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Budding Film-Makers Show Vision At Student Film Festival

A documentary produced by an English Literature student with no formal training in film production has been awarded 'Winner of the Audience Poll' in the Imperial War Museum's Sixth Annual Student Film Festival.
'Liberating Dachau', made by Genevieve Simms, who was studying for an MA in Post-Colonial Literature at London University while making the film, is a partly dramatised reconstruction of the liberation of Dachau concentration camp, as recalled by the journalist Marguerite Higgins.
The awards ceremony for this unique Festival, run by the Imperial War Museum, will be held on 8 February 2007. Designed originally to bring student films to a wider audience and as a way to improve standards in British documentary, the Festival is rapidly becoming an important showcase for British filmmaking talent. All the films screened in the Festival, held in November and December each year, incorporate archive footage from the Museum's collection or are made in response to the Museum's collections and exhibitions. There are three categories in the competition: 'Best Documentary' sponsored by The History Channel, 'Best Imaginative Response to the Subject of War' sponsored by The Machine Room and 'Winner of the Audience Poll'.
The winning film in the Annie Dodd's award for 'Best Documentary' category was 'The Wellpark Story' made by Joanne Wall, while studying for an MA in Documentary Practice at Brunel University. The documentary is a powerful and engaging account of an event in 1978 when British merchant sailors on The Wellpark rescued 347 Vietnamese refugees; just as their overcrowded fishing boat began to sink in a raging storm. The judges were particularly impressed with the skilful use of archive film and the powerful interviews with the Vietnamese and British merchant seamen.
The winner in the category 'Best Imaginative Response To The Subject Of War' was A Long Weekend, by animation student Tom Purcell from Norwich School of Art and Design. The animated short film is based on the recollections of RAF regular Albert Whisker who was posted to Christmas Island during the British atom bomb trials. The judges were impressed by Tom's clever blend of animation, archive footage and contemporaneous popular music. They also commended the filmmaker for combining humour with an ironic and chilling commentary on the treatment of servicemen involved in the British nuclear weapon trials.
An additional 'Judges' Commendation' was also awarded to Hamy Ramezan and Orpheus Reineke (The University College for the Creative Arts), for their moving drama 'Just Waiting', about a refugee boy and his father as they wait to be selected by the UN for deportation away from the hellish conditions at the Padinska Skela Detention Centre for immigrants and criminals in the former Yugoslavia.
The winning titles in the 'Best Documentary' and 'Best Creative Response to the Subject of War' categories were selected from the short-list (created by the audience poll) by a panel of judges from the Museum's Film and Video Archive and academics and professionals from the film and television industry including Richard Melman, The History Channel, Kevin Dolan, Film London and Tom Roberts, October Films. The 'Winner of the Audience Poll' was decided solely by audience ballot.
The prize-giving ceremony for the Sixth Imperial War Museum Student Film Festival and Competition will be held on Thursday 8 February 2007 at 6.30pm. Admission is free, but tickets must be booked in advance.
Email: boxoffice The Museum is now accepting entries for the Seventh Student Film Festival that begins in November 2007. Go to:

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