18 Nov 2011

Student film makers get creative with climate change message

Short film still

Short film still

Students from the UK’s leading film schools have risen to a challenge from The Open University and the BBC to present environmental debates in a fresh and creative way. More than 80 ideas for films were pitched as part of a competition open to the students with a remit covering a wide range of environmental topics. The students were offered one of five themes to explore in their own way.

The 80 initial pitches were whittled down to a shortlist of just 20, with the students then having to pitch their submission to an expert judging panel, including renowned film maker and Chancellor of The Open University Lord Puttnam. A final winning group of 10 films was then commissioned. These can be viewed on The Open University’s YouTube channel and a selection of films, with commentary, can be watched via the OU’s OpenLearn site. They will also be shown to an audience at BBC TV Centre on Monday November 21. Follow this link to view all 10 short films:

The winners each received £500 towards making their short film. The results contain a mix of drama, animation and factual material and range from talking sofas to a suited business executive having a lover’s tiff with a tree. The competition was part of The Open University’s Creative Climate project which engages both experts and the public in the recording their own evolving attitudes and actions in relation to environmental issues.

Competition organiser and judge Joe Smith, a senior lecturer in environment issues at the OU, said: “We wanted to see what film students could do to lift these major environmental issues off the desk of academics and put them out there for the public to debate.”

Fellow judge Jon Plowman, former head of BBC comedy and now an executive producer there, said: “The winners really have risen to the challenge and shown that they are talented and offer a different view on the world and the issues behind environmental change and how the public perceive them. I couldn’t be happier with the films that the winners have made. These guys will be the film makers of tomorrow.”
As well as being published online, the films are expected to be screened at film and other cultural festivals.


Notes for Editors
The Creative Climate is a 10-year project by The Open University recording how people understand and respond to environmental change over the next decade. The aim is to produce a living archive of experiences and ideas by inviting the public to create and share their own online diaries on any aspect of the environment, from watching an insect or plant to research ideas.
More details can be found here:

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