First Prize for Year 7 Filmmaker at Dulwich Festival

Year 7’s Eleanor has seen off competition from young filmmakers across south London to win the Dulwich Festival Youth Film Competition.

Eleanor’s 90-second stop-motion film of the famous Crystal Palace Park dinosaurs scooped the top prize in the 11-18 year old category, a particularly impressive achievement coming from one of the very youngest competitors in the field.

The theme of the competition was ‘My South London’, and Eleanor chose the landmark sculptures as a tribute to the memory of having spent many happy days in Crystal Palace Park with her family and nearby grandparents. Her winning entry was a creative and witty Lego reconstruction of the meteor that caused the species’ extinction and their rebirth as the sculptures as interpreted by the Victorian artist Benjamin Hawkins in the 1850s.

Entries were chosen by a panel of film industry experts from the BFI and film production companies, and Eleanor’s film was screened at the Dulwich Festival alongside other shortlisted finalists.

Eleanor said:

“The theme of the film competition was called “My South London” so I started to think about what that might mean to me. I grew up in in the area and spent a lot of time in Crystal Palace Park. I remembered going there to see the dinosaurs and knew that they were very famous. They fascinated me because of their size and how scary they looked. They’re such an important landmark of the area and I was really keen to use something personal to my life in my entry.

I chose to create a stop-motion film because I liked the fun way to move characters and I was already familiar with the skill from doing it in Year 3. So I came up with a story of when dinosaurs were alive, then the meteor hitting the planet, to the current use of the area as a park. I made a scene using a shoe box and photos of the Crystal Palace dinosaurs, then I built the park and the meteor by using lego and toys.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this film, especially since it’s not a hobby that comes straight to mind. I feel that I learnt so much about my local history and film-making skills when participating in this competition.

We were invited to the award ceremony where we saw the other entries which were all really good. They announced the winners in reverse order, my name wasn’t being called out…. Then second place was announced, and I realised I had won! I was presented with a certificate and a rosette and prize money. It was so much fun and I think I’d do it again next year.”

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