Winners 2023

We are pleased to reveal the full list of winners and nominees for our 2023 awards and would like to congratulate everyone on their exceptional work this year. You can read more about them and the judges' comments below.

  • AIDS: The Unheard Tapes - WINNER

    The Open University Producer for Wall to Wall: Morgana Pugh

    This series brings to life audio interviews with infected gay men recorded during the AIDS crisis and uses young actors who lip-sync to the original voice recordings.

    The judges praised this entry for its inventive and seamless use of archive audio and described it as beautifully shot, sensitive and insightful.

    The Green Planet (Water Worlds)

    The Open University BBC Studios: Katie Hall and Rupert Barrington

    Using pioneering new filmmaking technology and the very latest science, The Green Planet reveals the strange and wonderful world of plants like never before.

    The judges described this entry as beautifully made and innovative storytelling of a largely unrepresented world. They further praised the educational support materials, international reach and brilliant insight into how the storytelling was put together.

    Panorama: Will the NHS Care for Me? - Special commendation

    The Open University Hard Cash Productions - Executive Producers: Tom Stone and Esella Hawkey

    This film features Line of Duty actor and campaigner Tommy Jessop as he investigates why people with learning disabilities are more than twice as likely to die from avoidable causes than the rest of the population.

    The judges described this entry as current and original – truly giving a genuine voice to those currently without one. They praised its sensitive handling of a very difficult subject made more powerful by being researched and presented by talent directly affected by its subject.

  • Independent Miss Craigie - WINNER

    University of Sussex Director: Lizzie Thynne

    An intimate portrait of Jill Craigie, one of the first British women to direct documentaries, whose films tackled new subjects for the cinema, such as equal pay and artists at work, through a unique blend of drama, polemic and often humour.

    The judges described this film as a fascinating insight into different times and attitudes, and a great relatable insight into a woman’s struggle with life and oneself. They praised it for its good sense of storytelling and filmic shot choices.

    The New Virtuality: A Video Essay on the Disappearing Differences Between Real and Unreal

    University of York Director: Oliver Tomkins; Producer: Jenna Ng

    A video essay which explores how the proliferation of technologies, from deepfakes to VR, erode distinctions between the virtual and the actual. The past now shows up in the present and the dead return. In this essay, the power of screen media is turned on itself to interrogate what this New Virtuality entails.

    The judges described this video essay as absolutely fascinating and very nicely cut and curated. They praised the clever use of AI to tell the story.

    Something More Than Masquerade

    Supported by Make Film History, Kingston University Director: Shamica Ruddock

    A short experimental film combining archive film with 16mm camera-less filmmaking experiments and material recently shot on Super 8.

    This film was described by our jury as a beautiful poetic film with an excellent choice of shots, nicely sourced.

  • Archiving African Women Filmmakers' Practices: The Screen Worlds of Judy Kibinge and Bongiwe Selane

    SOAS University of London Director: Lindiwe Dovey

    This portfolio of two feature-length films - emerging from the Screen Worlds project - focuses on the contributions that two African women filmmakers (Judy Kibinge and Bongiwe Selane) have made to film cultures in East Africa and South Africa respectively.

    The judges described this nomination as remarkable – wonderful portraits of two woman who are excellent practitioners. An excellent example of how one develops robust, creative projects with something to say.

    Cobalt Rush - WINNER

    University of Bath Directors: Roy Maconachie, Simon Wharf, and Bossissi Nkuba

    Cobalt Rush explores themes of hope, resilience & survival in the lives of 3 poor cobalt miners in the DRC. As they negotiate dismal circumstances, our own complex relationship with green technologies becomes apparent, and the invisible side of global cobalt demand is revealed.

    The judges described this film as clear and powerful. They praised the composition of the production team which contributed to the authenticity of this outstanding piece of work, as well as the excellent evocation of the landscape and environment.

    Hamlet Within

    Kingston University and The Institute for Creative Enterprise, Edge Hill University Director: Ken McMullen, Producers: Martin McQuillan, Gisele Phillips, Ken McMullen

    A visual deconstruction of Shakespeare's masterpiece, combining dramatic performance with expert analysis. A moody, lyrical and critical response to Hamlet, which explores a young man's psyche as he contemplates avenging his father's death.

