A film created by a student from the University of Cumbria has been recognised as ‘stunning’ by judges at the prestigious New Designers 2015 Exhibition held at the Business Design Centre in London.
Stephanie Kiewel (23) has just completed a three-year degree in film and television production at the university’s Brampton Road campus and was named runner up in the Motion Arts & Theatre Design section of the New Designer of the Year competition.
The awards recognise the design world’s rising stars, offering winners (and runners-up) vital support as they embark upon their professional careers.
Stephanie comes originally from Germany, where her successful film Funkenflug was set and produced. Last summer, she and six friends from her course travelled back to her home town of St. Georgen im Schwarzwald to make the film.
She explains: “Funkenflug is a short period drama about a horrible fire in 1865 that destroyed most of the town. It’s based on the original inquest documents from that time.
“It’s the 150th anniversary of the fire this September and the town, together with the theatre and the history association, wanted to make a film to preserve this important piece of history that nearly nobody knew about.
“So Funkenflug became one big community project. The 80 actors were all local volunteers who had never acted before, which made the film really authentic. With the help of an additional 100 volunteers behind the camera providing everything from locations and costumes to props, we managed to film the whole piece in just two weeks.
“The support from the university was huge, not only in providing crew and equipment, but also in giving me hours and hours of advice and support. I’ve been living and breathing Funkenflug for nearly two years now and I am completely over the moon to receive this award.
“A friend of mine from Germany had already studied at the University of Cumbria and recommended the course to me. I had never been to England before and just heard about the weather being bad. But when I visited my friend in Carlisle I completely fell in love with the area and was absolutely thrilled about the quality of the university and the course.”
The judges were obviously impressed by Stephanie’s professionalism stating: “Stephanie’s film was stunning. She has an astute eye and achieved high production values despite a minimal budget.
“The story behind the project is equally engaging. She pulled together 200 locals in her native Germany, tasked her college mates to re-enact a scene from history and build community.”
University course leader Mike Mitchell was equally thrilled with Stephanie’s success saying: “To receive this national award is a credit to Stephanie and her hard work. I hope this is the first step to a successful career within film and television. It is a highly competitive graduate market and to receive an accolade of such national and international standing will really kick start her career.”