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University of Westminster film talents bring home two Oscars

Television, Film and Moving Image 29 February 2016

Asif Kapadia and Shan Christopher Ogilvie win an Academy Award.

Two alumni from the University of Westminster achieved the highest film industry accolade by being announced winners at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony which took place in Los Angeles on 28 February 2016.

University of Westminster’s graduate, Asif Kapadia, won best Documentary Feature for the film Amy, about the late singer Amy Winehouse. The Oscar comes just a couple of weeks after Kapadia won a BAFTA for Best Documentary, as well as a Grammy for the Best Music Film. The documentary debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.

Kapadia’s documentary on Amy Winehouse uses archive footage to show how the singer channeled the struggles faced in her personal life into her music. Since graduating from the University of Westminster in 1994, Asif Kapadia has directed several award-winning films, including the 2010 documentary Senna, which won the World Cinema Audience Award Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival 2011.

Westminster academic Dr Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary The Look of Silence was also nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category.

The short film Stutterer, produced by film graduate Shan Christopher Ogilvie, won the best Live Action Short Film category. The film was produced by the University of Westminster graduate and founder of Bare Golly Films, Shan Christopher Ogilvie, and focuses on a young man with a severe stutter and his difficulties dating. Directed and written by Benjamin Clearly and co-produced by Serena Armitage, the short film has also recently won the Best Foreign Film prize at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival and the Best Drama Award at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival. The film was made on an impressive shoestring budget of £5,000.

Ogilvie graduated from the University of Westminster in 2009, after studying on the Film and Television BA Honours course (now Film BA Honours).

Professor Geoffrey Petts, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Westminster, said: “We are extremely proud of Asif Kapadia and Shan Christopher Ogilvie for winning two awards at this year's Oscars. They are both a great inspiration and role models for our students and future film talents. At the University of Westminster we have a tradition of producing some of the world’s most recognised producers, directors and writers, and last night’s awards are a testament to the fantastic works that our former students and staff have produced. I would like to extend my congratulation to both Asif and Shan for such a remarkable Oscar accolade.”

The University of Westminster is a leading global centre for excellence in the arts and film production and has strong links with the film industry. Its Film BA Honours, taught at the Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design, is one of the best known film and television courses in the world, with an international reputation for its academic and practical teaching.

Learn more about the University of Westminster’s Film BA Honours course.

Image credits: Left: Shan Christopher Ogilvie and Benjamin Cleary (Phil McCarten / ©A.M.P.A.S.), Right: Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Reese (Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Watch Shan Christopher Ogilvie’s backstage interview at the Oscars

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