Newport Film School students celebrate nominations for Ffresh Awards 2011

Animators, documentarians and fiction students from Newport Film School are celebrating an unprecedented 17 nominations (including every nomination in the ‘factual’ category), for the 2011 Ffresh Student Moving Image Festival of Wales.

Newport is well placed to scoop the major film awards in both the under-graduate and post-graduate categories.

“This is a vindication of the adventurous and creative film courses we run at Newport,’ said Christopher Morris, Head of the film school, ’what is particularly pleasing for us is the amount of 1st and 2nd year work that has been nominated this year along side the graduation work – I wish all our students the best of luck!”

The judges (all industry professionals) for this years competition also heaped praise on the entries from Newport.

“The film displayed a certain sense of poignancy and melancholy … whilst managing to retain a childlike sense of play,” wrote one judge.

“A lovely film, beautifully crafted. A love letter in the form of a poem. The editing was purposeful and the images truly compelling, creating a unique world. Inventive and inspiring,” enthused another.

Newport film students took 6 awards at last years Ffresh Awards held at the Aberystwyth Art Centre, including ‘Best In Festival’.

What is clear, is that the quality of the work at Newport is very strong,’ said Maggie Russell – the Chair of Ffresh 2010, “and I think the thing that I’d mark out about the films at Newport Film School is that they have a story”.

Graduates from Newport Film School are working right across the film and television industry in Wales and beyond.

“Indus Films has had the great pleasure of working with a number of graduates from the Newport Film School and they have all been outstanding,” said BAFTA award winning filmmaker and director of Indus Films, Steve Robinson, unlike graduates from many film and media courses, Newport graduates emerge ready to work in the television industry – as directors, camera operators, researchers, editors.”

Earlier in the year Hollywood based writer/director Sara Sugarman contacted the film school and was greatly impressed by the standard of the work.

“The work is so powerful and excellent. EXCELLENT. I am so happy at the prospect of working together with our Welsh film school”. A number of Newport students went to work with Sara on her latest feature film – VINYL, shot throughout the summer in North Wales. “Things are going great! The people you have given us are proving great!!!!’, she enthused during the shoot, ’really you should be proud – really enthusiastic!”

Deborah Perkin a senior producer from BBC Wales was equally complimentary about the student work:

Newport turns out imaginative and technically competent young film-makers. I had the pleasure of hosting a showcase of graduate films in Cardiff, and was impressed by the range and quality of the work, from animation to period drama, made on minimal budgets to high standards.”

Students from Newport have also been shortlisted for the 2011 Royal Television Society Student Awards (The winners of the RTS awards 2011 will be announced at Ffresh). Newport documentary students have won the ‘Best UK Student Documentary’ award for the last three years in a row.

“The films submitted by Newport to the RTS Student Awards consistently win not only the RTS Wales but also the Society’s UK awards competitions’, said Tim Hartley from the RTS, ‘the students themselves are well motivated and regularly attend RTS events where they readily engage with industry professionals. We are lucky in Wales to have an independent film school like Newport which ensures we continue to produce the next generation of film and programme makers”.

The Ffresh Student Moving Image Festival of Wales will be held at The Atrium (University of Glamorgan) in Cardiff (9-11th February 2011) and boasts an impressive selection of masterclasses and guest speakers from the film and television world – as well as the all important awards.

Below is a full list of all the Newport nominations and the judges comments:

Animation

The Goat and the Well, Ben Cady,
Newport Film School

A determined little goat, tethered to a well, causes endless problems for a short-tempered milking lady.

“With its short and sweet narrative, Goat and The Well appeals on all levels with good character animation and sense of comic timing, and sound design.”

Vovô, Luiz Lafayette Stockler,
Newport Film School

He was bald with some liver spots on his head…

“A touching account of a relationship told with sensitivity and a good technical execution.”

We Weren’t the First Ones Here, Kate Broadhurst, Emma-Rose Dade, Helen Dallat, Daisy Gould & Joseph Wallace,
Newport Film School

Old houses hold memories and stories of all their past inhabitants.

“A very complete study of what home is, it feels like a coherent and thoughtful film, although it could have benefited from better sound and colour grading.”

Experimental

The Perfect Wrestler, Christian Britten,
Newport Film School

An abstract study of the perfect wrestler. He dreams are consumed by the anxiety of being perfect. Will his innate obsession with success be his downfall? Stop! Look! Wait! Look again!

“What first struck me with The Perfect Wrestler was the rhythm, both through the dialogue/narration and in the editing. The film displayed a certain sense of poignancy and melancholy in what could only be described as the ‘presentation’ of the perfect wrestler, whilst managing to retain a childlike sense of play. It also managed to be experimental in technique but also story telling. The production levels were excellent and the film was beautiful shot with all parts well considered.”

