A Staffordshire University filmmaker is celebrating after taking home the best drama prize from the RTS Midlands Student Awards
It feels great to have got the award for best drama. It was definitely unexpected but I’m glad the film got the praise it deserved because the collective crew and myself worked really hard on it.
Duncan Stephens was praised by industry judges including Sir Lenny Henry at the annual event for short film Not Quite There Yet which he wrote and directed during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Duncan worked alongside course mates Zachary Szafranski, Joe Nancarrow and Samuel Cremin to make the film which tells the story of a woman living on her own during the pandemic.
The Film Production and Interactive Technology graduate, 21 from Chesterfield, said: “It feels great to have got the award for best drama. It was definitely unexpected but I’m glad the film got the praise it deserved because the collective crew and myself worked really hard on it.
“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.”
Filmmakers from Staffordshire University’s film and animation degrees were shortlisted for six awards at the annual event hosted by the Royal Television Society Midlands. After being held virtually in 2020 and 2021, this year saw the return of a glittering awards ceremony held at the IET in Birmingham where entrants also took part in exciting afternoon of masterclasses and networking.
Duncan was presented with his award by BBC ‘Doctors’ actors Mike Hobson and Ashley Rice and Sir Lenny Henry shared his congratulations via video link.
Sir Lenny Henry said: “Not Quite There Yet’ …will strike a chord with anybody who has mental health issues and had them during the Covid pandemic. Considering there was no budget for this film, and he was working with students helping him out for nothing, he did a fine job. There are some lovely visual moments so congratulations.”
Since graduating last summer, Duncan has been putting his skills into practice on a range of short films, music videos and has worked on advertising campaigns with Puma.
Paul Ottey, Course Leader Film and Media Production, added: “It has been fantastic to see our students’ work recognised in the RTS Midlands Student Awards this year. They continued to work through various lockdowns and disruptions during the pandemic to create quality films, showing their resilience and skills as filmmakers.
“Duncan’s film was a direct response to the effect of those lockdowns so it is great to see something positive come from that difficult period. We are all very proud!”
See the full list of RTS Midlands Student Awards 2022 winners.