms.org.uk