Edgar Allan Poe, drag queens and a fencing champion were just some of the inspirations behind this year’s graduating Film and TV Production students at Northumbria University. Their final year films were screened at a special Media Gala at Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle last night (Wednesday, 15 June) before an audience comprising leading members of the film and TV industry.
The Gala offered graduating students the opportunity to showcase their skills and creativity and forge connections with industry experts, professionals and critics. This year’s films included documentary and drama films that presented creative angles and an innovative approach to film recording and editing.
Scene from Venus. Copyright © Faye Carr-Wilson and Magenta Sharp
As part of the programme, the audience saw Venus, a film by Faye Carr-Wilson and Magenta Sharp about a faux (female) drag queen with a physical disability. Jordan Calvert and Ellie Deighton also explore the world of drag queens in their movie, Fluid.
Graduating Film and TV production students. Copyright © Barry Pells
Dementia and its impact on people’s lives was explored in two different movies: Away for a While by Lauren Byrne and The Last Thing we See by Jack Colvin. Richard Hewitson centres his drama film around the interface of technology with humans, whilst Tommy Germaine has decided to adapt the classic Edgar Allan Poe story The Tell-Tale Heart.
Robert Jefferson, Programme Leader, Film and TV Production at Northumbria University, said: “I am really impressed by the quality of the films our students have created this year. They have shown they don’t conceive limits when it comes to filming, which allows me to anticipate a brilliant and successful future for them in whatever aspect of the movie industry they want to pursue.”
The Media Production programme, founded in 1986, has earned a solid reputation for the quality of its graduates, with the Media Gala being one of the most renown film events in the region. The programme’s leading alumnae includes cult-director Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, Centurion, Game of Thrones), producer Samm Haillay (Better Things, Self Made) and writer Sean Conway (Ray Donovan).
At the screening graduating students were also presented with awards. Jordan Chang received an award for best editing, Ali Hutchinson for best cinematography, Alex McGee for best screenplay and Faye Carr-Wilson and Magenta Sharp for best film for Venus.
Graduate Faye Carr-Wilson, who was presented the best film award by Charles Martin, director of British teen drama Skins and crime noir detective series Marcella (ITV), said: “After the recent tragedy in Orlando, we are proud to have made a film which celebrates the LGBT community and to have received this award for our work. Overall our experience at Northumbria has been very rewarding.”
This evening, Thursday, 16 June, the Tyneside Cinema will also show the final work of the university’s animation students in the Animation Gala.
Scene from Fragments of Familiarity. Copyright © Stephen Stephenson
The Animation Gala will present the final films and creations of the graduating animation students. The audience will see the premier of Stephen Stephenson’s Fragments of Familiarity, a videogame about the fragility of memory. The game environment is based around key moments of an Alzheimer sufferer’s life, linked together by synapse-like structures. Stephen made it using the Unreal Engine over a year.
James Evan’s Dreamtime is a painstakingly hand drawn and coloured animation based around Aboriginal mythology of how the world began. After undertaking months of research and development, James animated the film frame-by-frame using Photoshop and a drawing tablet.
Paul Dolan, Senior Lecturer in Animation at Northumbria University, said: “It’s one of the highlights of the year for us to see student work on the big screen. This is the third year we’ve shown Animation BA and MA work at the Tyneside Cinema and the students love it. It’s a great way to celebrate three or four years of hard work, alongside friends, family and members of the animation industry. There’s an interesting mix of 2D, 3D, game and experimental projects this year which we’re proud to put our names to and unleash into the world. We are also very impressed by the quality and thoughtfulness of some of the game projects being developed on the course, which feed into the indie game community and help expand the boundaries of what videogames can do.”