Film graduates scoop top award after bringing war stories to life

IWM-award2016

Two University of South Wales graduates have won a top industry award for their film depicting an ex-soldier’s experience on the front line.

George Morris and Anna Balchin, who graduated in Documentary Film and Television last year, scooped the Best Student Film title at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) Short Film festival.

Their film, called ‘Memories of War’, was inspired by poetry from Edward Poynter, who served as an Infantry Officer in the British Army and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Directed by George, from Kemeys Commander, near Usk, and produced by Anna, from Cambridge, the powerful film has won the pair an internship with London-based October Films.

‘Memories of War’ impressed the judges at the IWM festival, who described it as “routing our understanding of the Iraq War through a deeply personal medium, in an honest and profound manner”.

Having been interested in war poetry from an early age, 23-year-old George found Ed Poynter’s work online and contacted him in the hope of bringing his life-changing experiences to life.

“Ed began writing poetry as a means of catharsis, but didn’t intend to share his work initially,” said George.

“Then, after reading other poems from people much like himself, he took comfort from these common experiences and began sharing his work.

“He told us our film was really well made, though understandably it did conjure up some sad memories for him. But we were so pleased to have had his support in creating the film.”

IWM’s Short Film Festival 2016 is a showcase of imaginative, edgy and challenging films inspired by IWM’s collections and the causes, course and consequences of war.

The shortlisted films by both amateur and professional filmmakers cover a range of conflicts from two world wars, the war in Iraq, and the civil war in the former Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), as well as subjects including refugees and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“It feels amazing to have won this award,” said George.

“The whole project would not have been possible without so many people putting lots of time and effort into it, and we are very grateful to everyone involved.”

 

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