Sunday night saw the culmination of Student Film Festival London with the Awards given out at London’s Apollo Cinema. We were there to celebrate all the winners and, in particular, the winner of the Animated Short Award, sponsored by ARTS THREAD and Prime Cuts.
The winner of the Animated Short Award was Playing Ghost, a graduation project film from the UK’s National Film and Television School, directed by Bianca Ansems and produced by Andrew Start. The film is made with stopmotion puppets and was shot frame by frame with three puppets over seven sets, using Canon 40D and the software Dragon Stopmotion.
‘Playing Ghost is a story about a mother and daughter dealing in their own ways with the recent death of the father. With the slightest task dogged by reminders of Dad, Mum struggles to stick to routine. But whilst Mum sinks into numb solitude, Amy’s energy knows no bounds. Her daily play continues on, with Dad still in mind. With Mum lost to loss, Amy finds new freedom and seeks her own magical escape, one that ultimately has its own perils.’
The winner of the Short Fiction Award, sponsored by Genesis Cinema was Oliver Duerr with Beef. From the Kunsthochschule Mainz, Germany, the film explains in 19 minutes how to cook a perfect German beef steak. Oliver also won the Best Director award, sponsored by WEXO.
The Fiction Feature Award, sponsored by Sony, was won by David Marek with Somewhere West. The film also won the Best Cinematography Award, Sponsored by SAE Institute. An MFA graduate in Film Production from the University of Colorado, David has created a road-film spanning some of the United States most revelatory landscapes such as The Upper Peninsula of Michigan, The Badlands, Black Hills, Devils Tower, Yellowstone, and Utah’s Salt Flats.
‘Ian, a terminally ill young man, decides to forgo any further treatment and heads out onto the road in search of solitude and a beautiful place to spend his final moments. And yet, against his best efforts, Ian becomes the centre of a makeshift family of troubled but kind-hearted characters who help him in the redemptive process of letting go, opening his heart and finally reaching his special place.’
Sponsored by Action Against Hunger, the Short Documentary Award was given to Abuelas by Afarin Eghbal, a graduate of the National Film and Television School. Abuelas also won the Audience Choice Award, sponsored by the Met Film School.
‘In a small apartment in Buenos Aires, an old woman eagerly awaits the birth of her grandchild and all the joys of becoming a grandmother. However, horrific circumstances mean that she will be forced to wait for over 30 years. Using real-life testimonials this animated-documentary raises issues of memory, repression and loss.’
The Documentary Feature Award, sponsored by Britdoc Foundation, was won by Mauricio Rial Banti and Gabriela Cueto for Tren Paraguay. Graduates of the Universidad del Cine, Argentina, the duo’s main character in the film is a passenger train that used to ride over the border between Argentina and Paraguay.
‘It advances through old railway tracks, where desolate places reveal a secret: the train is still alive in the people. Its charm and impact are shaped vividly through villagers’ recollections. Be it related to poverty, youth, ghost sightings, New Year’s Eve celebrations or death – everyone has a story to tell. A remarkable use of sound design evoking the train’s presence and the inventive point-of-view make this a professional and edgy documentary.’
Sponsored by FujiFilm, the 16mm Film Award went to Ophir Ben Shimon with A Man Asleep. A graduate of Film and Television studies from Tel Aviv University, Ben’s film
is captioned: ‘On his wedding day, a distracted groom’s car hits a child, an event which raises crucial questions regarding himself.’
Best Soundtrack, sponsored by Outgoing Travel, was won for Concrete Walls created by Fiachra Ó Longáin and Zulfikar Filandra. Shot by Michael Higgins on location on the grounds of the old derelict Pigeon House in Dublin, the film follows the story of a mysterious loner dealing with a dark inner secret.
I Am Cereals – Galaxy by Mirjam Baker and Michael Kren from Austria won the Music Video Award, sponsored by Crossroads Films. And finally, the Online Popularity Award was won by Arthur Arensen with Two Doors, produced by the MET Film School.
Read more about Student Film Festival London 2012