Winchester student films shortlisted for national awards

6 Nov 2019

For the second consecutive year, students from the BA (Hons) Journalism programme at the University of Winchester have been shortlisted by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) Student Journalism Awards 2019, for prestigious national awards in film.

Third year student Emily Wilson, has been shortlisted in the Best Social Short category for her video Celebrating Down’s Syndrome in a Changing Society. The video shows how perceptions and social stigmas about people with Down’s syndrome have changed with time.

The people featured celebrate their personalities, dancing and singing on World Down’s Syndrome day. Charities: Winchester Go LD and Blue Apple Theatre held a disco on this day to bring people together as part of a 21-hour DanceAThon to raise awareness of Down's syndrome. Blue Apple consistently work closely with the University as part of a progressive partnership. Janet Chiercia, who volunteers with Go LD, speaks about how her daughter was treated forty years ago. It is a heart-warming representation of the enthusiasm and dedication people living with learning disabilities have.

Emily said: “I am overjoyed to have received a nomination for the award. The people featured in the film are incredibly inspiring and strong. They let me step into their safe space and hub to interview them, showing a great willingness to get involved and live a happy, normal life. I hope that my video captures this.”

“Emily’s active community engagement with this project reflects the University’s core values of Compassion and Individuals Matter, raising awareness of important social inequalities which still need to be addressed.” Said Brian Thornton, Programme Leader for Journalism.

Harry Acton, now a graduate of the University, has been shortlisted for the Best TV Documentary award for his documentary Inside CanDog: The Untold Story. Harry travelled to Ibiza with the original intention of working with animal rescue charity Care4Cats, and stumbled upon the story of CanDog, an animal recovery centre, by chance. Since the documentary aired, there have already been positive changes at CanDog, with the citizens of Ibiza now involved in the process of turning the centre around and making CanDog fit for all dogs who need it.

Throughout the documentary, Harry explores the animal culture in Ibiza and highlights both the good and bad examples on the island. He conducts secret filming inside CanDog, and then gets an exclusive interview with a former volunteer at the centre. The footage is then shown to an animal welfare expert in the UK, who himself raises concerns about the welfare of the dogs. The story progresses and shows us a good example of how dogs should be looked after, highlighting that animal culture on the island is changing.

Harry said: “I was encouraged to submit my documentary for this award, and I am overjoyed to have been shortlisted. Animal welfare is a real issue on the island of Ibiza, and I’m glad that my documentary is making an impact. I visited the island with totally different expectations, and I am proud that I have been able to play a pivotal role in changing CanDog for the better. I have actually been invited back to see how the centre has changed, and this is an exciting prospect for the future.

“I cannot stress enough how supportive the course was of my documentary, and I am happy to call myself a Winchester graduate.”

Since graduating from the University with a first class degree in Journalism, Harry has recently been appointed as Deputy Head of News at That’s TV. That’s TV consists of 20 regional TV stations across the UK, and focuses on local, community driven news. 

Brian Thornton, Programme Leader for Journalism and former BBC journalist, said: “We are delighted to see the work of our students shortlisted for national awards once again this year. We are very ambitious for our students and set very high standards on our journalism course. These two films highlight issues that are very important but unfortunately don’t get the coverage they deserve. All the staff and students in Winchester are extremely proud of Harry and Emily and wish them the best of luck in their journalism careers."

The national Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) Student Journalism Awards 2019 recognise the country’s newly qualified journalists and is open to all students studying on BJTC training courses. It is run by the BJTC, the UK’s largest industry-backed higher education training body for multiplatform, broadcast and mobile journalism. The University of Winchester’s BA (Hons) Journalism programme has been accredited by the BJTC for almost ten years.

The awards will be announced at a ceremony on 12 November at the Sky Cinema, Sky HQ. 

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