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Student film Red River wins major accolade at international festival

Red River screenshot

A SHORT film created by University of Chichester students for their final-year dissertations has been awarded a major accolade at an international festival.

Horror-thriller Red River won Best Short Film for its bold plotline of a concentration camp escapee’s pursuit of a former Nazi solider. The short, which is just 11 minutes in length, received the accolade at the Eclipse international film festival at Pasadena in California.

Writer and producer Tim Wickens, from the BA (Hons) in Digital Film Production and Screenwriting degree at Chichester, said the award was a reward for the hard work the student team put in together. He added: “We were surprised to win as we had a relatively small budget but it is gratifying to know that you can achieve anything with hard work.

“Red River is an interpretative piece of work that, like a river, represents the flow of life - a life born out the violence and hatred of a concentration camp. The film poses questions about choice and morality and the decisions of a survivor who mercilessly pursues the Nazi soldier who stole the last remaining photo of her daughter.”

First assistant director Abigail Godfrey

The production, which also received a nomination for best actress at the festival, was a collaborative effort between as many as 35 students from the first, second, and third years of the University’s department of Creative and Digital Technologies. It was funded by the undergraduates themselves who raised nearly £8,000 through part-time summer jobs and financial contributions from online crowdfunding.

First assistant director Abigail Godfrey, above, also of the (BA) Hons in Digital Film Production and Screenwriting, was part of the student group who worked with lecturers and industry professionals to plan the project from concept to production. She said: “To have been nominated at the festival was flattering but to have picked up the award was enormously rewarding and makes all those days in the mud worthwhile.

“It was so important to make the most of the facilities at Chichester and the contacts we made on the film because, once you step out of university, you are on your own in one of the world’s most competitive industries. Since graduating I’ve worked on several feature films in Shepperton and having the experience of working on Red River has been really beneficial.”

From September this year new students of the department of Creative and Digital Technologies will learn in the University’s new £35million Engineering and Digital Technology Park. The development, based at the Bognor Regis campus, will include a 300 square-metre television production studio with special effects room and media operation centre.

Student filmmakers Sarah and Aaron

The Technology Park is also an opportunity for the department to build on its international reputation in film.  It is the expertise and facilities available at the University which helped the student team put the award-winning finishes to the film.

Director Harry Jones said: “Red River is something I and my fellow filmmakers wanted to show to the world that if you have the drive, resources and passion for filmmaking no matter what your situation or starting point, anything is achievable. When we came together to make Red River we wanted to make something far greater in scope and quality that had not been seen in any other dissertation films made prior to us.”

Red River has already been officially selected at various ceremonies including the Los Angeles Cine Fest, Cardiff International Film Festival, Big Terror Film Festival in West Virginia USA, and the UK Offline Web Fest. The student team hope the film achieves more success later this month at the Buke Street Film Festival in Luton, near London, and at the Living Skies Student Film Festival in Canada.

For more about the Red River film, including its trailer, go to Alternatively find out more degrees provided by the department of Creative and Digital Technologies at the University of Chichester at

Red River screenshot