Date published: June 15, 2018
Film runner application leads to speaking part for student
AN APPLICATION for work experience on a film set landed a University of Salford student with his first role in a professional production alongside European stars.
Jay Alexander-Ali, who has just completed his second year studying Media and Performance, learned about the production through his course and applied for a job as a runner.
But following a short interview, the production manager contacted Jay and said he was ideal for a speaking part.
He has now finished filming Stock, commissioned by Sky Arts and set to be shown on the channel next year as part of a season marking Britain’s departure from the EU.
The film stars French actors Idir Chender – who will appear alongside John Hamm and Rosamund Pike in upcoming hostage thriller The Negotiator – Hania Amar – known for The Nile Hilton Incident – as well as Waterloo Road’s Sarah-Jane Potts.
It is described as a ‘post Brexit fairy tale’ following a newly arrived wholesaler who becomes caught up in an unwanted conflict with the authorities.
Jay plays the role of a guard in the film, which was shot in Manchester, Prestwich and Salford and is currently in post-production.
The student, who had appeared in theatre projects in his native Dumfries before coming to Salford, said: “It’s been a great experience to have been involved in this and to watch these professional actors at work. I originally just contacted them to work as a runner and get some first hand experience of working on a professional film set, but I couldn’t believe it when they offered me the role.
“I was able to do it in my own accent, which was very exciting. When I originally came down from Scotland I thought my accent would be a disadvantage if I wanted to get work – but I’ll have to rethink that now!”
The film’s director Naqqash Khalid, who is also an associate lecturer on the University’s Media and Performance programme, said: “Jay is a natural, he has an effortless cinematic quality to him. He’s very easy to work with and has a great energy on set.
“Casting directors need him on their list – he is someone to watch out for. I look forward to working with him again in the future and to seeing what he does next.”