Students Win National Award for Anti-Smoking Film

Three students from BA(Hons) Digital Media, the collective KEA Productions, were announced winners of the National Cut Films Award for their short film, Attraction, at the BAFTA HQ in central London on Thursday 4 July 2013.

Final year students Katy Roberts, Angel Lish and Emily Powell then had their film showcased at the BAFTA HQ.

Attraction came second place in the 20-25 age category after a special judges’ panel made up of filmmakers, health experts, and the winners from last year’s Cut Films competition watched all 216 entries in the competition and decided on the national winners.

Cut Films is a youth anti-smoking film and social media project organised by The Deborah Hutton Campaign – a peer-to-peer smoking prevention charity – and supported locally by Smokefree South West.

The project invites young people from across the UK to research smoking and present their findings in a short film, before sharing it through social media and a nationwide competition. Entries tackled a huge range of issues from plain packaging, long and short-term health risks, peer pressure to the actual ingredients found in tobacco.

KEA Productions’ film directly contradicts the idea that smoking is attractive, cool and sociable, through mimicking the smoking advertisements of the 1940s. KEA Productions’ aim was to make the audience feel foolish, hitting the message home without turning to the disturbing imagery and harsh messages favoured by the media.

At the brainstorming stage, the team threw around a number of unconventional ideas. These included a bar filled with social smokers who couldn’t see through the smog, and a relaxing smoke in a bath full of butts.

Katy Robers, one of the filmmakers, said, “After doing a questionnaire we realised that most people take up smoking because it is portrayed to them as sexy and cool. We wanted to show them it wasn’t. This project was particularly good as adults usually just tell us off for smoking; here was our chance to explain why smoking can be so seductive. More competitions should try and reach out like Cut Films to get young adults/ teenagers to create something from their own way of looking at it.”

Emma Wrafter, charity director, said “The Cut Films judging panel were particularly impressed with KEA Production’s approach, as well as their very promising filmmaking skills.”

The awards ceremony took place at BAFTA HQ in London and was hosted by (Channel4/Sky) presenter Robyn Bright. Independent film producer Lord David Puttnam CBE presented the awards.

Cut Films will be accepting entries for next year’s competition from July 2013. The closing date is 2May 2014.

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