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RTS NI announces winners of 2023- Student Television Awards

The Royal Television Society Northern Ireland (RTS NI) Student Television Awards winners were announced tonight (29 March 2023) in the Black Box, Belfast at an awards ceremony hosted by UTV journalist Sarah McKinley with the Joe McKinney Memorial Keynote Speech delivered by leading industry professional Jannine Waddell, MD of Waddell Media.

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 for Sleeper, a very slick production by Josh McAvoy, Eva Robinson, Sinéad Burns and Cathal Daniel Murphy with great music, sound design and a memorable style of animation with 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 charming sweet film aimed at younger audiences.

The Comedy and Entertainment Award went to Real Lads of Lockdown, a production by Ulster UniversityBelfast students Aidan Rafferty, Eve Drumm, Keelan Sexton, Gareth Rodgers, Ruairi Craig and Aaron Crilly which wasn’t afraid to touch on the more serious aspects of the pandemic while providing lots of laugh out loud moments – a great balance of comedy and pathos. Fried, Not Baked by Belfast Met Film and Television School students Ciara McCready, Stewart Burns, Fearghal McKee, Angus McDowell and Ethan Thompson was highly commended in this category for its humorous take on investigative journalism.

Ulster University at Magee were the winners in the Drama category for A Hollow Tree by Cathal Fitzpatrick which the judges felt had a great opening scene which succeeded in being genuinely scary with a real sense of foreboding throughout. Queens University Belfast students Erin Mills, Jamie Murray, Nic Doyle, Ben Cheney and Grainne McGirr were Highly commended in this category for their drama Worms.

There were two Factual Award winners – The Lone Sailor, a moving and inspiring documentary about triumph in the face of challenge by Ulster University at Magee student Malachy O’Hanlon and Technical Difficulties by Queens University Belfast students Aisling Skillen,Andrew Ballentine, Lynn Porter, Oisin McCoy and Olga Weyrich for its really interesting look into the techno scene in Northern Ireland.  Kirill by Jasper Banerjee, Alex Donaldson, James Poston and Mark McKibbin from Queens University Belfast was also highly commended in this category.

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, Belfast 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.”

Tonight’s award winners will go forward to the national RTS Student Media Awards in June in London.

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