From the world’s first official UNESCO City of Film, three British animation legends have volunteered to mentor two Bradford College students, in a bid to help develop up and coming talent entering the industry.
The students were specially selected after they won a prestigious animation competition in conjunction with BAF and the National Media Museum to find the most promising student from the College’s School of Arts and Media.
Students from both Further Education and Higher Education animation-related courses took part, whilst Course Tutors: Sue Griffiths, Paul Holmes and Trevor Griffiths selected the top three pieces of work to represent their courses in each category. All three tutors are renowned for going the extra mile to ensure their students succeed and reach their full potential.
The entries were later judged by Oscar and BAFTA-nominated animator and director Barry Purves, BAFTA and Emmy-winning animator Joanna Quinn and BAFTA nominated television and film writer and director Chris Shepherd.
Student Ben Brown commenting on the unique opportunity to develop himself further said: “It’s invaluable to have these award winning animators and directors, give an opinion on something you’re still trying to work out. It gives you a good idea on how to improve and what to aim for next.”
The lucky finalists from the Higher Education category were Ben Brown, Steve Lubbock and Victoria Foggin and the Further Education category finalists were Michael Laprocina, Matthew Dickerson and Sean Stratford.
Programme Manager Nathan Kelly for the School of Arts and Media was delighted to announce the winners of the prestigious competition during the star studded evening.
Student Stephen Lubbocks was thrilled to scoop the award for the Higher Education category, whilst Michael Laprocina won the award for the Further Education category.
In support of student achievement, Bradford College members of staff: David Smith, (Dean of Higher Education) Clare Lamkin, (Yorkshire Craft Centre Arts Events Manager), Damien O’Keefe (Programme Manager for Performing Arts) and Course Tutors Sue Griffiths, Paul Holmes and Trevor Griffiths attended the evening. They watched with pride as Stephen Lubbocks and Michael Laprocina made their way onto the stage to accept their awards.
Programme Manager Nathan Kelly congratulated each worthy winner as he presented their awards and introduced their short animation clips, which were screened during the opening night of BAF. Stephen and Michael also won a £50 Amazon vouchers from the College and the invaluable feedback session from the judges on developing their animation skills further.
Commenting on how it felt to have been selected by the judges, Stephen Lubbocks said: “I’m ecstatic! It’s a great opportunity to get my work out there. I’m grateful for being given this amazing opportunity to be mentored by these animation legends… It’s really inspiring!”
Oscar and BAFTA nominated Animator and Director Barry Purves is one of Britain’s most celebrated talents. Passionate about the art of film-making and animation, Barry has worked with Bradford College over a number of years to promote and encourage student talent.
Stop-motion Animator Barry Purves said: “We were pleased to see so much potential and we would encourage the film-makers to play with narrative and technique to see even these short films as a complete whole.”
Despite working on Hollywood blockbusters such as King Kong and Mars Attacks and new films, Plume and Tchaikovsky, Barry remains modest about his achievements. Critics have described his work as ‘technically remarkable and imaginatively astonishing.’ With a career that spans over 37 years, Barry’s depth of experience will prove invaluable to the students starting out in an industry that is notoriously difficult to break into.
The students will also benefit from sharp insight and encouragement from Joanna Quinn and Chris Shepherd. Joanna Quinn’s films include Elles (1992), Britannia (1993), a biting satire about Britain’s imperial history, and the BAFTA and Emmy-winning Wife of Bath, part of the compendium film, Canterbury Tales (1998). This was also nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Short, as was Famous Fred (1996), her film for children based on Posy Simmonds’ picture book.
Chris Shepherd directed the multi award winning film, The Broken Jaw, for Channel 4 and produced BAFTA nominated The World of Interiors.
Director/writing credits include a ten part series for Channel 4 called People's Britain and his acclaimed short Dad's Dead, which is winner of over 20 international awards including Best Short at the British Independent Film Awards and a BAFTA nomination.
His 2005 collaboration with artist David Shrigley, Who I Am And What I Want, won many international film awards, as did Silence is Golden in 2006, a live action/animated drama.
Backing the competition and the development of the students, proud Course Tutor, Suzanne Griffiths said: “The students have done so well with such a complex subject and the animation they have produced is quite mature for 16 to 18 year olds. The students have only been on the course for a couple of months, so to develop so quickly is excellent – they have bright promising futures ahead of them!”
Course Tutor Paul Holmes commenting about his students achievements added: “I’m very proud of the work they’ve created for this animation festival – they’ve worked hard and their dedication and commitment has paid off!”
Paul Holmes Graphic Design student, Victoria Foggin had never created any animation before entering the competition. Commenting on how it felt to be nominated for the award, Victoria modestly remarked: “I was surprised and delighted to discover I’d come second in the competition.”
Victoria smiled and added: “In terms of career development, it will definitely help. Hopefully I can get somewhere further, even it’s just recognition, everything helps and I’m really grateful for this brilliant opportunity!”
Trevor Griffiths attended the event and commented: “The awards the students have won here at the Bradford Animation Festival in 2011, just builds upon the successes we’ve had from Whistling Woods and the award we’ve just won in collaboration with them.”
Bradford College formed an exclusive partnership in 2008 with Whistling Woods International - Asia’s largest Film, Television, Animation and Media Arts institute.
Trevor Griffiths reflected: “We continue to develop and explore new markets and it’s a really positive sign for the future. Certainly Bradford being the ‘City of Film’, linked with animation, not just animation in this country, but animation internationally has got to be a good thing for Bradford, the College and the wider community.”
Bradford College students: Zara Hussain, Alison Smith and Ayesha Farooqui were also in attendance during the opening of the BAF festival, to blog on the events they witnessed first hand, including revealing the winners of the animation competition online.
To take a look at the blog posts online visit: http://nationalmediamuseum.blogspot.com/
For full BAF and BAF Game listings visit www.baf.org.uk