Ulster University sweeps the board with five wins at Student Television Awards

Ulster University cleaned up last night at the Royal Television Society Northern Ireland (RTS NI) Student Television Awards in Belfast, winning all five categories entered.

Ulster University cleaned up last night at the Royal Television Society Northern Ireland (RTS NI) Student Television Awards in Belfast, winning all five categories entered.

The awards are a partnership between Northern Ireland Screen and RTS NI, and encourage, nurture and reward the talent, potential and enthusiasm of students in colleges and universities across Northern Ireland creating film and video content.

Welcoming news of the wins, Director of Ulster Screen Academy at Ulster University, Professor Declan Keeney said:

“All of us at the Ulster Screen Academy are delighted to see our students’ hard work and creatively celebrated at last night’s awards. Our courses are producing the next generation of highly skilled, award-winning graduates for future careers in the creative industries. We are honoured to won in all five categories and to be nominated 16 times for this year’s prestigious Royal Television Society Student Awards.

“The awards are testimony to the incredible talent and creativity of our students and the dedication of our staff supporting them on their journey into the professional world.”

The Animation Award went to Ulster University for Sleeper, a very slick production by Belfast campus students Josh McAvoy, Eva Robinson, Sinéad Burns and Cathal Daniel Murphy for the music, sound design and a memorable style of animation that has been described as “impressive visual world building using cutting edge motion technology”. Michael Berryman from Ulster University was also highly commended for his solo animation The Butterfly Effect, a film aimed at younger audiences.

The Comedy and Entertainment Award went to Real Lads of Lockdown, a production by Ulster University students Aidan Rafferty, Eve Drumm, Keelan Sexton, Gareth Rodgers, Ruairi Craig and Aaron Crilly, also based in Belfast, which wasn’t afraid to touch on the more serious aspects of the pandemic – balancing comedy and pathos.

Ulster University student, Cathal Fitzpatrick, from our Derry~Londonderry campus, won in the Drama category for A Hollow Tree, which the judges felt had a great opening scene and succeeded in being genuinely scary with a real sense of foreboding throughout.

The Factual Award had two winners and one was from our Derry~Londonderry campus, Malachy O’Hanlon, for The Lone Sailor, a moving and inspiring documentary about triumph in the face of challenge.

And the Craft Award for excellence in writing work was awarded to the Real Lads of Lockdown writer and director Aidan Rafferty from Ulster University as the judges said the script, style and tone were captured fantastically and the writing stood out among the other entries.

Fiona Campbell, Chair of RTS NI said:

“The judges were hugely impressed by the creativity and imagination shown in this year’s entries. We wish all our winners every success in the national RTS Student Television Awards taking place in London this June. This is the tenth year of the RTS NI Student Awards which has provided a high-profile platform for the work of so many students over the years kickstarting their careers in the creative industries.”

Bernard McCloskey, Head of Education, Northern Ireland Screen said:

“It was a privilege to recognise and reward the outstanding achievements of the RTS NI award winners tonight. The event was a showcase of the incredible skills and experience of students across Northern Ireland, and I look forward to watching their impact on our vibrant screen industries.”

Keynote speaker Jannine Waddell, MD of Waddell Media said:

“These awards celebrate the wealth of young talent emerging from our colleges, providing our students with an amazing opportunity to have their talent seen and celebrated by industry professionals. Over the past ten years the RTS NI has played a huge role in supporting the next generation of content creators and winning one of these awards provides students with a prestigious accolade to help them with their future careers.”

Award winners will now go forward to compete in the national RTS Student Media Awards in June in London.

You can find out more about the awards by visiting: rts.org.uk/event/royal-television-society-ni-student-awards-2023

For further information on Ulster Screen Academy, go to: ulster.ac.uk/screen-academy/home