Staffs filmmakers animated over award nominations

Lockdown film creations by Staffordshire University students and graduates are recognised with nominations at the RTS Midlands Student Awards

A Long Way Down 400px

A Long Way Down is based on a true WW2 story (credit William Southall)

I had never before made an animation of this scale or complexity so I feel enormously humbled to be shortlisted.

William Southall, MA Animation

The annual event hosted by the Royal Television Society, taking place this week, recognises emerging talent from universities across the Midlands with awards judged by a panel of top industry names.

Filmmakers from across Staffordshire University’s film and animation degrees are shortlisted for six awards.

This includes recent Film Production and Interactive Technology graduate Duncan Stephens who wrote and directed Not Quite There Yet during lockdown. The short film tells the story of a woman living on her own during the pandemic.

Duncan, 21 from Chesterfield, explained: “This film is extremely personal to me. Much of the narration was taken straight from my own diary entries during the Covid-19 lockdowns where my mental health was suffering quite a lot.

“It feels great to be shortlisted. It is the first time I’ve ever been involved in any type of competition and for it to be with this film is even more special.”

The short film has earned Duncan a nomination for both the Craft Skills – Camerawork and Drama awards alongside course mate Zach Szafranski who was nominated in the Craft Skills – Editing category.

Zach, 22, who now lives in the USA near Chicago, added: “Being shortlisted feels very rewarding as it shows that the film is being watched. As a big focus of the film is around mental health, that feeling is amplified because it is hopefully showing anyone else who has felt that way that they are not alone.”

After being held virtually in 2020 and 2021, this year will see the return of a glittering awards ceremony held on 31 March at the IET in Birmingham. All entrants have been invited to an exciting afternoon of masterclasses and networking, followed by refreshments before the RTS Midlands Student Awards are presented.

MA Animation student William Southall is up for the Craft Skills – Writing award for his film A Long Way Down, which he also made during lockdown.

The animation is inspired by William’s love of history and is based on the true story of Owen J Bagget, who became the only man to shoot down a plane with a pistol in World War Two.

William, 28 from Mickleover, explained: “This project was the only thing that kept me going during lockdown. It was a coping mechanism.

“I had never before made an animation of this scale or complexity so I feel enormously humbled to be shortlisted. It is a great honour and feels good to make my friends and family proud.”

Fellow MA Animation student Gervaise Ford is shortlisted for two awards in the Animation and Craft Skills – Editing categories with his film Ennui. The short 2D animation tells the story of a young man who lives the same day every day but after meeting with a stranger, his life's tedium comes to an end.

Gervaise, 21 from Buxton, said: “I didn’t necessarily make the film with the intention of submitting it to festivals or awards, so it was very surprising to be shortlisted! Largely because the work I produce rarely feels real, having people not only see it, but like it, is quite surreal.”

“The film is about personal change and growth. Moving on from a stagnant and dissatisfying life, to a new and hopefully more fulfilling one.”

The RTS Midlands Student Awards take place in Birmingham on Thursday 31 March – see the full list shortlist.

Latest news

three young people walking along a corridor

University strengths recognised in KEF2

Work to support graduate start-up companies and upskill the region’s workforce has been recognised in the second Knowledge Exchange Framework.

UK University

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Job Prospects

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Student Satisfaction

Complete University Guide 2022

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

for Course Content

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021