JUNE | STUDENT AND ALUMNI HIGHLIGHTS

 

As another month comes to an end, we’re pleased to share more superb achievements from our students and alumni who are dedicated to their craft. Seeing the wide range of unique stories being written and produced is inspiring. As is learning about the paths they each took to stay on track with achieving their dreams. Continue reading to learn about some excellent accomplishments from the month of June. Don’t forget to get in touch if you have any news you’d like to share and sign up to our alumni newsletter here to get the updates direct to your inbox.

We’re incredibly proud of our screenwriting student, Birk Buchen, who produced the feature film, Dead Whisper, which recently won Best Narrative Film (thriller, sci-fi, horror) at Cinequest 2024. Very well done and congratulations! The film is being distributed by Vertical Entertainment and will see a theatrical release on July 5th and a streaming release on July 9th. Check out the chilling trailer here (which is packed with some stunning visuals!). See what Variety has to say about the film here.

Producing the film in Massachusetts has been an incredibly rewarding experience. The local communities and stunning landscapes provided an inspiring backdrop that brought Conor Soucy’s vision to life. What began as a short film blossomed into a full-length feature, a testament to the dedication of our talented cast and crew. The journey from concept to completion has been nothing short of extraordinary.

"Dead Whisper is a throwback horror film with deep emotional themes, and our collaboration with Vertical Entertainment will help bring the film to a wider audience. With the upcoming release in select theatres and on streaming platforms, we are thrilled to share this labour of love and excited to see how it will propel our journey as independent filmmakers.” - Birk Buchen

Congratulations Daniel Guliyev for winning the Camera award in the Documentary Cinema category at the Deutscher Kamerapreis Film Festival. We’re proud to see Daniel’s work as the cinematographer of The Return of the Projectionist recognised and celebrated! The Deutscher Kamerapreis Jury said, “Daniel Guliyev celebrates the poetry of cinema with his camera. He finds images full of poetry in a documentary context and approaches his protagonists with love and sensitivity.”

We’re delighted to see two screenwriting alumni working together to bring their stories to life. Congratulations Zamalisa Mdoda (writer-performer) and Rodrigo Jorge (director-producer) on your upcoming play Count To Five at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2nd-10th August. Written and performed by Zamalisa, the play explores “the absurdities and rationales of her innermost rage” in an “unhinged and laugh-packed show”. The play is directed by Rodrigo Jorge and produced by his company Dreamatorium Productions UK. You can get tickets for the event here.

Screenwriting alumna, Christina Morelli, has seen some great success (and more on the way) with the stage production of her one-woman show, UNPACKED. Congratulations! “Morelli’s unfiltered love letter to the cruel voices in her head explores the truths about living with body dysmorphia, aging in Hollywood, and facing the mirror that's haunted her since her first plié.” Written and performed by Christina, UNPACKED, will be showing in Camden Fringe on 1-4 August. Be sure to get your tickets!

It’s a pleasure to hear that Christina was mentored through the process by Visiting Lecturer, Hal Cantor, and fellow screenwriting alumnus, Rodrigo Jorge. 

"In a sense, UNPACKED has been a lifetime in the making. Upon graduating LFS, Sophia Wellington, Head of MA Screenwriting, was actually the person who encouraged me to perform my own work - but for a long time I wasn't brave enough to do it. I moved to LA two weeks before COVID lockdowns, and was finally starting to gain my footing when the strikes hit Hollywood early last year. Like so many other creatives, I felt helpless and frustrated... and the show finally spilled out. Then, a month before I was due to workshop UNPACKED in London another personal tragedy hit, and that experience influenced the material as well. In the midst of a really tough year, writing and performing the show gave me a sense of control for the future while simultaneously making peace in the past." – Christina Morelli

Grad Film Highlights

 

Two of our grad films screened at Palm Springs this year and see below our three graduates who said it "was a dream". From left to right: Remi Moses (Director: Saving Art), Markella Kontaratou (Director: Scorched Earth) and Victor Nauwynck (Producer: Saving Art).  

