Thursday, 22nd June 2017

Budding film directors from South Tyneside College Lucy Nicholaidis and Richard Meade have proved victims of their own success – with their debut movies.
The talented level 3 media studies students were shortlisted for a prestigious regional prize for their death-themed first films.
Both were among runners-up in the annual North East Young Filmmakers Awards, which celebrates the best new talent in Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Teesside.
In their two-minute short ‘blockbusters’, Richard plays an attack victim whose life is slipping away, while Lucy is solving a suspicious murder.
Held at The Customs House in South Shields, the awards final was hosted by comedian Jason Cook, writer of TV comedy Hebburn and contributor to The Chris Ramsey Show.
Judges were producer Loran Dunn of Delaval Film and a 2016 BFI Vision Award recipient, EastEnders: E20 writer Laura Turner, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Tale of Tales actor Eric MacLennan.
Lucy’s film, Cold Nights, featured five friends who discover a body in a cabin, and seek to uncover the killer.
She wrote, directed and acted in her production, and at the close revealed the culprit through a mysteriously placed identification card at the scene.
Richard also took up roles behind and in front of the camera, keeping the audience in suspense as the victim clings to his life after being attacked in his film, Evaluation.
Shot in colour with black and white flashbacks, its dialogue represents the thoughts of the victim and ends on a cliff-hanger with help arriving – but possibly too late.
Lucy, 16, from Cleadon, South Tyneside, said: “My film shows the group having to go through the evidence to find out who was responsible.
“They find things like fluff on a jumper, but it’s the ID card stuck in the victim’s chest that really gives the game away.
“It was very enjoyable to come up with the idea and then to write the script, film and edit it and then take the project through post production. It was a real test of technical skills.
“We didn’t make the films knowing they that may have been entered into the competition, but I was really buzzing when I found out.
“I was very proud of myself, and quite humbled to be chosen – it was great to hear the applause from the awards’ audience when my film was shown.”
Richard, 17, from Simonside, South Shields, added: “My film was about a man who, in flashback, is seen to have an argument with an unidentified person, and is stabbed.
“It’s about him accepting that he is dying and how at that moment it’s not the experiences he had that are the most important thing, but rather the people he knew.
“The idea stemmed from a conversation I had from my girlfriend, who said that she was terrified of dying.
“Death rests a little uncomfortably in society, and I was trying to make the point that people shouldn’t be afraid.
“I was very honoured to have my film entered and to see people applaud it when it ended, that was massive for me.
“I enjoyed the whole filmmaking process, from coming up with the ideas to shooting it and much more. I’m looking forward to my next project.”
Richard and Lucy are on the first year of their two-year course, and all level 3 media learners created a film, with four being selected to go before a pre-final judging panel.
The assignment brief had required the films to be an original idea but they had to feature a death, all students had to make storyboards, write the script, and film and edit themselves.
Richard and Lucy’s films were shot within the college’s state-of-the-art media facilities, which includes a green screen for creating special effects, and a mac suite for editing the films.
Chris Allan, their Media Studies lecturer, said both films showed a good understanding of the movie making process.
He said: “Richard and Lucy did very well to have their work chosen for the final, their films show great promise and reflect the filmmaking knowledge and understanding they have started to build this year.
“Richard’s was a very mature and considered work, while Lucy’s was full of imagination and great practical effects.
“They were up against some tough competition from the other finalists this year, including people at university, but their works stood up very well and the judges were very impressed.
“I am definitely proud of the work they have done and can’t wait to see what they make next.”
The event was part of The Customs House’s annual Takeover Festival, which supports emerging artists and aspiring arts professionals to get showcase and develop their work.
Daniel Clifford, Learning and Participation Officer at The Customs House, said: “We were really pleased to receive entries from South Tyneside College, as The Customs House is committed to support talent from our borough, as well as the wider region.
“I hope more South Tyneside College students are inspired by the achievements of their peers and we receive even more entries next year.”
Competition categories were Sound & Music, Performance, One to Watch, and the grand prize of North East Young Filmmaker 2017.
All filmmakers who were nominated received a filmmaking masterclass with the judges, with winners getting a trophy and framed certificate, while the North East Young Filmmaker 2017 also received a cheque for £100.