    The jury praised this film for its creative approach in deconstructing one of the most well-known English-language plays ever written. The judges scored this nomination highly for its production values, cinematography and sound.

  • Sponsored by The Open University

    All Too Familiar

    ICAEW - Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales / HMRC Director: Duncan Wiggetts / Area 17

    All Too Familiar is ICAEW’s educational training film and innovative response to the need to raise awareness of the important role which accountants play in the fight against economic crime.

    The judges commented that the film tackled a tricky subject but handled it impressively, and further praised its high production values and production design. They also scored it highly for catering to its target audience.


    EachOther Director: Sarah Wishart

    EachOther's first long-form documentary only features the voices of young people – those who are most affected by exclusion – who share their stories and views on this complex issue.

    The judges commented that this film shone a light on the issue of exclusion and was very timely. They particularly praised the talented group of young participants who took part as contributors, consultants, and co-producers.

    Time to Talk About Exam and Work Stress with Katie Thistleton

    Lizardfish TV Director: Amee Fairbank-Brown

    This film is part of the series 'Time to Talk...' that was created for BBC Teach on mental health. The films aim to help support young people with their mental health whilst also tackling the stigma that still surrounds this topic.

    The judges thought this film was an effective tool to support discussion around mental health and praised the honesty of its contributors in helping to make an authentic and relatable resource.

    Wild Ideas About Flooding - WINNER

    Cumbria Wildlife Trust / Environment Agency Director: Cadi Catlow

    Charity Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency created four Creature Comforts-style animations to highlight how Natural Flood Management can help protect Cumbria’s homes, businesses and farms.

    Judges described this nomination as a stunning animation with terrific use of animal narrators, and lovely ambient wildlife sounds which delivered clear and important information about flooding.

  • At a crossroads: navigating work and/or family alongside study

    OpenLearn, The Open University Directors: Haider Zafar; Sas Amoah

    This online educational interactive resource focuses on a dramatisation of a university student struggling with their studies due to work and family demands.

    Judges described this resource as really well-judged with a strong message, and they praised it for being engaging and relatable with a clear idea of what it tries to convey to the students.

    Empire and Migration

    Discovery Education Director: Nik Nagarkar

    This online resource designed for upper key stage 2, opens the dialogue for teachers and students to discuss factors resulting from the British Empire.

    Judges described this resource as an engaging learning experience for students. They further praised the lesson plans and curated teacher guidance as extremely useful tools for teachers exploring this important and topical subject.

    Make Film History

    Kingston University Producers: Shane O'Sullivan and Colm McAuliffe, Ciara Chambers (University College Cork)

    Make Film History gives students and emerging filmmakers access to 270 films from the BBC Archive, the BFI National Archive, Northern Ireland Screen, the Irish Film Institute and the London Community Video Archive for creative reuse on short film projects.

    Judges described this resource as ‘fantastic’ and a large and important project which offers a wealth of opportunity for filmmakers.

    Sensations English - WINNER

    English Language Video Learning Ltd. Director: Colette Thomson

    Sensations English is a learning resource that helps learners take their English to the next level using global news. Each lesson is available at 5 different levels with interactive activities to support learning. 3 new lessons are released every week.

    The judges described this resource as user-friendly and easy to navigate, with a particular care and sparkle to the writing. A clean and straightforward resource which utilises the full scope of its online platform as a fantastic learning tool

  • #MyPreston

    University of Central Lancashire Director: Adam Farrar-Armiger

    This film aims to show potential students all that Preston has to offer, from hidden gems, the natural beauty of the great outdoors, vibrant nightlife and foodie culture. As part of the #MyPreston campaign it will be used throughout the year and help drive student recruitment.

    The judges described this film as a snappy and engaging showcase of student life in Preston with very high production values. They thought that the film would convince potential students to see Preston as a great place to live.

    University of Gloucestershire - Film Production BA Hons - WINNER

    University of Gloucestershire Director: Adam Batchelor

    A promotional video made by the department, showcasing recent student work, revealing what the students think is great about the course and highlighting many of the fantastic things they've gone on to achieve in the industry since graduating.

