The Helpful Dead has won Best Film by primary age children at the Electric December 2012 awards in Bristol. Four of the filmmaking team from Wyke Regis Junior school joined facilitators Sharon Hayden and Alastair Nisbet from ScreenPLAY to receive the award at Bristol's Watershed - and a bag of film goodies from sponsor Aardman Animation.
Project producer Sharon Hayden said it was a wonderful achievement for the ten year old filmmakers.
"We're thrilled their work is being recognised in this way. It’s the first time any of these children have been to Bristol - and being part of these awards has opened their eyes to some of the opportunities out there in our creative industries. Best Film in Electric December could perhaps be a first step on the path to a career in film.”
Other winners travelled from as far away as Poland for this year’s awards. Best animation went to 20 year old Agnieszka Konarska for her atmospheric film Hunt about a Raven and its bid to escape. Best Comedy went to Taking Out Tim by Tiverton High School with My Pockets, and Best documentary to Adrenaline Junky, a moving film about a motorcyclist regaining his action packed lifestyle after an accident.
Electric December producer Hannah Higginson said the films had all been chosen for their imaginative and distinctive style. “I’ve been knocked out by the huge amount of flair and talent on show this year. We are committed to developing new talent and it’s a joy to see the exciting range of films from across Europe. All the Electric December films are on the website electricdecember.org- including The Big Splash, one of the other Dorchester Arts Olympic films by St John’s Primary School in Weymouth. The Helpful Dead was based on a real life tragedy and characters were inspired by Victorian works of art in Birmingham and Cambridge. Read about the real people behind the story. The Helpful Dead was funded by the Lottery's First Light initiative with additional support from b-side, Departure Arts and the school itself.
Every primary school in Dorset is to receive a DVD of short animated films made for the Olympics by primary school children in Weymouth and Portland. With support from Departure Arts and b-side Multimedia Arts Festival, a team of artists and filmmakers from Dorchester ARTS spent last term working with more than 130 children at Underhill Junior School on Portland, Wyke Regis Junior School and St John’s Primary School.
The films, the Portland Race, the Helpful Dead and the Big Splash tell three very different stories about, Weymouth, Portland and the Olympics.
Project producer Sharon Hayden said she hoped other schools would use them as a stimulus for discussion in their work on London 2012.
“These films will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people during the Olympics later in the summer. The year four and five children who made them have produced three wonderful stories with terrific drama, beautiful drawing and extraordinary soundtracks, and we know from what others have already told us that they offer a useful starting point for assemblies and class discussions.”
The films, lottery funded by the BFI’s First Light initiative, are being distributed by Departure Arts. You can also view and request copies on the website at www.dorchesterarts.org.uk/projects . The films are: The Helpful Dead by year five at Wyke Regis Junior School A majestic tall ship sunk off Dead Man’s Cove, Portland in 1872 has a dramatic emotional link with the 2012 sailing events.
The Portland Race by year four at Underhill Junior School When Olympic boats fill the harbour - there’s only one thing for a father and son to do - go fishing by moonlight in a tiny Lerret boat.
The Big Splash by Year Five at St John’s Primary When the Olympic torch is sensationally stolen amid crowds on Weymouth seafront, four best friends make a splash in more ways then one as they try to get it back.
An animated Peregrine Falcon leads you along The Legacy Trail - a 13 mile trail through Weymouth to Portland Bill along the stunning Jurassic coast.
The trail is one of the Dorset town’s London 2012 Olympic legacies, offering visitors and local people a chance to explore the wild side of this stunning part of the country. The Peregrine, drawn by Nic Rawling of the Paper Cinema specially for the project, guides viewers through reedbeds, along Weymouth’s bucket and spade seafront to a hidden trail on the old railway line to Portland Harbour and the extraordinary Chesil beach.
From Underhill, it goes up the Merchants’ Incline, the track of a historic horse drawn tramway used to move Portland stone to the dock in the 19th century and into a fascinating maze of of old quarry workings, complete with 150 year old tunnels - and, if you can spot it, a fine example of a fossilised tree.
From the Quarries, the trail moves on to the Engine shed, where steam locos on the Portland line were refuelled and maintained, before moving down to the East Weares, a spectacular coastal section - complete with its own herd of wild native goats. Here you could easily see a pair of the island’s resident Peregrines with their young, calling to them from the clifftop.
The trail goes on, past cliffs of roped up climbers honing their skills for greater heights, to Church Ope cove where locals enjoy a dip in the sea or try their luck spear fishing for sea bass.
On flies the Peregrine, past long disused cranes used for loading the valuable stone onto waiting barges, until finally it reaches the Bill. Time for a visit to the lighthouse, a welcome bite to eat and a look round the visitor centre.
I’ve just noticed that our short animation of the the Willow Pattern Story from a half term workshop a few years ago has topped 17,000 views on You Tube ! Seemed like a good excuse to tell people about it again.
The young people who took part should feel really proud of their work ! Watch out for the not very subtle comedy moment.
Animated films by children at two Weymouth primary schools have been selected for an international showcase of young filmmaking talent.
The Big Splash and the Helpful Dead, made for the Olympics by pupils at St John’s Primary and Wyke Regis Junior schools will be part of Electric December, a countdown calendar featuring the best of young people’s short films from across Europe.
The films, seen by thousands on big screens during the summer, will now bring Weymouth and Portland - as seen through the eyes of ten year olds - to an international audience.
Over the course of a month in each school the young filmmakers worked with a group of six artists from Dorchester Arts, led by Sharon Hayden of digital arts organisation ScreenPLAY.
She said the children gave both films a strong sense of place and local identity.
“In the Big Splash they wanted to capture the feel of the torch relay on Weymouth seafront and the determination and courage of a group of young people swimming across the bay. In researching Helpful Dead, the children found a head teacher’s diary from 1872 with descriptions of a shipwreck off the Chesil. This gave them the idea to link a Victorian tragedy with the 2012 Olympics,” she explained. The films, plus the third in the trilogy the Portland Race, were funded by the lottery through the BFI’s First Light initiative.