UWE Graduate wins prize for War Film

Issue date: 13 February 2008

Image from the film A graduate from the University of the West of England has won a prestigious prize from the Imperial War Museum Student Film Festival. Alex Bland, who graduated from UWE with a BA in Illustration in 2007, has won the prize for 'Best Imaginative Response to the Subject of War' for his film 'I dreamt of flying'.

Alex said that his film was inspired when he found out about his Grandad who was a rear gunner during the 2nd World War. Alex explains, “I found out that the airmen of the Bomber Command did not have an official commemoration and I wanted to find out more about what these men did and to create a film in memory of those who died. My film is a four minute mixed media documentary that shows a contrasting presentation to the sometimes romanticised perception of the RAF. I wanted to try to show how difficult it was to be an airman in a bomber crew and to give recognition to the many lives lost.

“The film used mixed media techniques with some hand drawn illustrations, animation and archived material. The film uses sound interviews with soldiers from the bomber command, archive film footage, collages of images and drawings and archive documents.

“I'm really proud to win this award as I didn't actually know about this competition until I went to the Imperial War Museum to do some research for my film. Since leaving UWE I have done some work with Arthur Cox Ltd, an animation company based in Bristol and I'm currently looking for permanent work in the animation industry.”

This is the seventh year that the Imperial War Museum has run a Student Film Festival. The Festival offers the opportunity to students who have made films and videos incorporating archive film from the Museum's collection or about its subject matter, to have their work screened publicly in the cinema. Each title screened in the Festival is also eligible to be entered into the competition, for which there are three categories; Best Documentary; Best Imaginative Response to the Subject of War and Winner of the Audience Poll.

Toby Haggith, Head of Public Access at the Imperial War Museum's Film Archive, said, “The judges were highly impressed with this multi-layered evocation of the experiences of RAF bomber crews during the Second World War. They were especially impressed with the use of different and sound sources and the rich range of documents presented.”

Professor Paul Gough, Dean of the Faculty of Creative Arts and an expert on the artistic representation of war and peace said, “It is particularly gratifying for me to see that Alex has won this very prestigious recognition from the Imperial War Museum as the iconography of war is an area that I have pursued for many years. Alex's film is a pertinent and personal illustration that captures the memory of the brave men in the bomber command during the second World War and well deserving of the prize.”


Editor's notes
The film can be viewed at http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxTJYK_JnQM

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