MA Animation graduate award win at Horror Film Festival in Malta


A short film by a recent Bournemouth University graduate has won the Best Animated Film prize at a Horror Film Festival in Malta.

Dark Places was created by Matt Stroud, who has just graduated from the MA 3D Computer Animation course.

It won in the Best Animated Film category at the inaugural Malta Horror Filmfest, which took place over Halloween weekend.

Matt, 24, who is from Malta, said: “Having just finished the course I was really looking to promote myself as much as I could and I found film festivals to be one of the best methods.

“I never expected to actually win anything but when I found out it felt fantastic. It’s always great to get that acknowledgment of your work.”

Dark Places took Matt around three and a half months to complete as his final Master’s project, and focuses on a young boy making his way through the dark.

“Dark Places is horror themed animation about a little boy named Lucas who gets lost in this seemingly infinite dark void with only a lantern to guide his way, but he soon realizes that he isn’t alone,” Matt said.

“The idea partly came from my childhood experiences of being afraid of the dark and was also inspired by my love of horror films.”

Matt added that he hoped to use the skills he learnt on his BU course and the recognition of his work to help build the animation industry in Malta.

“The course made a huge difference to my potential career path,” he said.

“I went from knowing next to nothing about technology, techniques and theory of animation to having a whole new skillset and feeling confident with my ability to work within the animation industry.”

He added: “Thanks to the award more people got to hear about me so you never know what that might lead to, although on principle I put more weight on my work rather than what awards they might win.

“With the skills I have gained I hope to be in a position to help strengthen the animation industry in my country, which is currently still in its infancy.”

Watch Matt’s winning film Dark Places

BU students win two international awards for short film

An animated film created by students at Bournemouth University has won two awards at international film festivals.

Almighty Doodles was made by computer animation and sound design students as part of a coursework project last May.

But the one minute film has also impressed at international film festivals, and has been awarded both audience and jury prizes.

Simone Giampaolo, who is now in his third year of a BA Computer Animation Arts degree at BU, directed Almighty Doodles and entered it into one–minute film festivals in Switzerland and the USA.

Simone, 23, is from Switzerland, and was able to attend the One Minute Film and Video Festival 2012 – which took place in Aarau, Switzerland in August – to see the film win the Audience Award.

The group won a trophy and a camera – which they will share between them and use for future projects while they are studying.

“The festival was awesome but I didn’t expect the film to win any prizes,” said Simone, who lives in Winton while at BU.

“To be honest, we had to rush in the end to submit something but, even though there are some little mistakes, people still seem to like it.”

He added: “The film festivals are quite established and there were people there with a wide range of skills, and some film–makers who had been doing it for ten years.

“At the end of the day, this short was nothing more than a university assignment and I think it is really nice, and it really makes us proud that something we did for university could be screened abroad and watched by hundreds of people.

He added: “It was a really nice feeling and great that I could be there and explain how the film was made and the people who worked on it.”

He also submitted the film to the Film One Fest, which is based in New Jersey, in the USA, and takes place in July.

Although no–one from the group was able to attend the festival, they were told they had won a Jury Prize via email, and received a certificate through the post.

“It is quite a big festival,” Simone said. “I would have loved to have gone there. It has a giant screen in a field and they told me that more than 1,000 people watched the film.

“I never thought we would get an award at both the festivals, so we are all really happy.”

Almighty Doodles was created by Simone and fellow BA Computer Animation Arts students Jack Carrington and Danit Klibansky; BA Computer Visualisation and Animation students Rob Stratton and Rochelle Flynn, who are now in their third year; and BSc Music and Audio Technology students Andrei Leskovski and Asha Blatherwick – who worked on the sound for the film and have now finished their degrees at BU.

The film is inspired by the Book of Genesis, and takes place in ‘God’s studio’, showing him selecting the creatures he will bring to life. Man manages to escape before he can be rejected by God’s holy stamp.

“We were trying to make fun of humankind but do it in a funny, naïve way without offending anyone,” said Simone.

He added that he hopes the film’s success will inspire future students who have to do the coursework project, which involves pitching and creating a one minute film.

“After spending hours and hours on a project, you want your work to be showed somewhere,” he said.

“Hopefully letting this year’s second year students know that one of these film projects was shown at international film festivals will help them see it is not just an assessment.

“Bournemouth University is really renowned for computer animation, so the fact that we got to showcase our skills while we are still students is really positive.

View Almighty Doodles