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Students combine talent to create animation selected for international film festival

Two of our graduates, a filmmaker and a fine artist, have combined their skills to create a steampunk, fairytale-inspired animation, which has been chosen to be screened at a BAFTA qualifying international film festival in York next month.>

Ben Gratton, who studied BA (Hons) Film Production and Jessica Tallett, who studied BA (Hons) Fine Art at our Farnham campus, beat thousands of entrants to have their film, The Last Fairy, shown at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival, which runs from 3-6 November and includes entrants from around 40 countries worldwide.

Ben, 23 and from Portsmouth, said: “I chose to make the production in the style of a shadow puppet film because I thought this was the best way of including fairytale and steampunk genres on a student budget. I also decided in the early stages that I wanted the film to be a poem. Once I'd written the poem I pitched the concept to Jessica, outlining the visuals I imagined for the film and the backgrounds I would need to tell the story. Jessica started working on the art before we even shot the film."

Jessica, who is 22 and from Banstead, added: "I began by using ink to create paintings for each of the locations needed for the film. These paintings were then scanned and Ben used a multi-plane camera technique to transform them into animation. We filmed the live action elements of the film before Christmas and it was finally finished in May."

The animation, which cost £60 to make in total, follows the story of Archimedes, who sets off on a journey to find the last fairy at the request of his dying father but, unlike more traditional fairytales, the story doesn’t have a typical happy ending and instead takes inspiration from the darker elements of storytelling.  

Jessica, who completed a Foundation course at our Epsom campus before beginning her Fine Art degree, continued: "We both feel extremely proud that The Last Fairy has been selected for the film festival. I actually did a case study about Aesthetica Magazine during my third year at UCA so it feels extremely surreal to have been accepted into their film festival.

"I think the simplistic yet striking visuals of the film allow the audience to be fully immersed in the story. I also think the elements of traditional animation, such as the ink drawings, allow for a real hand-drawn effect which makes a refreshing change from CGI and is, perhaps, what sets the film apart from the crowd. The poem element of the film is another unique aspect which is unusual in contemporary short films."

The Aesthetica Film Festival celebrates independent short films from around the world. Any film screened at the festival becomes eligible to be nominated for a BAFTA.


The Last Fairy