A trio of Staffordshire University filmmakers

Film students win funding to take projects to another level

2 mins read

A trio of Staffordshire University filmmakers have been awarded cash bursaries after impressing a local film company.

For the sixth year running, Inspired Film and Video offered BA (Hons) Film Production students from Staffordshire University the chance to compete for funding to support their final year projects.

After pitching their ideas to Company Director Mike McDonald, three winners were chosen to receive a cash boost for their films.

Mike explained: “The company’s founding members met while studying at Staffordshire University and a lot of our team are graduates. These bursaries are a way for us to give something back and support future talent.

“I always enjoy the student pitches and this year didn’t disappoint. Everyone who took part did a great job but I was particularly impressed by the ambition of the three winners and  hopefully this extra budget will help them turn their ideas into reality.”

Oscar Bell, Bee Roberts and George Hristov will each receive £250 towards their films. Once completed, one of the funded projects will be granted a further £250 to support the film’s distribution.

Oscar plans to make a short drama about financial insecurity to showcase how money worries can disrupt martial relationships, affect mental health and take shape of a young person’s future

He said: “I think it’s quite a relevant topic given the cost-of-living crisis that we are in now. It will take elements of gritty British films but with experimental techniques to make a visual metaphor of stormy oceans to represent money worries which are often described as like drowning or trying to keep afloat.

“I wasn’t expecting to win but it’s a big relief that I can now make the film that I want to make. That’s the thing I’m most excited about and I’m just really grateful.”

Fellow winner Bee is making contemporary documentary ‘Damsels’ about the female experience. The 23-year-old from Shrewsbury explained: “I wasn’t expecting it! It is nice to have these opportunities and it means a lot to know that there are people backing us and who want us to succeed.

“I said in my pitch that I believe in my filmmaking abilities and that this project is going to be fantastic no matter what because of the community within it and the message that it gives. But this money means that the scale is going to be more than I could have imagined. I’m going to bring in some amazing women to contribute, it means I can travel out to people and just take it from being a small-scale student film to an experience instead.”

Final winner George is making a documentary about stand-up comedians which will explore their craft, their lives off-stage and the idea of performing around diverse audiences from different cultures.

He added: “The bursary will be highly beneficial because part of the idea is for me to travel to where the comedians do their gigs and interview them backstage. Without this extra funding I couldn’t do this, so it means that I can have a higher production value and it will allow me to make something unique.”

The bursaries were made available through Staffordshire University’s Horizon Fund which provides scholarships, bursaries and opportunities for students funded by donations from alumni and the public.

Ron Quenby

Senior journalist with more than 25 years’ experience of working as a news reporter for provincial and national newspapers. Ron’s varied skills include feature writing, interviewing for real life stories and compiling specialist articles for in-house publications.

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