Two UWE filmmakers shortlisted for BBC Talent awards

Issue date: 07 November 2005


Issue date: 07/11/05

Two film makers from the University of the West of England have been shortlisted for the BBC New Talent awards.

Lecturer Mark Hewis has been nominated for the New Film Makers Award and animation student Karen Cheung has been shortlisted for the New Animation Award.

Both films will be screened for the first time at the forthcoming Brief Encounters Film Festival in Bristol on Thursday 24 November together with all other short listed films in both categories. BBC New Talent winners will have their films broadcast on BBC 3 in March during prime time viewing. The winner of the New Animation prize may receive funding to develop an animation project and the overall winner of the New Film Makers Award will receive £5,000. Finalists will also get the chance to pitch for three-minute shorts to be made in early 2006.

Mark Hewis is an experienced animator but this is the first time he has created a film that includes live action. His film is called ‘The Chihuahua Messiah’ and is a live action/animated tale about Kitty and her mother who live on the lonely moors. Kitty is a girl on the brink of adulthood plagued by the distant memory of her vacant father. The film cost just £8,500 to make and was funded by the Film Council and Film London.

Mark said, “This film has a dark fairy tale atmosphere but is shot in a beautiful setting. The gift from Kitty’s father is a Chihuahua which is ominously placed inside Kitty’s stomach giving rise to obvious metaphors for sexual abuse. Kitty exhumes her demon memories by vomiting the dog out of her mouth onto a blue towel in a stable and the final frame in the film shows her with her mother and the dog in a remarkable resemblance to the nativity scene – hence the film’s name ‘The Chihuahua Messiah.’

Karen Cheung’s film is called ‘Headache Hotel.’ Karen said, “The film is about what happens when a tune gets stuck in your head and you can’t get rid of it. A little bird arrives at a hotel and gets a piano out of a bag and starts to play a tune that annoys all the customers. The bird is ejected from the hotel.”

Karen’s film is made up of 1,800 line drawings and the drawings are based on the musical stave thus enhancing the storyline visually. ‘Headache Hotel’ is Karen’s first animated film and this is the first time that she has entered a competition.

Professor Paul Gough, Dean of the Bristol School of Art, Media and Design said, “This is thrilling news for Mark Hewis and Karen Cheung. Karen’s achievement in reaching the shortlist for her first animated film is phenomenal and demonstrates that the animation course at UWE is nurturing talent successfully. A new animation degree is currently being planned, to complement the successful MA in animation and the extensive programme of short courses.”

-ENDS-

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