    The judges praised the great testimonials and contributors and said it looked amazing and was perfectly pitched to potential students.

  • Alien Fish - WINNER

    Kingston University Director: Bug Shepherd-Barron

    An intrepid explorer of the deep sea works obsessively over an organic relic; desperate to uncover its secrets.

    The judges praised this creative and original music video for its attention to detail and contemporary colour palette.

    Keyside: Paris to Marseille

    The Institute for Creative Enterprise, Edge Hill University Director: Emma Fraser

    A music video shot by and featuring a student band, based on salvaged super 8 film stock and green screen technology.

    The judges praised this film for its creativity and originality and scored it highly for catering well to its target audience and its overall production values.

    La Valse à Mille Temps

    Middlesex University Director: Zakee Talib

    This music video features Wayne, a lonely old man whose family have all left him, leaving him alone in a country cottage. He is bothered nightly by the sounds of a rat scurrying around his house who teaches him that there can still be some meaning in his life.

    The judges described this nomination as a throwback to French slapstick comedy which was funny and fitted the music well. They applauded its fantastic production design and further commented that it was shot in an original and creative way.

  • Sponsored by Truro and Penwith College

     Alien Fish

    Kingston University Director: Bug Shepherd-Barron

    A creative and colourful animation which judges described as unique and memorable. They scored it highly for its use of music and overall production values.

    Architect's Cruise

    Kingston University Director: Simon Hamlyn

    Architect’s Cruise explores the far-reaching influence of the CIAM 4 Congress of 1933, an important gathering of modernist architects which took place on a cruise ship sailing the Mediterranean. Each frame is hand-printed using paper stencils and stamp pad ink.

    The judges loved this film’s use of really interesting visuals used to explore architectural history. They commented that the design, colour and movement perfectly covered the modernist period, and praised the director for resisting the temptation to make statements about the architecture.

    Jeremy, My Father - WINNER

    Kingston University Director: Miranda Peyton-Jones

    A poignant film which attempts to navigate bereavement following suicide. Through animation, archival footage, and sound, director Miranda Peyton-Jones guides us to the heart of her grief, love and loss.

    The judges described this film as beautiful and moving and praised its clever use of animation to punctuate and enhance the telling of a deeply personal and touching story.

  • Agog - Special commendation

    Stoke on Trent Sixth Form College Director: Malachi Bance

    This short film follows Ezra as he awaits a phone call; journey alongside Ezra as he passes time, agog.

    This film put a smile on all our judges’ faces and they described this film as a complete joy. They were particularly impressed by the originality, creativity and outstanding production values.

    A Drag Queen Story - WINNER

    Truro and Penwith College Director: Arianne Davies

    A documentary about Jack who is a drag queen living in Liverpool. The documentary unpacks his lifestyle, his dreams and the difficulties he faces.

    The judges praised this film for its eloquence in storytelling and described it as an astonishingly assured piece of filmmaking with every element well executed. They marked it particularly highly for its sound recording and editing.

    The Hornet

    Truro and Penwith College Director: Cristo Croker

    In the words of the filmmakers’, this is ‘a short film about the life of a car and the rejuvenation of its life.’

    Our judges applauded the film’s vibrance, exuberance and depiction of friendship. They commented that it was engaging and told the story with elements of comedy, drama and emotion. They further praised its production design and originality.

  • Sponsored by The Open University

    Beauty and the Beans

    Manchester Film School UCEN Manchester Director: Dylan Byrne

    A film about a dinner date with a difference... on a budget... in a bin.

    The judges described this film as inventive and enjoyable with some great gags. They particularly loved its creativity, strong production design, editing and sound.


    Manchester Film School UCEN Manchester Director: Luis Haliday

    A surrealist horror in which a man battles with himself to try meet his deadline late at night when everything in his body is telling him to sleep.

    The judges praised this ambitious production for its visual storytelling and inventiveness. Described by the judges as stylish, clever and ‘a proper student film’; they commented that the sound production was exemplary and scored it highly for production design.

    The House in the Middle of the Sea - WINNER

    Middlesex University Director: 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. As life goes on, their clothing falls apart, food runs out and their power to keep going is waning.

    The judges described 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.