Factual

Barry and the Island, Michael James Moore,
Newport Film School

A wonderful Welsh holiday resort to a beautiful, but tragic mess. This documentary tells the story of Barry Island and explores its history and its slow demise in modern times. It’s a place that is now known as the home of Gavin and Stacy, but it used to entertain thousands of tourists with its clean beaches, pleasure park, and Butlins Holiday Camp. This used to be a holiday resort, where has it gone?

“Well constructed with excellent use of archive and an introduction, which hooks the viewer immediately. Creative and amusing with good interviews and well constructed argument. Excellent production, with good camera work and editing. A very professional and well authored film, which has great relevance in present times. “

Gold, Natalie Halket,
Newport Film School

A documentary focusing on a couple celebrating their personal views on marriage and how closely they feel about each other.

“Simple gentle amusing portrait of a marriage, but very effective as a short film where so much can be said in a short time, and other realities glimpsed at the same time. Good use of still photos and the idea to interview them separately works extremely well. The considered editing and intercutting brought out their characters and gave depth to the simple questions that had been asked. An excellent film that didn’t depend on music and effects to grab the viewer, but on the knowledge of the subjects and the construction of the narration whilst also making a comment on relationships in general.”

Neglected, Réka Roberts, Newport Film School

It isn’t fair to judge those we don’t know anything about, but how just is this world? Is it a world where people who are labeled a gipsy are all treated

“Excellent access to a difficult subject. Réka Robert’s interest in the travellers and her keen observation of them comes across clearly. There is a rich mix of actuality, observation and interview. The camerawork is rather shaky, but her passion to give these people a voice mitigates this.”

Post it Notes, Jonny Lewis,
Newport Film School

Short films exploring the relationship between the postal service and its customers.

“Very creative, well edited, and amusing. The film had a slightly weak structure, but something unusual was made out of the ordinary and as in many good documentaries, the film made you think about a subject in a new way and through different eyes.”

Terry, Andrew Gough,
Newport Film School

Terry was homeless and struggles with an alcohol problem. In this film, he talks about his life, his family, and his experiences of living on the street. He then watches a film of himself when he was living in a park and the brink of hypothermia, and discusses how his life is changing.

“A sympathetic and empathetic character with a simple, yet very effective concept of filming him watching himself from an earlier shoot. Some camera work out of focus, and inexplicable cut aways, but nicely held pauses. Good editing with well chosen music. The trust between Terry and the crew was very important for such a documentary and contributed to the very watchable film.”

Fiction (Post Graduate)

Identity Crisis, Valeriy Eremenko,
Newport Film School

When John wakes up in hospital, he not only has no memory of his accident, but also struggles to remember who he is. When a mysterious visitor arrives to shed light on his past, John struggles to reconcile what he learns, while his nurse makes romantic advances.

“This was an ambitious film with a strong sense of character and story-telling. It also had strong cinematography in terms of framing and camera movement, and a good use of music.”

Therapy for Beginners William Scothem
Newport Film School

A young man deals with his inner demons after his most recent relationship falls apart.

“The performances were convincing and the relationship between the two main characters was plausible and believable.”

Fiction (Under Graduate)

Runaway, Joshua Price,
Newport Film School

Based on the poem from an unknown child runaway performed by pieces of litter from around the city of Newport.

Short Shorts

Trauma, Lawrence Fowler,
Newport Film School

After catching a glimpse of a late night horror film depicting a serial killer terrorising a young child’s house, 7 year old James is let traumatised. Isolated and alone, can the youngster differentiate between fiction and reality during a weekend alone with his estranged aunty.

“The most striking aspect of this short film was its excellent camerawork and lighting. Although its story lacked coherence and originality, this film demonstrates a confidence in genre filmmaking.”

Post It Notes, Jonny Lewis,
Newport Film School

Short films exploring the relationship between the postal service and its customers.

“A visually playful documentary that features a fun, loose style. A contrary opinion from the point of view of the postman would have given it some balance but the storytelling was clear and it didn’t outstay its welcome.”

Ice Cream, Rhiannon Tate,
Newport Film School

On a small beach in West Wales an Ice Cream vendor explains whats makes the place he lives and works at special.

“Fun observational documentary that features a very open and enthusiastic couple as its central characters. Although I would have liked to have known more about their motives, fellow vendors and some of the negative sides to selling ice cream at such a remote location, the fresh camerawork and confident editing kept me interested.”

Runaway, Joshua Price,
Newport Film School

Based on the poem from an unknown child runaway performed by pieces of litter from around the city of Newport.

“A pleasant surprise and an effective treatment of what could have been a heavy, overworked storyline. The idea could have gone further and used the environment and animation more inventively but the reveal of the true story gave it an emotional punch beyond standard drama.”

Welsh Language

Annwyl Plant, Catrin Doyle,
Newport Film School

Letter from a mother to her children; a tender expression of the inner world of a parent, her secrets and worries about the future.

“A lovely film, beautifully crafted. A love letter in the form of a poem. The editing was purposeful and the images truly compelling, creating a unique world. Inventive and inspiring.”

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