Film created for UWE history project in running for prestigious award

Issue date: 21 September 2016

A film documenting a University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) research project about 18th century public executions has been shortlisted for a national prize.

The film, The Ballad of Johnny Walford, has been shortlisted in the Inspiration category of the 2016 Research in Film Awards.

Created by filmmaker and UWE Bristol associate lecturer Nathan Hughes, it was commissioned by the university's Regional History Centre to complement its research project Romancing the Gibbet.

Professor Steve Poole, Regional History Centre Director, said: “The film is part of a research project called Romancing the Gibbet in which we have blended archival research with live performance, poetry and soundscape, in situ, at places in the West Country where public executions took place in the 18th century. It uses balladry and atmospheric imagery to interpret the death by public hanging of John Walford for the murder of his wife near Nether Stowey, Somerset, in 1789.

“The whole project team – Ralph Hoyte, Michael Fairfax and myself are really thrilled that Nathan's film has been shortlisted for the award.”

Established in 2015 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Research in Film Awards celebrate short films made about the arts and humanities and their influence on our lives. Hundreds of films were submitted for the awards this year. The winners, to be announced at a ceremony on November 10, will each receive £2,000.

Judges for the 2016 awards include Professor Tom Inns, Director of the Glasgow School of Art, and writer, broadcaster and film critic, Danny Leigh.

Mike Collins, Head of Communications at the AHRC, said: “The standard of film-making in this year's awards has been exceptionally high and the range of themes covered span the whole breadth of arts and humanities subjects.

“While watching the films I was impressed by the careful attention to detail and rich story telling that the filmmakers had used to engage their audiences. The quality of the shortlisted films further demonstrates the endless potential of using film as way to communicate and engage people with academic research. Above all, the shortlist showcases the art of filmmaking as a way of helping us to understand the world that we live in today.”

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