 

 

This month we will shine a spotlight on grad film Sparare alle Angurie, this film continues an excellent festival run screening at prestigious Shanghai Film Festival. It's wonderful to share that the film won three awards in June including the RAI Cinema Award (where the film will be broadcast on RAI TV in coming months) and Best Film in the Region at Figari FF (Sardinia). In addition it won Best Cinematography Award at the 24th Nevada City Film Festival 2024 (USA). Alongside awards, this month the film also screened at at 12th Vaughan International Film Festival 2024 (USA), Kino Otok Isloa Cinema 2024 (Slovenia) and also Taboa Int Youth FF (Georgia). Writer-Dir-Editor: Antonio Donato, Prod: Patrick Verlin, DoP: Sahil Kotwani, Prod. Designer: Anastasiya Mykhaylova. 

 

Talking to the River (Cannes premiere 2023) had another screening at Syncro Film Festival in Spain. Congrats to Dir-Writer-Editor: Yue Pan, Prod.Desig: Ziyan Gao, Art Dir: Zhao Wu. 

Striped was awarded Best Screenplay (Student) at Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival (India). Congratulations! (Writer-Director: Spandana Patanaik, DoP: Aditya Sharma, Prod: Nathan Legger, Prod.Manager: Siddhanth Srikanth, Prod.Desig: Izadora Schoninger) 

Moving along to the UK seaside, we will have three films at Brighton Rocks Film Festival (UK):

Cold Water (Director: Leanne O'Neill, Producer: Anastasia Savinova)

Ten Days (Writer-Director: Anastasia Savinova, DoP: Norbert Strehle, Prod: Alisa Tritenko, Anastasia Savinova, Co-writer: Matthew McHaffie, Editor: Razvan Barseti)

Broken Hearts (Writer-Director: Julie Magnaudet, Producer: Nathan Legger, DoP: Bo Giesen, Editor: Tsz Wai Ling)
 
The House That Stood screened at 7th Mostra Livre de Cinema 2024 (Brazil). (Writer-Director: Antonella Spirito, Prod: Nathan Legger, DoP: Bo Giesen) 
 
Sharks in the Cowlyn Bay screened at the Golden Nugget Intl FF (UK) and IndieFlicks Monthly International Film Festival 2024 and Romford Film Festival (UK). (Writer-Director: Jonathan Williams, Prod: Siddharth Menon, DoP: Max Cutting, Production Designer: Ben Packwood, Editor: Tom Chambers) 

Per Aspera screened at The Art of Movie Making Festival 2024 (USA). (Writer-Director: Yue Zhu, Prod-Editor: Michelle Griffin, DoP: Alexander Emborg) 

Across the USA Thread Tension continues a good festival run screening at Film Maudit 2.0 in Los Angeles. Congrats to Wri/Dir: Ruby Mastrodimos, Prod: Oliver Staton/Henry Iles, Editor: Benjamin Sivo, Costume Design: Anastasia Mykhaylov. 

Finally, gestational horror Ariane's Baby continues a busy festival run and was awarded Best Cinematography at the Chicago Horror Film Festival (USA) and 'Best First Time Female Filmmaker of The Year' at the Indie X Film Festival LA (USA). Also, it will be screening at Prisma Rome Independent Film Awards (Italy), Female Characters In Front and Behind the Camera and Ramsgate International Film Festival, Venice Intercultural Film Festival 2024 (Italy) and Nevada Women’s Film Festival (UK). Huge Congrats to cast and crew. (Writer-Director: Mahee Merica, Prod: Mathilde Jouaud, Mahee Merica & Chen-Ling Liu, DoP: Sheherezade El Moumni Berdai)

 

Photo credits (from top to bottom)

Still from Dead Whisper (Director: Conor Soucy)

Still from The Return of the Projectionist (Director: Orkhan Aghazadeh)

Count To Five poster (Director: Rodrigo Jorge)

UNPACKED poster (Director: Kathryn Gardner)

Photo of Remi Moses (Director: Saving Art), Markella Kontaratou (Director: Scorched Earth) and Victor Nauwynck (Producer: Saving Art) at Palm Springs Film Festival

Sparare alle Angurie poster (Writer-Director: Antonio Donato)

Still from Per Aspera (Writer-Director: Yue Zhu)