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Peppa Pig producer praises MDX animation students ahead of their film premiere

05/12/2023
Five BA Animation students who received funding from the 2023 Phil Davies Award will have their completed projects shown at the Close-Up Cinema on December 13

The producer of Peppa Pig has praised award-winning Middlesex University students ahead of the premiere of their films at a London cinema.

Five BA Animation students who received funding from the 2023 Phil Davies Award will have their completed projects shown at the Close-Up Cinema in East London on Wednesday, December 13.

The award was founded by Peppa Pig producer Phil Davies, who used to work as a technician at Middlesex University.

"All of the winners have a very bright future ahead of themselves." Peppa Pig producer Phil Davies

The five winners of the 2024 award will also be announced at the premiere.

Mr Davies, who was awarded an Honorary Degree by Middlesex University in 2016, said: “I was so excited to see the talent that Middlesex University Film School is producing and I’m really looking forward to seeing the 2023 award winners’ films.

“I’m just happy I could play a part in helping them.

“I look back fondly on my time at the university and it was formative in my own career, so it seemed natural that I should help other budding animators take the first steps in theirs.

“The 2024 award winners have again produced some amazingly imaginative concepts and I think all of the winners have a very bright future ahead of themselves.”

The 2023 award winners to be shown at the Close-Up Cinema are Pie-Rats by Georgy Carpenter, Mildred’s Exotic Meat Emporium by Zalika English, Bone by Gisela Heron Ulloa, 12 Views of the Dome by Anna Maria Leventi and Sausages by Marta Pravisano.

2023 Phil Davies Award winners Zalika English, Marta Pravisano, Gisela Heron Ulloa, Georgy Carpenter at the Fonic studios

2023 Phil Davies Award winners Zalika English, Marta Pravisano, Gisela Heron Ulloa and Georgy Carpenter at the Fonic studios

Mr Davies donated £5,000 for the award, which was used to improve the sound of the five students’ graduation film projects.

Post production studio Fonic agreed to take on the challenge of giving the films a ‘makeover’ with professional sound design, mixing and mastering. The work included re-recording dialogue and sound effects and hiring a music composer and a Foley artist.

Gisela Heron Ulloa said: "When I found out Fonic was going to work on one of my graduate films I was ready to die of happiness.

"Honestly, I thought I was only going to get a certificate and this award is 10 times better than that.

"It has allowed me to use their help on my film - and to apply to show it at several festivals.

"I am grateful to Phil Davies and to the university for giving me this award."

Georgy Carpenter, Gisela Heron Ulloa, Zalika English and Marta Pravisano with assistant sound editor Stephen Maxwell

Georgy Carpenter, Gisela Heron Ulloa, Zalika English and Marta Pravisano with assistant sound editor Stephen Maxwell

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Zalika English working on the sound production

The students are already reaping the benefits and 12 Views of the Dome has been selected for three international festivals including the London International Animation Festival 2023.

Joint programme leader and BAFTA winning animation director Jonathan Hodgson said: “I was very moved by the results, which are stunning.

"The way Fonic have transformed the film soundtracks is truly remarkable.

“I am so grateful to Phil and Fonic for what they have made possible for our students.”

Phil Davies has an Honorary Degree from Middlesex University

Phil Davies has an Honorary Degree from Middlesex University

The films will be shown at the Close-Up Cinema in Shoreditch at 7pm on Wednesday, December 13.

Click here to find out more about studying Animation at Middlesex.

THE 2023 AWARD WINNERS

Pie-Rats by Georgy Carpenter

Still image of the film Pie-Rats by Georgy Carpenter

A motley crew of pirate rats string up their cook after growing tired of his terrible food. They set off on an adventure to find a legendary golden pie, only to find the perfect pastry delight is closer to home, leading to the cook’s redemption.

Georgy Carpenter

Georgy Carpenter, 23, from Hemel Hempstead, said: “It's a surreal thing, knowing that my graduation film, created while being hunched over a tablet for days on end, is being displayed in a cinema for people to enjoy.

“Not only that, but it is to be shown alongside superb films made by incredibly skilled individuals that I was lucky to call classmates.

“Middlesex has offered me opportunities and encouragement for my hard work to a degree I never expected or imagined.”

Mildred’s Exotic Meat Emporium by Zalika English

Still image from Mildred’s Exotic Meat Emporium by Zalika English

Annie jumps at the opportunity to work at her aunt Mildred’s butchery store. The aunt treats Annie well but keeps quiet about the suspicious packages under the counter that prove popular with customers. An accident reveals the aunt’s secret – and leads to Annie taking over the business.

Zalika English

Zalika English, 22, from Tottenham, said: “I am genuinely elated that my film is going to be screened. Making the film was both mentally and physically gruelling yet it kept me grounded and upon completion it has been nothing but rewarding.

“With the support of the Phil Davies award, staff and friends at MDX and the hardworking team at Fonic, Mildred’s Exotic Meat Emporium has evolved from a fleeting thought I had last year, into this captivating beast that now triumphs entirely independently of myself.”

Bone by Gisela Heron Ulloa

Still image from the film Bone by Gisela Heron Ulloa

Bone the dog witnesses his owners’ struggles after a new member joins the family. After being kicked out of the house he runs away, but returns to his loved ones after his nemesis is scared off.

Gisela Heron Ulloa

Gisela Heron Ulloa, 21, from Islington, said: “I am very happy with the outcome of the film, especially with the sound composition and the music.

“Winning the Phil Davies Award and getting assistance with my film has led to my film becoming greater than it was and a film that I can be fully proud of.

“I have enjoyed every moment at Middlesex University. The teachers are wonderful and have helped me a lot whenever I needed help or just giving good vibes, which I think is essential as you need the support while studying hard for the course.”

12 Views of the Dome by Anna Maria Leventi

Still image from the film 12 Views of the Dome by Anna Maria Leventi

Being surrounded by people on a dark dance floor can sometimes feel very isolating. Through intoxicated flashbacks and echoes, Paulie faces the past in order to repair his strained relationship with his mother.

Anna Maria Leventi

Anna Maria Leventi, 21, from Greece, said: “With the Phil Davies award, not only I was able to lift the film to a new, professional tier so far untouched by my films, but to also get a chance to direct professionals, sound artists and have my film’s sound processed, designed and delivered using industry standard equipment and practices.

“Besides the initial excitement, I realised the award was my first step away from student work and into the entertainment industry as an actual professional, which still feels odd and absolutely amazing at the same time that this is how I now earn my living as a Greek immigrant in London.”

Sausages by Marta Pravisano

Still image from the film Sausages by Marta Pravisano

When people care more about sausages than what’s actually going on in the world, the apocalypse can’t be far away. Teenager Lily escapes our futile world of trashy media to find a peaceful land – until humans invade.

Marta Pravisano

Marta Pravisano, 25, from Udine in Italy, said: “I am thrilled to have received this opportunity. It was an extremely challenging year and I am glad that all the hard work I put into my film paid off.

“I want to thank Phil Davies for giving us this incredible opportunity. As new graduates it is a great start to launch our career in as competitive a field as animation.

“I also wanted to thank my tutors Steve and Jonathan for supporting me throughout the year. Without their encouragement and feedback I wouldn’t have been able to create a successful film.”

Related stories:

MDX-backed Creative Academy Hub launched to help underrepresented Londoners

MDX Animation director of programmes Jonathan Hodgson wins a BAFTA

Bafta-award winning MDX Associate Professor creates powerful Save the Children animation

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