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Winners of Imperial War Museum Student Festival

1 January 2006

A film about a British soldier who was unjustly executed for cowardice during the First World War, has been awarded ‘Winner of the Audience Poll’ in the
Imperial War Museum's Fifth annual Student Film Festival and Competition. Produced and directed by Simon Clement while studying for a BSc in Film Production at Staffordshire University, Wipers, dramatises the last days of a young man finally broken by the trauma of fighting in the trenches.

The awards ceremony for this unique student film festival run by the Imperial War Museum, will be held on 2 February 2006. Designed originally to bring student films to wider audiences and as a way to help improve standards in British documentary, the Festival is rapidly becoming an important showcase for British film-making talent. All the films screened in the Festival, held in November and December each year, incorporate archive footage from the Museum's collection or are made in response to the Museum's collections and exhibitions. There are three categories in the competition: 'Best Documentary', 'Best Creative Response to the Subject of War' and 'Winner of the Audience Poll'.

The winning film in the Best Documentary category was Aperture Fever, made by Zeeya Merali, Jenny Jopson and Iain Taylor while studying Science Communication at Imperial College, London. The film, which incorporates archive footage from the Museum’s collection, takes a quirky look at the world of the amateur astronomer, providing a wonderful insight into the allure of this fascinating and metaphysical hobby.

The winner in the category of the 'Best Creative Response to the Subject of War' was Yr Ymwelydd (The Visitor), an un-subtitled drama in Welsh, German and English about an injured Luftwaffe pilot who hides in a Welsh farm during the Second World War. Skillfully directed by Tomos Cynnllo Lewis, the judges were also impressed by the performances of the actors in the cast, all amateurs and members of Tomos's family.

The 2005 festival was the biggest ever with nineteen films screened for free in the Imperial War Museum London’s 200 seat cinema. As well as bringing the work of young filmmakers to a wider audience, the Festival also provides a valuable insight into attitudes to contemporary issues such as war, immigration and remembrance. One noticeable theme of 2005’s Festival was migration and the experience of refugees. Neil Waterman and Nicole Cutts-Watson, put the issue into historical perspective in their documentary Refuge, in which the experiences in Manchester of a recent Kurdish refugee from Iraq was set alongside that of a Polish woman who came to Britain during the Second World War. In An Emigrant's Tale, Alex Cherian related the saga of his own family, originally from India, whose ultimate destiny was closely entwined with the RAF.

The winning titles in ‘Best Documentary’ and ‘Best Creative Response to the Subject of War’ were selected from the short-list (created by the audience poll) by a panel of judges from the Museum's Department of Art and Film and Video Archive and professionals from the film and television industry including Katie Pickles, TWI;
Hannah Caven, Twofour Television; and Richard Melman, The History Channel. The ‘Winner of the Audience Poll’ was decided solely by the audience ballot.

The prize-giving ceremony for the Fifth IWM Student Film Festival and Competition will be held on Thursday 2 February at 6.30pm. Admission is free, but tickets must be booked in advance by telephoning 020 7416 5439 or email:

The Museum is now accepting entries for the Sixth Student Film Festival which begins in November 2006. Go to or
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Notes to Editors:

This London branch of the Imperial War Museum houses exhibits ranging from tanks and aircraft to photographs and personal letters; they include film and sound recordings, and some of the 20th century's best-known paintings. Visitors can explore six floors of exhibitions and displays, including a permanent exhibition dedicated to the holocaust and a changing programme of special temporary exhibitions.

Imperial War Museum London
Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ
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Enquiries 020 7416 5320/5321
Press Contact: Laura McKechan 020 7416 5311

The national museum of the experiences of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since 1914.

The Imperial War Museum is the museum of everyone’s story: the history of modern war and people’s experience of war and wartime life in Britain and the Commonwealth. It is an educational and historical institution responsible for archives, collections and sites of outstanding national importance.

The Museum’s five branches include Imperial War Museum London which houses the award-winning Holocaust Exhibition; the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast; the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret headquarters below Whitehall; Imperial War Museum Duxford, a world-renowned aviation and heritage complex, and Imperial War Museum North, one of the most talked-about new Museums in the UK.