BU students win all-expenses paid trip to Thailand to film documentary

Posted on Thursday, March 28 2013

The Amazing Thailand finalists

Two teams of TV Production students from Bournemouth University will be flown out to Thailand to make documentaries, after reaching the finals of an international film competition.

Final year students Lydia Harrison and Callum Cooper and first years Mark Benjamin and Anastasia Stankovsky are all on the BA (Hons) Television Production course at BU and will be the only representatives from the UK in the Amazing Thailand Film Challenge.

Teams from around the world will be flown out to Thailand to make documentaries about different aspects of the country for the competition.

They will all be screened at a red carpet event during the Thailand International Destination Film Festival, and the team behind the winning documentary will receive the equivalent of around £23,000 in prize money.

Lydia, 21, said the experience of going to Thailand will be great, even if they don’t win.

“We feel so lucky to have this opportunity and to be going to represent Britain at all,” she said.

“It’s a once in a lifetime experience and I’m excited to meet people and find out more about Thailand. It will be a great chance to network with other filmmakers from around the world.”

More than 800 teams applied for the chance to take part in the competition, which was also open to professional filmmakers, but only 100 have got through to the finals in Thailand – with just five teams from Europe.

They will fly out to Thailand on March 30, and will have to film and edit their documentaries using their own equipment for the festival screening, which takes place just before they fly back on April 11.

The teams have been provided with flights, hotel accommodation in Bangkok and a budget of around £700 for their films, as well as a local assistant and production advice.

Callum, 23, said that the experience would be stressful, but they were determined to make the most of their time in Thailand.

“It’s our first time on a really professional shoot with a big budget,” he said.

“We have got control and have this large budget, so there is that pressure on us to get it in on time. We know we will be thrown into the deep end but we are not going to let it stop us having a great experience.

“Our first priority is getting the documentary done as professionally as we can, but there is going to be some time to enjoy being out there.”

Both of the teams from BU are filming near Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand.

Lydia and Callum, who both live in Winton while studying, will be filming a self-sustaining hill tribe in the village of Ban Mae Sa Mai, and a project there which helps them rebuild the surrounding forest.

Mark and Anastasia, who are both in Halls of Residence in Poole, will be filming at the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, focusing on the work being done to prevent poaching and increase the number of tigers in the wild.

Mark, 22, said: “I’ve never really travelled before, so it’s going to be a completely new experience for me. I think it’s going to be life-changing and is really going to help us a lot with gaining placements and contacts.

“The Media School have been really supportive and everyone is really proud and happy for us.” Anastasia, 19, added: “I didn’t think we would have an experience like this in our first year of university.

“I was so shocked when I found out we’d got through out of all the hundreds of applications – and that the other UK team is from our course as well. It’s unbelievable.”