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University of Sussex filmmaker shortlisted for prestigious national award

The Faces We Lost poster

A film made by Dr Piotr Cieplak from the University of Sussex has been shortlisted for the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s prestigious 2018 Research in Film Awards.

The film, called The Faces We Lost, has made the shortlist for the Best Research Film of the Year.

Nearly 150 films were submitted for the Awards this year and the overall winner for each category, who will receive £2,000 towards their filmmaking, will be announced at a special ceremony at 195 Piccadilly in London, home of BAFTA, on 8 November.

Launched in 2015, the Research in Film Awards celebrate short films, up to 30 minutes long, that have been made about the arts and humanities and their influence on our lives.

There are five categories in total, with four of them aimed at the research community and one open to the public.

Filmmaker Dr Cieplak said: “I am thrilled that The Faces We Lost has been nominated for the Award. Based on almost a decade of research, it’s a film about how Rwandans use personal, private, family-album photographs to remember and commemorate the loved ones they lost in the 1994 genocide. In the film, survivors, relatives of victims and professional memory-makers guide us through their stories and share their experiences and images.

“The main idea behind The Faces We Lost was to depart from the usual representational tropes of anonymous African suffering and engage with Rwandans as active users of images, rather than only their subjects.

"The timing of the nomination is particularly poignant as next April marks the 25th anniversary of the genocide.”

Mike Collins, Head of Communications at the Arts and Humanities Research Council, said: "The standard of filmmaking in this year's Research in Film Awards has been exceptionally high and the range of themes covered span the whole breadth of arts and humanities subjects.

"While watching the films I was so impressed by the careful attention to detail and rich storytelling that the filmmakers had used to engage their audiences. The quality of the shortlisted films further demonstrates the fantastic potential of using film as a way to communicate and engage people with academic research. Above all, the shortlist showcases the art of filmmaking as a way of helping us to understand the world that we live in today."

A team of judges watched the longlisted films in each of the categories to select the shortlist and ultimately the winner. Key criteria included looking at how the filmmakers came up with creative ways of telling stories – either factual or fictional – on camera that capture the importance of arts and humanities research to all of our lives.

Judges for the 2018 Research in Film Awards include

  • Joanna Norman, Director of the V&A Research Institute,
  • Steve Harding-Hill, Creative Director in Commercials and Short Form at Aardman Animation
  • and Dorothy Byrne, Head of News & Current Affairs, Channel 4 News.

The winning films will be shared on the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)  website and YouTube channel. On 8 November you’ll be able to follow the fortunes of the shortlisted films on Twitter via the hashtag #RIFA2018.

By: Anna Ford
Last updated: Thursday, 27 September 2018