Filmmaking graduate’s work premiered on stage at Manchester Psych Fest

A recent filmmaking graduate from Manchester Met was commissioned to create an audio-visual film that premiered on stage at Manchester Psych Fest this weekend (September 2).

Beck Cooley, who has just graduated from BA (Hons) Filmmaking at Manchester Met’s School of Digital Arts (SODA), was selected to create a 90 second film that would provide a visual backdrop for some of the live acts playing at the festival, as well as being projected at the festival’s hub in Circle Square.

Manchester Psych Fest, which has celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, is Manchester’s leading psychedelic music and arts festival and the sold-out event took place at various locations across the city.

Filmmaking graduate Beck Cooley’s artwork showcased at the Trout gig, at Canvas at Manchester Psych Festival 2023

Speaking about being selected for the commission after only just graduating, Cooley said: “It feels really good to have been chosen to create the film for Manchester Psych Fest, especially as this is an area of work which I’m keen to progress into.

“I’d like to be making music videos and backdrops for bands in the future so this opportunity has given me invaluable experience of working in this area and hopefully it might lead to securing more work in the future.”

Beck Cooley at Manchester Psych Fest 2023

Cooley’s work features a textured and processed style which he has developed during his time studying Filmmaking at SODA.

Using an old mini DV camera, Cooley has overlayed old footage from his video archives to create a lo-fi and textured edit featuring ‘glitchy’ feedback videos of people dancing alongside archive footage of clubs.  

Featuring a colour palette of neutral tones, the result is an abstract, grainy, and textured moving film which complemented the music acts playing as well as the ethos of the festival.

Beck’s artwork on screen at The Murlocs gig at The O2 Ritz at Manchester Psych Fest 2023

Since graduating, Cooley has continued to make work including music videos, and he credits his time at SODA with giving him the freedom to be able to further develop his practice.

Cooley explains: “During the last year on my filmmaking course at SODA, I was given the freedom to experiment and to develop the work that I wanted to make. My tutors have been very supportive and encouraging, which has really helped to keep me motivated and inspired since graduating.”

Kadja Manninen, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship in the Digital Creative Industries and Student Employability Lead at SODA, said: “We couldn’t be prouder of Beck and the outstanding work he has done. At SODA, our goal is to equip our students with the highest calibre of skills and knowledge to work in demanding specialist roles in the creative industries, and Beck is a stellar example of a talented SODA graduate.”

Read more about Filmmaking and our other SODA courses here.