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Date Posted: March 29, 2024

The Royal Television Society Northern Ireland (RTS NI) Student Television Awards winners were announced last night (28 March 2024) in the Black Box, Belfast at an awards ceremony hosted by UTV journalist Nathan Hanna with the Joe McKinney Memorial Keynote Speech delivered by Fiona Campbell, Controller, Youth Audience, BBC Iplayer and BBC Three.

In partnership with Northern Ireland Screen, these awards encourage, nurture and reward the talent, potential and enthusiasm of students in colleges and universities across Northern Ireland creating film and video content.

The Animation Award went to Ulster University Belfast student Patrick Faulkner for Unseen- Alone in Space, a great animation and intriguing story which the judges described as beautiful throughout and well executed.

The Entertainment and Comedy Award went to Mantis Shrimp, a production by Queens University Belfast students

Stella Skiadopoulou, Jiale Rui, Amy Lonergan, Harry Thompson and Dai Qingyongcuo, which the judges found funny, whimsical and well-acted with creative visuals and a great actress who gave a star performance.

Queens University Belfast was also the winner in the Drama category for Spring is Sure to Follow, by Andrew McAllister, Lucy Johnston, Lucy Maxwell, Jon-Marc Maguire, William Penney and Dominic Small. The judges liked the gentle pensiveness of this film which had a beautiful story of acceptance with great casting and performances. Ulster University Belfast students Luke O’Grady and Marty Carlin were highly commended for their drama When it Rains.

On The Edge by Nathan Edgar from Ulster University Coleraine won the Factual Short Form Award for his very accomplished documentary which the judges felt was an incredibly talented solo effort with great drone work and access.  Being Punk by Haoyue Hu, Shanshan Qiu and Jean Watt from Queens University Belfast was also highly commended in this category.

 The Craft Award for excellence in camera work was awarded to Karl Castles from Queens University Belfast for his work on the drama Saoirse, which the judges thought was mesmerizing and stunningly shot with great locations.

The Craft Award for Production went to Queens University students Harry Thompson, Olivia Peden, Luke Darby, Owen Hogg and Emma Harrisson for their short documentary Above Par.

Sarah McCaffrey, Chair of RTS NI said: “Congratulations to all our winners this year, it is wonderful to have this opportunity to celebrate and highlight the amazing work emerging from Northern Ireland’s third level institutions.  I know the judges had a very tough task selecting this year’s winners given the high quality of all this year’s entries. I look forward to seeing the impact all these students will have on our screen industries in the coming years and wish those winners going forward to the national awards in June every success.”

Bernard McCloskey, Head of Exhibition at Northern Ireland Screen said: “Northern Ireland Screen is delighted to be able to support these student awards in partnership with RTS NI which are a great way to nurture and encourage the emerging creative talent we have here in Northern Ireland.”

Aidan Browne, Chair of the RTS NI Students Awards said: “The RTS NI plays a huge role in supporting the next generation of content creators and winning one of these awards provides local students with a prestigious accolade to help them with their future careers.”

 Keynote speaker Fiona Campbell, Controller Youth Audience, BBC Iplayer and BBC Three said: “It is always a real privilege to meet with the next generation of content makers, as I get to experience first-hand their enthusiasm for this industry, which I still love as much today as when I first started out here in Belfast, many years ago. I have seen huge changes driven by technology during this time, but I believe it is our natural ability for storytelling that ensures, Northern Ireland always punches way above its’ weight on the global stage.”

The winners of these Awards go forward to the national RTS Student Media Awards in June and will also be invited to this year’s RTS NI Programme Awards in November, where their work will be showcased in front of top professionals from across the screen industries.

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