Derry graduate film wins national festival award
A graduate film about the controversial ‘peace walls’ in Northern Ireland has won a national award.
Wall, by Michael Barwise who studied BA (Hons) Film Production at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) at Farnham, won Best Art Film at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) in York on 6 November.
The short explores the lives of those who live next to the concrete walls and the different feelings that surround them.
Michael Barwise, who is 21 and from Derry, Northern Ireland, said: “It was a privilege to just be screening my film at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival so to have my name called out as the winner was fantastic and a real honour because all of the films in my category were exceptional.”
“The inspiration behind the film came largely from my own experiences growing up in Northern Ireland beside one of the walls but I wanted to find a way to make it relevant to a wider audience rather than create a direct, personal experience.
“The film tackles the mixed emotions, such as paranoia, uncertainty and isolation, which surround the peace walls.”
The judges of the second annual ASFF awards said: “Michael’s film subtly explores life beside the peace walls in Northern Ireland. With beautiful and considered cinematography, the film makes you re-examine the concept of the peace wall.”
Michael graduated from UCA Farnham in June and said he owes a great deal to his university.
“If it wasn’t for UCA I don’t think I would have made Wall,” explained Michael. “Being away from home and studying in Farnham helped me put Northern Ireland into a wider context and gave me somewhat of an outside view on the situations there. I think this helped inform the film and developed my own understanding of what it is like to live in a divided community.
“Most importantly, however, is the fact that the tutors at UCA helped me develop my skills as a filmmaker and furthered my knowledge of cinema to a point where I was capable of making an award-winning film - the constant guidance and support during the making of the film was essential to the film’s success.
“Also, if I hadn’t been studying at UCA then I wouldn’t have had such a fantastic crew in Joe Pinhorne, Liam Reardon and Pascal LeComte. I owe a lot to the them and if wasn’t for their expertise and enthusiasm Wall wouldn’t be what it is today.”
Since graduating from UCA Farnham in June, Michael has found a job at a production company in Northern Ireland and is currently looking to find funding for his next short film.
BA (Hons) Film Production is no stranger to awards and recognition. This year, a graduate documentary about Britain’s young soldiers won a National Student Royal Television Award, while The Confession, which was shot by 2006 graduate Davide Cinzi, was nominated for an Oscar at the 2011 Academy Awards in Hollywood.