Alongside an audience including Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence and film director Ridley Scott, BU graduates took their seats at the internationally renowned 2018 EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA’s) this year.
The much sought-after and admired awards have been bestowed on esteemed members of the film industry both in the UK and internationally for more than 70 years; celebrating the best industry talent from the fields of acting, visual effects, direction, cinematography, and sound design, among others.
Appearing on stage directly after Director Raoul Peck, whose film 'I Am Not Your Negro' took the BAFTA award for Best Documentary, Director of the National Film and Television School (NFTS) Dr Jon Wardle, a BU alumni and former Head of BU’s Centre of Excellence for Media Practice (CEMP), stepped up to collect the BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema from Olivier-award winning actress and Calendar Girl, Celia Imrie.
BU graduates also appeared in production studio teams working on some of the films shortlisted, like Blade Runner 2049, a sci-fi epic featuring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, which won this year’s BAFTA for Best Special Visual Effects. BU Computer Animation and Visualisation graduate Richard Clegg worked on the film as Visual Effects Supervisor. Richard was part of the team which took on pioneering VFX work to digitally re-create a real-life character from preceding film, the replicant Rachel, first played by a 23 year old Sean Young in 1982.
Also attending the 71st BAFTA award ceremony was BU alumni, Director Ben Steer, whose animated short film, Mamoon, was shortlisted for the British Short Animation BAFTA. Ben achieved a first-class BA (Hons) Computer Animation and Visualisation degree from BU in 2000, before going on to receive a Distinction in MA Computer Animation in 2001.
Talking to BAFTA about his nomination, Ben, who works as a Senior Animation Director at London-based studio Blue Zoo Productions, said: “The film was entirely made using projectors onto polystyrene sets, which was then filmed live action. The film was inspired by the Syrian migrant crisis, which, at the time I wrote it, was featuring a lot on the media.
“What I wanted to do was find references of someone who’d done something similar that I could see what they’d done right and wrong. No-one had, so I knew I was onto something unique. On the one hand, it’s exciting to be trying something new, but on the other hand, I had no idea if it was going to work.”
He added: “There is plenty of space for people to rise up the ranks when they show that innovation and passion, it’s always noticed – there’s certainly potential for anyone going into my industry, animation, to end up directing.”
Ben’s film was commissioned as part of Blue Zoo’s Shorts Programme, which recently saw fellow Blue Zoo animator and BU alumnus Izzy Burton direct her short film, Via, which introduced to BU students earlier this month.
The successes form part of a year of outstanding achievements for graduates across BU’s National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) with BU animation graduate Mike Mullholland nominated for Best Visual Effects in Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on March 4.
(Images supplied courtesy of British Academy of Film and Television Awards)