Three Leeds Beckett staff were nominated for Royal Television Society awards
Chair of the Board of Governors, David Lowen and Pro Vice Chancellor Mohammad Dastbaz were present at this prestigious event on Friday 19 June at New Dock Hall, Royal Armouries. Three Leeds Beckett staff were nominated in two categories: Senior Lecturer, Broadcast Media Technologies, Tim Blackwell and Senior Lecturer, Computing and Creative Technologies, Ashley Dean were nominated for the 'Animation and Visual Effects' category and Stewart Sparke, Senior Learning Officer, Film School, for the 'Independent Spirit Award' which 'recognises the best independent production company or in-house production unit in the region', for his film production company, Glass Cannon which produces film and animation for the Heritage sector and independent film.
Professor Dastbaz also presented the prize for best 'Factual Programme', which went to 'The Miners’ Strike and Me' made by 'Shiver - ITV Studios'. whose Chair, Mark Robinson, works closely with our University and opened our Creative Technology Show at Headingley Campus back in May 2015.
Stewart said: "We recently completed principal photography on our first feature film which I directed and produced called The Dark Below. There are now four of us in the company and we all have full time day jobs so our work at Glass Cannon is mostly done on evenings and over weekends so we were absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted! Although we didn't win it was a big honour to have been shortlisted and a fantastic experience to be up amongst some industry greats. We have a lot of great work lined up over the next year, both in Heritage commissions and independent film and hope that we can return to the awards next year with another nomination".
Tim worked with colleague and award-winning animator, Ashley, to develop the shortlisted film to accompany ‘The Occupation’, a poem written by Kaiser Chiefs singer and star of The Voice UK, Ricky Wilson, which featured on their 2014 number one album, ‘Education, Education, Education and War’ and which aired at the Kaiser Chiefs Leeds Arena tour earlier in the year.
Tim, who has a long association with the band and is friends with Ricky after the pair studied together at Leeds Beckett, told us: "I'm proud to be nominated for the award alongside my colleague Ashley, as it gives us an opportunity to demonstrate to our students the value in teamwork and underlines how important the bonds they make on the Broadcast Media Technologies course may prove in their professional lives".
The awards were established in 2005 to celebrate excellence in production in Yorkshire across all platforms, from documentaries to news and current affairs, and the latest cutting edge formats such as animation and multi-platform media.
Speaking about the making of the animation, Tim said: “They specifically wanted some video to accompany ‘The Occupation’. During the tour the poem was narrated in a pre-record by actor Bill Nighy. The only direction from the band was that they wanted something poignant to reflect the mood of the poem and a moment in their live set.
“I suggested I work in collaboration with Ashley in developing a film. The poem is about the futility of war, narrated from a soldier’s perspective, so we knew we ideally wanted to create something visually striking that drew on the iconography of war, but that was removed from time and place. We discussed Raymond Briggs, Pink Floyd and Terry Gilliam as points of reference.
“One of our first jobs was to find a stand in for Bill Nighy’s mouth and luckily our colleague Hugo Smith – who also teaches at Leeds Beckett and won an RTS award in 2011 - gamely obliged, methodically learning the passages of the poem. From that we were able to edit together a complete reading that matched the pace of Bill’s delivery. We then both set about producing drawn and animated content into which we could composite the mouth.”
With the 2016 approaching, our colleagues will be gearing up for entries into next year's Royal Television Society Yorkshire categories. We wish them well.