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Filmmakers praised for 'helping us navigate the challenges of our age'

Date: 10/11/2017


Five short films have won the top prize in their categories at the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Research in Film Awards 2017.

Research in Film Award winners of 2017
Research in Film Award winners of 2017

The awards are a unique celebration of arts and humanities research through film and took place on 9 November at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in London.

All the films shortlisted were under 30 minutes long. They included drama, documentary and animation.

The winners will receive a trophy and £2,000 to put towards their future filmmaking.

Chair of the judging panel, Jan Dalley said: “Films can help us navigate the challenges of our age by bringing together rich stories and compelling characters, by exploring truths and facing difficult dilemmas.”

Selected from hundreds of entries, the winning films across five categories were:

Best Research Film of the Year: Pain in the Machine, which explores whether or not robots could – or should – feel pain, and the impact this might have on human identity;

International Development Award: The Lived Experience of Climate Change, a documentary about the impact of global warming on the everyday lives of people living in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh;

Inspiration Award: Whirlpool, a short drama about the American, deafblind activist Helen Keller and her fight for civil rights;

Doctoral Award: Unearthing Elephant, which documents and questions the imminent demolition and regeneration of the Elephant & Castle shopping centre in South London;

and Innovation Award: Shampoo Summit, in which Jewish and Arab women find common ground over the washbasin in a hair salon in Haifa.

The judging panel was made up of film industry experts and leading academics. These included Chair of the judging panel, Jan Dalley, Arts Editor of the Financial Times; Richard Davidson-Houston, Head of All 4, Channel 4 Television; and Professor Tom Inns, Director of the Glasgow School of Art.

The awards were hosted by writer and broadcaster Danny Leigh.

Jan Dalley says: “The wonderfully varied winning films from this year's Research in Film Awards demonstrate the real impact of this art form and how carefully crafted work can take us on a journey of discovery and amazement in under 30 minutes.”

One of the judges Joanna Callaghan, Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking at the University of Sussex, added: “The quality of films this year was excellent with a range of diverse topics that demonstrate the breadth of research undertaken in the humanities.

“Many of these show how effective film as a medium can be, to explore research questions, communicate findings and elaborate research processes in unexpected and unique ways."

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