Island Queen, a film produced by Emma Hughes, head of fashion photography at Falmouth University, has been nominated for Best British Short Film in the British Academy Film Awards 2014.
Island Queen has already collected the El Rey Award for Excellence in Short Film-making at the Barcelona Film Festival, 2013; Best Comedy at the European Independent Film Festival, 2013; and made numerous official selections, including the Van d’Or Independent Film Award, 2012; Renderyard Short Film Festival, 2012; and ASFF Aesthetica Short Film Festival, 2012.
Created on a budget of just £1,000 and shot on location in Cornwall over three days, the team were delighted with the latest accolade.
“It’s like an oxygen blast to the head. Island Queen is the second film Ben and I have made together, so we’re just thrilled,” explained Emma.
Directed by Ben Mallaby, senior lecturer at Ravensbourne, the film featured significant involvement from Falmouth staff and students. Kirsty Smith, lecturer in fashion photography, and Georg Finch, senior lecturer in animation, were directors of photography while students assisted as runners and extras.
Written by and starring Nat Luurtsema, comic, author and member of the Jigsaw comedy trio, the film offers an irreverent take on the life of Miriam - a woman who visits a sperm bank with unexpected consequences. The 16-minute short also features comics Sam Pamphilon and Toby Williams.
According to Kirsty, co-director of photography, it was a real collaboration between industry and community. “It was very exciting to work with members of the University, industry figures and Cornish venues. We couldn’t have done it without everybody’s efforts and what really stood out was the backing we received from the region. People were genuinely engaged and excited about the film, they opened their spaces to us for free with real warmth and support.”
The film features exterior and interior shots from around the Falmouth region, including the St Mawes ferry, Falmouth’s Merlin Cinema, Chainlocker pub and Courtyard Deli, as well as scenes around Durgan and the Helford River.
Shooting in Cornwall wasn’t without its challenges though. “With just three days to film we pulled 18-hour days and it wasn’t unheard of for us to be lighting a fishing boat in gale forces,” adds Kirsty.
Island Queen marks the second film collaboration for Ben and Emma, who enjoy a long professional partnership having become friends while studying at university.
“It felt like a film made between friends - we worked with colleagues, students and the community. What’s particularly nice is that it reflects what we say to our students. Ben and I first met at University together and have worked together on projects ever since. It really shows that it’s the creative collaborations and networks that you make in education which continue on into industry and lead to some of your greatest achievements.”
The EE British Academy Film Awards takes place on Sunday 16 February at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. Hosted by Stephen Fry, it will be broadcast on BBC One, BBC One HD and in all major territories around the world.
The Island Queen trailer