Each summer, when the A/S Media Studies students return from exam leave, they are set one of the most difficult, but enjoyable, challenges of their two year course - the LAFTAs short film competition. With more than 200 entries from schools across the county and beyond, the LAFTAs are (in their own words) “the country's premier event showcasing and celebrating the films and animations made by children and young people.” With only three weeks between returning to school and the closing date for the competition this is a chance for the students to work under real pressure which is compounded by the knowledge that each year we have entered, we have won a prize of some description. Thus it was that last June the A/S returners found themselves working feverishly to produce a short film in response to the word “sponge”.
Entries were collated and sent off for the 4th July deadline and then we had to sit and wait.
In late September we received the news that one of our films, Uninvited by Ben Stockdale, Jess Marshall, Lauren Key and Thomas Oliver, had been nominated in both the ‘Best Production’ and ‘Best Overall’ categories; quite an achievement when one considers that there are only twelve nominations in the Secondary Schools section.
The awards event takes place every year at The Engine Shed in Lincoln and so it was that Mr Grant loaded the minibus with nine very smartly dressed 6th formers on 20th October to go and learn their fate.
This black-tie event is always a good night and this year was no different. BBC Radio Lincolnshire asked if they could interview a few of our students about the awards and their work and so it was that five minutes before the event was due to start Jess Morris, Gemma North and Kate Tindall were stood outside one of the fire exits being broadcast live to the county. We dashed back inside and took our seats as the lights fell and LAFTAs Patron and Oscar winner Jim Broadbent took to the stage to compère the evening.
After the primary school awards there was a short break before, what was for us, the serious end of the proceedings. Looking down the nominations list it was apparent that Spalding Grammar School had a particularly strong set of entries, with nearly half the nominations; would this be the year we left empty handed? As the nominations for Best Production were read there was a palpable increase in tension around our table. Clips were shown, the competition was strong, lips were being bitten as the envelope was opened… and Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Horncastle were announced as the winners. An excited trip to the stage to collect the award and the prize of a video camera, photographs with Jim Broadbent and much shaking of hands and patting of backs quickly led to the sudden realisation that we were now in with a real chance in the ‘Best Overall’ film category. Again the tension was cranked up in traditional golden envelope style… but this time it was, sadly, not to be and the coveted ‘Best Overall’ award eluded our grasp again.
Oh well, there’s always next year…