UWE filmmakers celebrate Doc/Fest success

Issue date: 03 November 2010

Two Media Practice graduates from the University of the West of England have had their short films shortlisted for the Sheffield Student Doc Award at Europe's biggest Documentary Film Festival, the Sheffield International Documentary Festival

Sheffield Doc/Fest takes place over five days from 3 to 7 November and brings the international documentary family together to celebrate the art and business of documentary making. Now in its seventeenth year, Doc/Fest will screen 120 films from 45 countries and is an excellent forum for new talent to meet established filmmakers, producers and buyers.

Documentary directors Juris Kudeiko and Andrew Whitehouse who completed their studies this summer produced the films as part of their final year coursework. They join a growing list of Media Practice graduates who have found success in this competition in recent years.

Alistair Oldham, Senior Lecturer in Media Practice at UWE, who teaches the documentary strand, said, “It's great news that students from the Media Practice course at UWE have had their films selected for the Sheffield International Documentary Festival. I'm obviously really pleased for the students concerned. That makes six UWE documentaries in three years for selection at Sheffield, which certainly puts us in the top league of student documentary film making in this country. I think besides us only the National Film School could claim to have that kind of success rate.”

Juris Kudeiko used his home country of Latvia as the inspiration for his film, Don't Give Up Your Guns. This dark documentary is an examination of the difficulties faced by Latvian immigrants in Severn Beach, Bristol through the example of a patriotic young man.

Juris explains,“ The film is my response to what is going on back in Latvia, what young people such as Armand, my friend and the main character in the film are forced to do and how much it takes to live in a totally new environment away from home. Also I have always been shocked with the way that some British individuals see Eastern European migrant workers here in England, so throughout the film I wanted to reflect that these people aren't coming here to steal the jobs but to survive.

“I'm honoured to be nominated and take part in such a great festival. But the main idea for me is to get the message across and for the film to be seen by people. I'm really pleased that the film will be broadcast on National Latvian Television and am also applying to other film festivals.”

Andrew Whitehouse and Adalean Coade directed Shooting Blind. Describing the film, Andrew said, “It's an inspiring documentary about blind football and the individuals who represent the national team. 2010 was a big year for England, as they were hosting the Blind Football World Cup for the first time. The film follows the team through their training, revealing the dynamics of the game and the individuals who make up the current squad, and ends with their last friendly before the tournament - England vs Germany.

“Adalean (Co-Director and Producer) and I wanted to highlight and discover how people with disabilities can achieve through their passion and determination. When we got in contact with The Royal National College for the Blind,they told us about the England team and about the idea of blind football. We knew then that this was an important and poignant story to tell as disability sports are not highlighted often in the mainstream media, especially in 2010 with the football world cup in South Africa coinciding with the Blind World Cup in Hereford.

“We're very proud of our achievements and wish to keep showing people how amazing these players are as genuine role models and ambassadors to sport. Addy and I put a lot into this project to develop our abilities, as well as those who worked alongside us to make it happen, and this nomination gives all of us reassurance going into the industry about what the degree has taught us.”

Shooting Blind has already been shown at the Jersey Film Festival this year, and will be part of the digital catalogue at the Encounters film festival in Bristol later this month.

The Sheffield Student Doc Award rewards the best student documentary in the Doc/Fest programme.10 entries have been submitted and will be judged by a panel of industry experts. The awards will be announced on Tuesday 9 November.

For more information see: http://sheffdocfest.com
For more information see: www.shooting-blind.co.uk

For more information on studying Media Practice at UWE see:Media Practice


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