Middle Watch narrowly misses the win at 2023 BAFTAs
21 February 2023
The Falmouth community was rooting for the team behind short animation Middle Watch during Sunday’s BAFTA ceremony. While the Falmouth-funded film didn’t take home the award, being nominated alongside commercially backed films from prominent studios in the British Short Animation category is a phenomenal achievement.
Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive of Falmouth University, Professor Emma Hunt says she is “proud that Falmouth University is demonstrating how leading creative institutions are not only supporting the development of key skills in the industry but also acting as a significant investor in these productions.
“This kind of collaboration continues to have a net benefit too for boosting the regional film industry in Cornwall and celebrating the vibrant culture and talent inherent of our staff and student community. I truly believe that creative universities could be one of the driving forces in igniting a new era in film production and independent British cinema. Congratulations to all involved.”
In the run-up to the ceremony, we spoke with the members of the Middle Watch production team – including Falmouth staff and graduates – about the BAFTA-nominated animation and the opportunities the project afforded the Falmouth University film community.
Animation lecturers Derek Hayes and Katherine Nicholls told us “We are incredibly proud of all the Falmouth Animation students and alumni who have worked on Middle Watch. They recognised its huge learning potential as a professional production that would be under the inspiring and generous guidance of DreamWorks director John Stevenson and film producer Giles Healy from start to finish.”
I couldn't be prouder of what the team has accomplished. It has been both one of the greatest challenges and one of the most deeply rewarding experiences of my life.
Dimana Bratanova, Animation graduate and production manager and lead background artist for Middle Watch, got involved with the project in her third year at Falmouth. After hearing a pitch about it in a lecture, she was immediately grabbed by John’s story and the concept art visuals. "I knew it was a very ambitious project that I wanted to be a part of. I joined as part of the production team, running the day-to-day tasks of the crew, but as time passed, I got myself involved with concept art and later on, backgrounds as well.”
Asked what the best aspect of working on the project was, Dimana said: “I think one of the best aspects of being part of this project was the supportive culture we all created and shared. Everyone was caring, listening and understanding, constantly sharing resources and feedback, teaching skills and learning from one another. I am over the moon for the BAFTA nomination for the film, but I am happier that the hard work and dedication of every single person on this project is being rewarded.”
The animation director for Middle Watch was Falmouth Animation graduate Robert Strachan. For Robert, the opportunities for development stretched far beyond the production of the animation itself – it was about developing a supportive educational space for the team to train, grow, network and support one another.
“I couldn't be prouder of what the team has accomplished. And having the chance to personally teach and support the growth of over 50 artists, and to see that artistic development over the course of the production, from a wonderfully eclectic group of like-minded folks, across the animation and cleanup departments, has been both one of the greatest challenges and one of the most deeply rewarding experiences of my life.”
Commenting on the BAFTA nomination, Middle Watch producer, Giles Healy said: "[It] stands as testimony to the creative flair and dedication of a new generation of artists, animators and technicians. In reaching these bright young people, many of whom were still in full time education, we were given the support and encouragement of a number of educational institutions, but thanks must go to Falmouth University in particular, as without their funding and unfailing support, the film would not have been made.”
Inspired by the success of Middle Watch?
Our film, television and animation courses are a driven by industry standards. A large part of that means providing opportunities for students to work on professional projects, like Middle Watch, while they study.