Film, TV and theatre graduate reflects on award-winning year
It’s been a busy year for film, TV and stage production graduate Oscar Fitchett. In 2022 he not only helped stage a film festival as part of his final year at The Northern School of Art, the film he created for his final degree project won three awards and has been selected to be screened as part of a global festival.
Read on for his reflections on the past twelve months’ achievements.
- You were a part of The Northern Film Festival 2022 with your film ‘Love Bethany’, what experiences, skills and opportunities did you gain from it?
Being part of the organising team behind The Northern Film Festival 2022 was truly an unforgettable one. It was quite unlike anything that I had ever been a part of before but also felt like a natural transition in terms of teamwork.
This was the first time I had the opportunity to watch a film of mine on the big screen in front of a sold-out audience. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. Not only to watch ‘Love Bethany’ in that environment, but also everyone else’s final major projects. We’d all worked so hard over the previous three years and to see it all come to a head in that kind of celebration was amazing. It was certainly a valuable experience for me to get a taste of an event where many people are watching your film and communicating with you about it all.
- What have you been working on since graduation?
Since graduating I have found myself doing a lot involving filmmaking and general video production. A week after I graduated I was on the set of CBBC’s The Dumping Ground as a part of a two-day shadowing placement organised by North East Screen, where I managed to observe near enough every department of the television production.Additionally, during the latter part of the summer I was a part of the crew (pictured above) for a new short film by George Dickson (D.I.Y / Night Shift), which was one of the best experiences I’ve had on a set. More recently I have directed and edited a music video (filming pictured below) for north east rock band Thrones, a project, without revealing too much, that takes a lot of similar stylistic similarities that I used in ‘Love Bethany’. It stars acting graduates and MA students from The Northern School of Art, Connor Dorrian and Joseph Casling.I was also invited back to the School in December to film and help direct the second year acting degree students’ mockumentary / mockdrama project. This type of quick efficient film-making is something that was completely different to anything that I had done previously but I can’t think of a more fun way to be thrown in the deep end and I learned some valuable new skills. I’m really happy that I was part of a team thought highly enough of to be trusted to film for the acting degree and it was a brilliant experience to work with that group of actors.
- How did it feel to win an award from the Tokyo International Monthly Film Festival?
When ‘Love Bethany’ won the Best Horror Film award at the Tokyo International Monthly Film Festival (TIMFF) it was an interesting experience. This was the first time a film of mine has won an award of any kind, so I remember being over the moon about that. The award wasn’t presented in-person but over email, so it still didn’t quite feel real to me that I had made an award-winning film on an international level.
- Tell us about Lift-off Global Network 2022
From 5 December 2022 – 2 January 2023, ‘Love Bethany’ is showcased on Lift-Off Global Network’s London Online Film Festival as a part of the Best Short Narrative category.
The aim of this festival is to give a platform to emerging filmmakers where their work can be presented on a global scale. What is exciting about this event is that, if it is successful in the voting rounds, it will be premiered at Pinewood Studios in front of an audience. A big chunk of the voting system in the first round is audience-based where members of the public who have streamed the films can choose their two favourite films in the category to go forward in voting process. Anyone can rent the festival films until 2 January, and any support for ‘Love Bethany’ as part of the Trendsetter Shorts category would be massively appreciated. You can download the category HERE .
- Your film has been featured in different festivals and has already accumulated some awards. Can you tell us about them?
The festival run for ‘Love Bethany’ has been a successful one – the film has so far collected three awards. In June it won the TIMFF award mentioned above and recently also the Seoul International Monthly Film Festival.
However for me the biggest highlight was the Tees Valley International Film Festival (TVIFF) held at ARC Stockton Arts Centre, (pictured above). Tokyo may have been my first award win, but TVIFF was the first time I was able to attend a festival that a film of mine was competing in, in person. Even more amazing was that I was able to walk on stage at the closing ceremony to accept the Best Horror Award.
Gaining recognition in other countries is wonderful, but there’s nothing quite like being present in a local event where you’re surrounded by like-minded creatives that are all based in the same region. It’s certainly an exciting time to be a filmmaker in the north east of England.
- Any future projects or plans?
I’m always trying to keep myself productive when it comes to filmmaking. I currently have a few scripts that I would like to start the development stages of and begin to make them a reality.
Alongside trying to take the next step in narrative film writing/directing, over the last year I have involved in the video production team of Newcastle based wrestling promotion NORTH Wrestling NCL. It’s a role that I have loved every second of and I intend to continue being involved in that environment alongside everything else.
- Any advice for future film students?
Make sure to have fun with it all. It seems unthinkable to me that I was able to study a degree in filmmaking, and it’s even crazier that one can have a career in storytelling. Things may get stressful and intense, but if you love this craft, don’t let the clouds overshadow why you’re doing this in the first place. Every stumbling block is an important experience. One disaster will be a lesson learnt for the future to make the next project even better.
- What was special about your time at The Northern School of Art?
It was honestly the best three years of my life. It’s amazing that I was able to study a degree in the artform that I truly adore, but what heightened all of that was being surrounded by a variety of people that shared that same passion.
Getting to form connections to people not only from the film, TV and theatre production course, but also from acting, costume, visual effects & model making, fine art, production design and more has not only elevated me as a creative professional but truly allowed me to gain valuable life experience that I would not had otherwise.
Further information about the BA (Hons) Film, Television & Theatre Production degree is available HERE