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Press release


  • 9 November 2006

Graduates star in film festival premiering new course


A student documentary exploring four decades of higher education at the University of Sussex is being screened at SEE: The Brighton Documentary Film Festival 2006.

The film Uniquely Sussex produced by Stefania Anastapoulu, Paul Hendry and Rebecca Searle is one of five documentaries from University of Sussex students being shown at this year's SEE festival on 18th November at the Sussex Arts Club in Brighton. The 15-minute short investigates the University's approach to higher learning and features rare archive footage of the Falmer campus. The film-makers graduated from the MA course in Digital Media/History earlier this year and have used video to explore university education since the sixties.

Lizzie Thynne, head of media practice, says: "The festival is a great opportunity for graduates to make connections and get professional feedback on their work. Last year's event was a real highlight for me because you could see these new film-makers making links with potential employers and getting practical advice - I am thrilled we have maintained these links for another year and another festival."

The challenge of working with pumas and monkeys in a Bolivian animal refuge is revealed in Voluntario. The eight-minute documentary was produced by Peter Beard, a BA Media Practice and Theory graduate and follows two volunteers as they confront the mosquitoes and searing temperatures of the South American jungle.

The observation of physical challenges continues with A Life Less Ordinary, which looks at the diverse and occasionally bizarre nature of student jobs. Producers Danielle Jennings, Daniel Moss, Oliver Pike and Kimberley Smith, all BA Media Practice and Theory graduates, offer a personal insight into the experience of students balancing studies with part-time careers.

Friends of 25-year-old James follow him with a camera as he learns to live with a degenerative neurological disease in I Do All My Own Stunts. Amy Edwards and Nicholas Huxter, who both completed their Media Practice and Theory degree at the University of Sussex, made the eight-minute documentary about James as he and his family come to terms with his new position as a disabled person.

The final submission to the festival is from Lynn Louca, Emma Love and Kelly Smith with Riding The Donkey Backwards. The film highlights the hidden problem of male victims of domestic violence and features the testimony of Ian, who suffered 13 years of abuse at the hands of his wife.

The programme of documentary shorts from the University of Sussex will conclude with the launch of a new Master of Arts Degree in Digital Documentary, which starts in October 2007. The course which is now accepting applications looks at contemporary documentary practice as well as the history of the genre. There will be practical tuition on research, development and production as well as the chance to experiment and make a substantial documentary project.

Ms Thynne says: "The new MA combines theory and practice and is aimed at people who want to think critically about their film-making and its links to new media. It will draw on our existing strengths in Digital Media including a number of staff who have a professional and critical interest in documentary."

University of Sussex alumini Olivia Lichtenstein and Chris Martin will appear at the MA launch talking about the skills necessary for making documentaries. Ms Lichtenstein was Creative Director of BBC Documentaries in London before leaving to become a freelance producer, director and journalist. Mr Martin has made undercover documentaries and worked with journalist John Pilger and comedian Mark Thomas, as well as developing his own documentary for cinema release.

Media graduates from the University made contributions to the first-ever See Festival in 2005. The film shorts included the animation, The Menorah, following a young girl living in the Jewish Ghetto and Beside the Seaside, a look at the dark side of seaside life. The See Festival 2006, part of the annual Cinecity Brighton Film Festival, opens on 17th November with a screening of festival patron Nick Broomfield's documentary Ghosts.

Notes for editors

 

For more information about the See Festival 2006 including details of student ticket prices visit http://www.seefestival.org/

 

The University of Sussex contributors to this year's event are available for interview along with stills from their work. For information contact the University of Sussex press office; Jacqui Bealing and Jessica Mangold on tel: 01273 678209, fax: 01273 877456 or email: press@sussex.ac.uk

 

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