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01 August 2017

FSB Wales Blog - Business of the Month – Firehorse Productions – Denise Francis

Denise Francis was born and bred in Port Talbot, before leaving the area to study drama and work as a Stage Manager all over the UK.

Passionate that drama can make a difference to young people, Denise moved back to Port Talbot in 2010 to start up Firehorse Productions; a film production company specialising in education films for children. Denise describes herself as an “idealist when it comes to education” and works at the company with her sister; a retired teacher who acts as the educational consultant.

Since she started working with schools Denise found that bullying was an issue that was raised time and time again. Denise worked on scripts with a colleague, and developed the script for “My Life as a Bully” a mockumentary style film set in a high school seeking to highlight the toll that bullying takes on young people. Denise also made the decision to cast directly from a local school, as well as using professional actors.

Firehorse Productions – Denise Francis

Firehorse Productions partnered with Dyffryn School in Port Talbot, and 15 Year 10 students gave up two days of their half-term holidays to work on the film. Baroness Newlove, UK Victim’s Commissioner, provided the introduction to the film.

“My Life as a Bully” first premiered during National Anti-Bullying Week in November 2016. Denise then met with her local MP, Stephen Kinnock, who offered to arrange for the film to be screened in Parliament. Denise and the cast travelled to London on 11th July to attend the screening alongside MPs such as Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner.

Denise continues to be ambitious for the business and is already planning the next film. Firehorse Productions is a core member of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, and Denise seeks to develop her next film around the issue of cyber bullying, and hopes to ultimately see Firehorse be a hub for producing educational films, and to involve as many children in South Wales as possible.

My Life as a Bully is now available to buy at