A film produced by a Falmouth University academic has been nominated in the Best British Short Film category at this year’s BAFTA Awards.
Island Queen was produced by head of fashion photography, Emma Hughes, who described the recognition as “like an oxygen blast to the head”.
No stranger to success, Island Queen has already won the El Rey Award for Excellence in Short Film-making at last year’s Barcelona Film Festival and was named Best Comedy at 2013’s European Independent Film Festival. It has also been nominated for the Van d’Or Independent Film Award, Renderyard Short Film Festival and ASFF Aesthetica Short Film Festival.
Created on a budget of just £1,000 and shot on location in Cornwall over three days, the team said they were delighted with the latest accolade. Directed by Ben Mallaby, senior lecturer at Ravensbourne, Island Queen featured contributions from a number of Falmouth University’s staff and students. Fashion photography lecturer Kirsty Smith and animation lecturer Georg Finch were directors of photography, while students assisted as runners and extras.
Written by and starring Nat Luurtsema, the film presents an irreverent take on the life of Miriam – a woman who visits a sperm bank, with unexpected consequences. The 16-minute short also features comics Sam Pamphilon and Toby Williams.
According to Kirsty Smith, it was a collaboration between industry and community.
“It was very exciting to work with members of the university, industry figures and Cornish venues,” she said. “We couldn’t have done it without everybody’s efforts and what really stood out was the backing we received from the region. People were genuinely engaged and excited about the film. They opened their spaces to us for free with real warmth and support.”
The film features exterior and interior shots from around the Falmouth area, including St Mawes ferry, Merlin Cinema, Chainlocker pub and Courtyard Deli, as well as Durgan and the Helford River.
“With just three days to film we worked 18-hour days and it wasn’t unheard of for us to be lighting a fishing boat in gale force winds,” added Kirsty.
Island Queen marks the second film collaboration for Ben and Emma, who enjoy a long professional partnership having become friends while studying at university.
“It felt like a film made between friends,” said Emma. “We worked with colleagues, students and the community. What’s particularly nice is that it reflects what we say to our students. Ben and I met at university and have worked together ever since. It shows that it’s the creative collaborations and networks you make in education which continue on into industry and lead to some great achievements.”
The results of this year’s BAFTA Awards will be announced at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden on February 16.