    Middlesex University Director: Marco De Rosso

    Going separate ways after a rough break-up, two young hitchhikers each talk to the strangers they meet on the road and reflect on whether to get back together or not.

    This film was highly praised by our jury for its sound editing, strong acting performances, and was described as an accomplished piece of filmmaking.

  • Birds - WINNER

    Goldsmiths, University of London Director: Tyro Heath; Producers: Federica Omodei, Stephane Ugeux

    Birds is a fast-paced, tender drama set in a closed category women’s prison in the south of England. When her 9-year-old daughter's dreams of becoming a gymnast are on the line, a mother behind bars struggles to keep her whereabouts a secret.

    The judges noted comparisons to the films of Ken Loach and described this film as well-scripted, well-acted and believable. They praised its good characterisation and said that it told a really rich story in a short space of time.

    The Call

    Goldsmiths, University of London Director: Shireen Ayache; Producers: Dima Sharif, Noor Kanoo

    Leila, a Lebanese architecture student and her mother Dana are based in London when they hear about the explosion that has occurred in Beirut. They must try to heal from the experience and find a resolution despite their conflicting views on whether to leave the UK and go home.

    The judges described this film as an original idea which was nicely acted, produced and edited; an understated drama. They praised its cinematography and said it did a fantastic job in evoking a sense of panic and emotional tension.


    University College Cork Director: Benjamin Rupprecht

    A short film shining a light on the struggles many young Nigerian minors face when immigrating to Ireland and showing us how these children interact with the institutions they find themselves in and how strongly their sense of cultural identity can be affected.

    The judges praised this strong piece of storytelling for its acting performances and use of sound. They commented on the lovely shot choices and framing which reflected Akin’s emotions and tension.

    Photo Studio on the Corner - Special commendation

    Goldsmiths, University of London Director: Laura Salagnac; Producer: Kinnie Hu

    Chloe, grieving over the death of her mother, travels to London to visit her grandmother, who she has not seen for many years. With the help of an aged family photo album the pair slip into surreal visions of the past, reliving bittersweet moments of their lives.

    The judges described this film as brave in its style and praised its visualisation of an incredibly complex subject in a touching way – working on both a technical and emotional level.

  • Sponsored by ERA: The Educational Recording Agency

    Hope You Fail - WINNER

    Goldsmiths, University of London Director: Alison Grasso

    This documentary short takes a deeper look at viral moment #Sprinklegate by examining the real person behind a small business, what compels their obsession with rainbow sprinkles, and how anxiety from previous failures inevitably colour their future in an increasingly online world.

    The judges praised this film for its great editing structure and cinematography with a lovely use of observational, staged and product shots. It also scored highly for its originality and overall production values.

    A League of Their Own - Special commendation

    University of Stirling Director: Ryan Anderson; Producer: Niall Cluness

    This documentary follows Scotland's international amputee football team as they compete following the COVID pandemic. The challenge is a big one - Scotland lost their last match 14-0. Key players reflect on their amputee journeys, and the team's importance in their lives.

    The judges praised the beautiful pacing of the film as we really get to know these characters and feel the energy of their sport. They said that the film did an excellent job of creating suspense during the high stakes football matches through its pacing and editing, and the choice of music added to the cohesiveness of the piece.

    Soul Stories

    Keele University Director: Mak Khozoie

    A documentary based around the Northern Soul movement, with a particular focus on the role played by the people of Stoke-on-Trent and the city’s contribution to the movement as a whole.

    The judges described this film as a really interesting and cohesive documentary about a sub-culture, and praised its great use of graphics and fantastic soundtrack. They commented that it was well shot with a great use of archive footage to accompany the contributor accounts.

  • The New Virtuality: A Video Essay on the Disappearing Differences Between Real and Unreal

    University of York Director: Oliver Tomkins; Producer: Jenna Ng

    An absolutely fascinating film, which was excellently cut and curated to tell the story of AI in an amazing and thoroughly engaging way.

  • Cobalt Rush - WINNER

    University of Bath Directors: Roy Maconachie, Simon Wharf, and Bossissi Nkuba

    An absolutely outstanding film which received a perfect score from the judges for its clear and powerful storytelling.