ONES TO WATCH: Kodak Student Awards

This year's Kodak Student Awards unearthed some real gems in terms of discovering those with a talent for direction, writing or for being able to respond to 'live' agency briefs.

The Kodak Student Awards aim to provide a stepping stone to young people entering the advertising business. Supported by the BTAA, they took place last month and attracted more than 200 entries. The competition is open to all students attending film and television courses in the UK and Ireland.

Using 400ft of 16mm film stock, students had to produce a high quality commercial for television, responding to a 'live' agency brief.

The briefs given were for the brands: Physio Sports Toiletries, The Observer Sports Monthly, Kodak Ultra 2001 and Comfort Easy Iron.

The judging panel included: Peter Levelle, the chairman of the BTAA; Jeff Stark of Stark Films; James Studholme, the managing director at Blink; Mark Langley from The Firm as well as several directors of photography, creatives and post-production supervisors.

Although the winners were applauded, some of the judges felt that the overall standard of entries could have been better. James Studholme commented: "The winners were good but I was disappointed with the overall standard."

Stark agrees, saying: "The longlist wasn't terribly impressive and it was clear from the start that there were three or four commercials which stood out head and shoulders above the rest. A common problem was that there weren't many ads where everything came together; either the writing was good and it was let down by poor direction or vice versa."

The overall winner was Charles Barker who attends the Northern Film School. Barker also won Best in Brief and Best Editing for his amusing commercial in which an obsessive basketball player practises his moves at work.

Totally lost in his own world, the young man bounces an imaginary ball, spinning and jumping, twisting and turning, much to the bemusement of his boss. The end frame, during which he spins the ball on the end of his finger is a great parting shot.

"It's an excellent exercise for students to be delve into the real world and be given a real brief. The winning work by Barker was really well-handled and a nice idea," says Studholme.

Second place overall went to Josephine Law of the National Film and Television School.

Law also won a special award for direction and first in brief. Her film, a pastiche of Bollywood movies, was a hit with the judges.

"This was not a great idea but it was tremendously well-done. Technically it was good, it was true to itself and it was entertaining," says Studholme.

Stark was equally impressed: "The Indian send-up was marvellous - done beautifully. There's not a chance in hell that the client would run it, but in terms of direction it was brilliant. It's absolutely right in terms of art direction, wardrobe, make-up and casting."

Third place overall went to Richard Overall from the National Film and Television School. Overall also won first in Brief.

Finally, first place in cinematography went to Annmarie Lean-Vercoe, who is also of the National Film and Television School. This commercial also came second in its brief.

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