Bournemouth University graduates are celebrating another success, after becoming Oscar-winners thanks to their work on the film Interstellar.
A number of BU graduates worked on the visual effects for Interstellar, which won the Best Visual Effects Oscar during the 2015 Academy Awards. The film also picked up the Special Visual Effects Award at this year’s BAFTAs.
BU graduate Andy Lockley was on stage at the ceremony to collect the Award, alongside BU honorary doctorate recipient Paul Franklin.
Lockley, who completed an MA in Digital Special Effects at BU in 2000, said: "I'm very excited that we are winners again. Everyone seems to think that we should have expected to be nominated, but it's never a sure thing.
I really enjoyed my time [at BU], I came in as a mature student and hadn't been to university before, so I embraced student life to its fullest. I have very fond memories of my classmates and working through the night in the rather smelly lab."
The win continues the developing tradition that BU has for producing Oscar-winning graduates, as alumni have also worked on Academy Award-winning films in previous years, such as Inception, Avatar and Gravity.
Franklin and Lockley work at British production house Double Negative alongside a number of other graduates from BU’s National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA).
Craig Tonks, who graduated in MA Digital Effects in 2011, also worked on the Oscar-winning visual effects for Interstellar.
He said: "My work on Interstellar was extremely daunting, challenging and rewarding - made even more so for it being my first big film job and first project for Double Negative.
"We knew it had the potential to win awards but you never know until it's all finished, and I couldn't be prouder of my work and the people I worked with on it."
Sofronis Efstathiou, who lectures within the NCCA, said, "Witnessing our graduates move into a very competitive industry and then work on some of the best creative projects from around the world is a fantastic feeling. We take great pride in the work of our students and graduates within the Computer Games and Film sectors.
"Indirectly we will have had over 100 graduates working across all the nominated feature films. I’m sure all of the staff and current students at BU are proud of our graduates. Congratulations from everyone here on the south coast.”
Prime Minister David Cameron was also quick to endorse the contribution Bournemouth University makes to the creative industries in the UK, stating during Prime Minister’s Questions, “Our creative industries are a vital part of our economy and our country.
“When we look at film and television and we see the great results at the BAFTAs, the high hopes we have for the Oscars [and] British film and television conquering the world, Bournemouth University plays a very important part because its training of some of our digital effects specialists [and] because of many of our creative people – [are] an absolutely key part of this vital and growing industry.”