Students and alumni from the Arts and Creative Industries faculty at MDX are winning prestigious awards across a variety of categories.
Here is a roundup of some of the latest achievements:
Third year BA Illustration student Daisy Ferreira is looking forward to three-month paid internship at a major UK animation studio after winning the prestigious Secret Story Draw Awards competition.
Daisy won Best Character Design in her category and was also named as one of the nine overall winners in the competition, which is aimed at helping BAME artists to enter the animation and illustration industry.
Daisy chose to illustrate a piece of writing called Back Story for her submission, which took four weeks to complete.
Her character was a boy writing about someone he knew before they had found fame.
“I had to figure out a way to encapsulate the essence of the character,” Daisy said. “I could tell he was very outdoorsy and someone who would get himself into trouble without meaning to.”
After doing some initial designs Daisy started from scratch, basing her new and improved character on a combination of her two brothers.
“I completed one full body image and two expressions,” she said, “It made it a lot more believable basing him on someone I knew.”
Daisy’s dream is to do narrative and editorial work and start up as a freelancer, which she hopes will become a reality after the internship.
After such a positive experience at MDX, Daisy hopes that more BAME artists will have the opportunity to bring their skills to the illustration and animation industries in years to come.
She said: “There is a lack of diversity at the moment I believe that better stories can be told when there are lots of different points of view.”
Nine MDX students were nominated in six categories for the Royal Television Society’s London Student Awards 2023.
Fran Christie won in the Best Sound category for The House in the Middle of the Sea.
Directed by Marcel Ruizendaal, the film follows the Brouwer family through their day-to-day lives while stuck in the attic after the Nazis bombed and flooded large parts of the Netherlands to halt allied troops.
Fran’s work also won a Learning on Screen Award, with judges describing this film as “absolutely marvellous; intriguing, interesting and well-researched.”
They thought it expertly captured all the boredom of confinement and off-screen menace whilst effectively telling an important story.
The second RTS winner was Marco de Rosso in the Best Writing category with his film Sidetracking.
After a rough break-up, two young hitchhikers go their separate ways and each talk to the strangers they meet on the road and reflect on whether to get back together or not.
Also commended in the Learning on Screen Awards, where judges described the film as an “accomplished piece,” praising its sound editing and strong acting performances.
Marco said it “felt great” to win the RTS award, adding: “It's always hard to judge one's own work, so these prizes are an important reminder that other people see potential in it too.”
He described Sidetracking as not strictly autobiographical, but a collage of true events and conversations that happened either to me or to friends of mine while travelling.
“I spent years on the road in my early 20s, and felt that some aspects of the backpacking experience had never really been put on film or talked about in a way that felt true and relatable to me, so that's part of what I tried to do with this project,” he added.
Since graduating from last year, Marco has been making short films, which he hopes will be successful at festivals.
La Valse à Mille Temps, directed by Zakee Talib, was also highly commended in the Learning on Screen Awards, in the music video category. It features Wayne, a lonely old man whose family have all left him, leaving him alone in a country cottage.
Judges described it as “a throwback to French slapstick comedy which was funny and fitted the music well”.
MDX alumna Michelle Williams Gamaker’s one person show featured at the South London Gallery throughout June.
Our Mountains are Painted on Glass explores race, identity, her love of cinema and the power of storytelling.
Caption: Michelle Williams Gamaker, Thieves, (behind the scenes still with Ananya Jaidev as the Silver Maiden), 2022. Photo: Ellen Jane Rogers
The British Sri-Lankan artist also premiered a new film work as part of the show, titled Thieves.
Known for her inventive filmmaking and screenwriting, Michelle draws on and celebrates the classic movies she watched growing up. She reimagines marginalised characters as they claim leading roles in her film and tell the story as their own, challenging the racial discrimination of the film industry.
Thieves was awarded a Film London FLAMIN Production Award 2022.
