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BBC centenary project led by Kingston School of Art academics shortlisted for national film award

Posted Friday 28 April 2023

BBC centenary project led by Kingston School of Art academics shortlisted for national film award Something More Than Masquerade © Shamica Ruddock is one of the short films made from the project

An AHRC-funded project led by two Kingston School of Art academics which saw emerging filmmakers create new short films inspired by BBC Archive material has been shortlisted for a 2023 Learning on Screen Award.

Nominated in the Online Education Resource category, the Make Film History project was led by Kingston School of Art's Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Film and Photography, Dr Shane O'Sullivan, and Dr Colm McAuliffe who worked as postdoctoral researcher on the project.

Organised to mark the BBC's centenary in 2022, the project gave 50 emerging filmmakers from across the UK access to 150 films from BBC Archive for creative reuse. They created short films using this footage inspired by 100 years of BBC storytelling, on themes including the environment, mental health, youth culture, immigration, and the Black British experience. A selection of the films are now available to watch on the BBC website and on the project website.

Workshops in Belfast, London, Glasgow, and Leeds supported emerging filmmakers to create archive-inspired short film projects, mentored by artist filmmakers who work with archive film in their practice.

Dr O'Sullivan highlighted the educational benefits of being able to use archive material in this way. "The project allowed budding filmmakers to investigate 100 years of film and social history at the BBC and to relate these stories to their lives and experiences today. Many chose to explore their own personal connections to the footage, interweaving images from the past and present to offer a fresh perspective on these themes," he said.

One of the short films, Something More Than Masquerade by Shamica Ruddock, has been nominated for a Learning on Screen Award in the Creative Reuse category. It explores the traditions and spirit of carnival, using footage from a 1981 film about the Notting Hill carnival held by the British Film Institute National Archive.

Another creation, called Passing Place, makes use of The Smallest School in Britain, a Nationwide piece filmed in 1974 which reminded the filmmaker of her time growing up in the remote Scottish Highlands. She uses the footage to explore her own memories in relation to remote living, juxtaposed with old family videos and interviews with her father today, both shot on her father's camcorder.

Following the award shortlisting, Dr O'Sullivan praised the project participants on their achievements. "It's been a real honour to be involved in the creation of this educational resource. To work with all the emerging filmmakers and see them recognised in these awards is a real testament to the quality of the films they produced."

The BBC centenary project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in partnership with the BBC and Kingston School of Art. The Make Film History project has already been recognised for its work, winning the FIAT/IFTA Archive Achievement award in 2021 for a previous AHRC-funded project with Dr Ciara Chambers from University College Cork, in collaboration with the BBC, Northern Ireland Screen and the British and Irish Film Institutes.

The Learning on Screen awards showcase the best visual educational materials in film and television. Winners will be announced at an in-person ceremony on Thursday 4 May at BFI Southbank in London.

Kingston has also received multiple nominations in the Student Animation category and Professor Ken McMullen's film Hamlet Within has been shortlisted in the Educational Film in-house category.

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