The academic year is drawing to a close, and we want to congratulate all of our students for their achievements over the last twelve months!
Our first year students are the first to finish all their course work, so we invited them to an informal, creative and fun challenge to celebrate their start of the summer break . .
The 30hrs Film Challenge was an extra-curricular collaboration between first year Performing Arts students and first year Film&TV Production students. As part of this challenge, students from each course collaborated with each other in small teams in order to devise, script, shoot and edit a short film from scratch within just 30 hours!
On Tuesday 26 May at 10am, all participating students met in Drama Studio 1, where they were divided into four groups. After having some time to get to know each other and exchange initial ideas, the groups picked up their equipment and loaded it onto two waiting coaches.
At 11.30am, all packed and ready, the students were whisked away to a secret location which was going to provide the setting for their film.
We were lucky as it was a sunny and mild morning - ideal for a drive through the beautiful Buckinghamshire country side.
After about 20 minutes, we arrived at the wonderful Dean Valley Studios in Deanfield, Saunderton, where we were welcomed warmly by Elke Hojer and her son Stephan.
Elke immediately took the students on a tour to introduce them to the grounds, which included a huge and bare barn stemming from the 1940's, various adjourned barn rooms, a spacious glasshouse and several derelict greenhouses, with surrounding meadows and woodlands all available for the students to be used for filming. Elke's private farm is located opposite the main buildings, so the activities of our students were overlooked by a herd of very friendly goats (one of which had a guest appearance in one of the films!)
After familiarising themselves with the location and applicable conditions, the groups went off to plan and script their films. Soon filming was in full swing; the students only had until 7pm to shoot their footage. Making the most of not only of the intriguing indoor and outdoor spaces, they also made full use of the various objects that were available, including a car, a wardrobe, sofas, chains and a spade.
At 7.30pm, students were picked up from the Dean Valley Studios and brought back to Bucks New University High Wycombe Campus.
Post-production began immediately, with the groups dispersing into the editing suites to upload their footage and commence the process of editing their film into a final product.
Luckily, Bucks New University's studios are currently open for 24 hours, allowing students to work well into the night to complete their work.
And so that's what they did.
Some did the work in shifts.
Some fell asleep in chairs.
And all of them managed to produce a completed film at 4pm on Wednesday, 27 May.
A public screening was held in the Owen Harris Lecture theatre at 5pm.
All four films impressed not only with their quality of filming, but also with their ability to construct complex stories in a short amount of time. There was crime, there was humour, there were surprising twists and dark endings. And there was a lot of fun.
An audience vote was held to determine the most successful film: congratulations to Robert Cosh, Holly McCartney, Ben Pamar, Francis Siberini, Abbi Tunbridge and Aisha Xhafa for their film The Last Man . . . we hope you spend the voucher wisely . . .
It was great to see how harmoniously the Performing Arts and Film Production students collaborated - Although the two courses are very different, they share a common interest and Performing Arts students frequently perform in film course projects.
The 30hr Film Challenge was partly conceived as an opportunity for the students to make contact with each other, so that future collaborations might easier ensue.
However, the 30hrs Film Challenge was primarily intended as a chance for the students to collaborate creatively and experiment without the pressure of course deadlines and assessment criteria. It was a chance to simply have fun whilst doing what ultimately they love doing and what ultimately brought them to university in the first place.
To all of our first year students - have a wonderful holiday and see you for your 2nd year!
We would like to express our thanks to Elke Hojer and Stephan for allowing us to use the wonderful Dean Valley Studio. For more information on the location, please check
A big thank you to Laura Sims, senior lecturer in BA (Hons) Film&TV Production and Carrie Mueller, lecturer in BA (Hons) Performing Arts for facilitating and organising this event.