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Gloucestershire Business News

Film production graduates win national award

Six recent University of Gloucestershire film production graduates have won a national industry award.

The National Association for Higher Education in the Moving Image (NAHEMI) named Coconut as Best Overall Undergraduate Film at its National Student Film Awards, featuring all the major film schools in the UK.

The film was made by Roshan Balu (director/ co-writer), Mackenzie King (producer/ sound editor), Max Roberts (director of photography/ writer), Francesca Carmella (editor), Georgia Newman (production designer) and Dylan Salter (sound recording) during their academic programme at the university.

Coconut tells the story of Arun, who is finding life difficult following the death of his grandfather, as he struggles to find balance between both his British and Asian cultures. He escapes to meet his best friend, Luca, but strange visions begin to follow him.

Roshan said: "Coconut is an extremely relevant film for me personally, and my main aim was to keep it true to the experience of being British Asian.

"In order to achieve that, I decided to shoot and cast this within my hometown of Wolverhampton, because I believed the texture, personalities of the cast and locations would be able to translate on screen.

"It became a film that meant so much to me and, peering through the eyes of a child going through a struggle far beyond his years, it was a story that I believed had to be told and explored.

"It's a pleasant surprise to learn that Coconut has won such a prestigious award - thank you to the judging panel at NAHEMI. The award is truly a testament to the hard work of the Coconut film crew, and the amazing support we received from the film production team at University of Gloucestershire.

"The creative freedom that we received from the tutors allowed us to express ourselves and, therefore, enabled this film to be as pure as can be. To receive this accolade is a true honour, and I cannot thank my fellow peers and tutors enough."

Mike Parker, course leader in film production, said: "The film production team are thrilled that Coconut, which was competing against films put forward by all the major film courses in the UK, has been recognised by winning this award.

"Roshan is developing a unique voice as a film-maker and we wish him and the team every success in their careers in the film industry.

"This is the third time in the last six years that a film from the course has been recognised with this award; a credit to the amazing staff on the film production team."

Coconut also won the Best Student Film Award and Best 10 to 15 Minute Film Award at the Short is Beautiful Film Festival in Solihull.

And it is among the films made by film production, television production and journalism graduates from the university which have been shortlisted for the Royal Television Society (RTS) West of England Student Awards 2024, with the winners to be announced on March 4.

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