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Introduction to the Research in Film Awards from Andrew Thompson

Welcome to the Research in Film Awards (RIFA) 2019.

RIFA celebrates the best in academic filmmaking. Since 2015, it’s inspired researchers from all over the UK to think more deeply about how they share their work with the wider world.

Film has an ability to make distant people, places and ideas immediately, visually accessible. The four years of RIFA have led to fascinating work that has connected a broad audience with exciting arts and humanities research, telling new stories about the human condition. Four years of turning the camera on research has resulted in some highly original films, and I’m very excited to see what the future of RIFA has in store.

For 2019, in addition to our usual categories we’re inviting submissions for our special ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing film’ award. Arts and humanities research has countless applications for our mental health and wellbeing, from designing arts-based interventions to understanding the fundamental nature of mental health, from improving access to historic places, to participation in sport and dance. Importantly, this category, along with our returning ‘Inspiration Award’, is open to the public. I hope that entries in this special category for 2019 will share this important work with a wider audience.

Winning a Research in Film Award is a significant accolade in itself, but it can often lead to great other things. Previous RIFA winners have gone on to win BAFTAs and other awards, been screened at film festivals, or gone on to secure funding and further achievements. RIFA is often just the beginning – much like the research that RIFA seeks to explore.

I look forward to seeing this year’s entries, and meeting those on the shortlist at the awards ceremony at the BFI Southbank. Perhaps you will be among them.

Andrew Thompson
Executive Chair, Arts and Humanities Research Council