Michelle told South London Gallery: “I see this mode of filmmaking as critical affection. I deeply love old cinema classics, but they are riddled with injustices that can no longer be overlooked. I lean heavily on the magic of cinema, and I turn the fiction machine on itself by sabotaging the casting process.”
Michelle was joint winner of Film London’s Jarman Award (2020)and has an extensive national and international profile, including prestigious BFI London Film Festivals (2017, 2018, 2021), Aesthetica (winner of Best Experimental Film, 2021) and Raindance (2022).
She also has an international profile and was the joint winner of Film London’s Jarman Award in 2020. Her work is in the Arts Council Collection and her entire filmography has been recognised and preserved by the BFI National Film Archive.
MDX BA Creative Writing & Journalism student organisers of the North London Story Festival won the MDXSU award for student-led event of the year. The award recognises the success, innovation, creativity and inclusivity of the event and the excellent project management and organisational skills of our students.
Lauren Ferraro led the student committee of Jacob Drucker; Nerea Fernandes; Taryn Crowley; Lillian Cadwallader; Arshiya Shahjahan; Akaylah Forbes.
Lauren said: “This year the theme of the festival was The Future of Storytelling; a vast topic that allowed us to not only expand our guest list but also our mindsets. We investigated Artificial Intelligence, how humans consume stories, how technological advancements change the way we tell stories, how cyberspace is now a part of storytelling, how writers can capitalize on these new technological advancements, and much more.
“To be shortlisted for a Middlesex SU award brought more pride to the already existing gratification. When we were given the event of the year award, we were ecstatic!”
Marina Sanchez, a recent BA Fine Art student won the Engine Room competition, an international Sound Art Exhibition held every other year.
Her sound installation piece, Wailsong, is a lament on the toxic effect plastic is having on marine wildlife.
Marina said: “It is almost impossible to avoid the use of plastic in our everyday lives and most people do not consciously put plastic into the ocean. According to scientists, there are 170 trillion tonnes of plastic in our oceans now.
In this installation, the speakers represent our oceans and wildlife, and are filled with small pieces of plastic.”
Marina recorded the sounds of plastic and whale sounds sourced online in her studio.
The composition plays through two speakers filled with small plastic straw pieces.
“I am interested in the physicality of the speakers vibrating which causes the plastic to move and fall onto the floor creating another layer of sound,” she said.
“The composition struggles to be heard through the layer of moving plastic.
“Wailsong invites the viewer/listener to participate in creating this sound piece. To play the installation the viewer/listener is invited to gently fill both speakers with the small plastic straw pieces. Then press the start button.
“I liked the idea of audience participation in this piece, it allows the piece to be both playful while also referencing the action of putting plastic in the sea.”
Marina described her MDX experience as “fabulous”.
She graduated in 2015, after completing her degree part time.
“I became interested in sound in my fourth year at a time when I felt quite stuck with my work. Sound offered me another way of understanding the world. I am grateful to the MDX for providing this intro to sound. I was also fortunate to be able to work with a sound technician who helped me with the technical side.”
Recent MDX BA Product Design graduate Harry Miller-Adams undertook a year-long placement to intern at London Design consultancy LAYER.
One of the projects he contributed to has recently won the Packaging Award for the Core77 Design Awards 2023.
Harry also won the Institution of Engineering Designers award for Best Final Year Project with his project, Kettle.- an innovative pour-to-boil appliance providing instant hot water.
MDX BA Film student Jana Bedmarova won the David Wolf Kaye Future Potential Award for film within the Earth Photo 2023.
Jana’s work, Wireless, combines film, spoken poetry, dance and music to explore our purpose on earth and how global changes affect personal changes.
It is currently exhibited at the Royal Geographic Society.
She said: “Wireless in a world full of wires, seeking the spiritual wires that connect one with Earth. It's Earth breathing in the forms of art.”
Jana won a cash prize of £250 each towards the cost of her next project, and mentoring by a leading photographer or filmmaker.