Winners of the Research in Film Awards 2018 announced

Date: 08/11/2018

RIFA 2018
The Research in Film Awards 2018 winners, from top left to right: Rob Godman (on behalf of Sam Jury); Professor Stephen Linstead; Tom Diffenthal; George Harris; Ilona Sagar; Victoria Mapplebeck and Jim Mapplebeck

From the impact of technology on modern families to a forgotten chapter of British history - the spectrum of research topics covered this year has been broad indeed. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) are very pleased to announce the five winners of this year's Research in Film Awards 2018, from a superb selection of entrants.

A teenage boy who tries to trace his father using an iPhone X, the greatest mining disaster of the 19th century, and one of the world’s oldest refugee communities tell their story.  These are just some of the subjects of the five winners of the 2018 AHRC Research in Film Awards, which took place at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, this evening (Thursday, 8 November).

Now in their fourth year, the awards (see ahrc.ukri.org/RIFA), organised by the AHRC, are the only awards dedicated to showcasing arts and humanities research through film. The evocative short films - all under 30 minutes - are thought-provoking reflections on our time which include drama, documentary and animation.

The five winners were selected from hundreds of submissions in the different categories and received a trophy as well as £2,000 towards future filmmaking projects.

There were two new categories for 2018 - the ‘People on the Move Award: Stories of New Beginnings’ to mark the 70th anniversary of Windrush and the ‘Social Media Short Award’ which showcases some of the best short films tailored for social media.

The 2018 AHRC Research in Film Awards winners are:

Best Research Film of the Year

Black Snow - Professor Stephen Andrew Linstead, University of York

Black Snow tells the forgotten story of the world’s biggest mining disaster of the nineteenth century, which until recently had remained relatively unremembered. The explosion at Oaks Colliery in Barnsley, South Yorkshire caused the death of at least 361 men and boys in December 1866. The film tells three interlocking stories: the story of the historical community devastated by the disaster; the story of a contemporary community, torn apart by the loss of the mining industry, and the story of Graham Ibbeson, a sculptor, who in the process of creating a statue in memory of those who died, discovers that one of his forebears, George Ibbeson, lost his life in the Oaks Colliery disaster.


Best Doctoral or Early Career Film

Correspondence O - Ilona Sagar, Royal College of Art

Correspondence O explores the history of the radical Pioneer Health Centre in Peckham and its subsequent conversion into a gated community. The two-channel moving image installation presents the complex, changing landscape of public health and the social shift towards a more egocentric, user-focused and technology-infused understanding of wellness. The Pioneer Health Centre in South London was founded in 1926 in response to rising public concern over the health of working-class people and an increasing interest in preventative social medicine and experimentation. It culminated in the ‘Peckham Experiment’, (1925-1950) a 24-year study founded on principles of self-organisation, local empowerment and social connection as fundamental to wellbeing. The Centre closed in 1950, though its influence continues today. 


People on the Move Award: Stories of New Beginnings

To Be Here - Sam Jury, University of Hertfordshire

This film shines a light on one of the world’s oldest refugee crises: the displacement of Sahrawi refugees in the Sahara Desert (Algeria) who fled their Western Sahara homeland after a war with Morocco in 1975. The story is told through the voice of a young female Sahrawi translator. It puts under the spotlight the daily life of refugees - especially the women - who have been living in the camp for over 40 years. To Be Here traces their journey, from the early days when they constructed the buildings in the camp themselves to their struggle for self-determination. Many of the women were forced to leave behind family members, including their own children.


Social Media Short

Missed Called - Victoria Mapplebeck, Royal Holloway, University of London

Missed Call - one of the first-ever documentaries to be shot on an iPhone X - brings to life a series of conversations between Victoria Mapplebeck and her son, Jim, on how he will reconnect with his father, who has been absent since he was two years old. Her son has no memory of his dad, all that he has are the gifts he once bought and the digital footprint he left behind. Missed Call raises interesting questions about family relationships in a digital world and is the sequel to the award-winning 160 Characters, Victoria Mapplebeck’s first smartphone short. Missed Call was launched on the Real Stories YouTube channel in May this year.


Inspiration Award (public category)

Give me Today, Anytime - George Harris, Mirador

Give me Today, Anytime is inspired by the pioneering oral history work of Elizabeth Roberts who in the 1970s recorded the voices of working-class people across the three Northern UK cities of Preston, Lancaster and Barrow. Her archive, which is being digitised at Lancaster University, contains nearly 550 tape recordings and transcripts of interviews through which we hear the voices of people born at the end of the 19th century sharing their perspectives on the timeless themes of birth, love, marriage, health, work, family and death. Taking this a starting point, the directors of Give me Today, Anytime interviewed people living in those cities now, revealing that themes in the original archive - such as community spirit - still live on today.


The evening was hosted by writer and broadcaster, Danny Leigh. Among the award presenters were Chairman of ITV, Sir Peter Bazalgette, award-winning filmmakers Roger Graef OBE and Kim Longinotto, TV presenter Sophie Morgan and Catherine Mallyon, Executive Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Jan Dalley, Arts Editor of the Financial Times, chaired the judging panel which included Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4 Television, Professor Tom Inns, Director, Glasgow School of Art and Steve Harding-HiIl, Creative Director in Commercials and Short-form at Aardman Animations to name a few.

Twitter: Follow the conversation with #RIFA2018.

You can also watch the winning films on our RIFA 2018 Winners playlist.

 

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