A group of talented Film students from SAE Glasgow (Mattia Ferragina, Ester Louwe, Sil Derkx, Alasdair Ferguson and Sean Friel), made the top 10 out of over 300 submissions in a competition held by Nespresso.
Together, the students discovered Nespresso’s “Difference She Makes” competition, which is part of the coffee company’s Nespresso Talent campaign which celebrates creative filmmaking through it’s yearly competitions. Now in its third year, the competition encourages filmmakers to tell a story through the format of vertical video in line with the chosen theme.
Ester Louwe commented: “We were immediately struck by the creative freedom and the added challenge of shooting vertical. Also, Nespresso is a big name, and it never hurts to have that in your portfolio.”
The group decided that the competition was the perfect opportunity to take on a new challenge, expand their portfolios and, being students, they wanted to give themselves the opportunity to win a cash prize.
The theme for this year’s competition was “The Difference She Makes” which encouraged filmmakers to share inspiring stories of women who make a difference and spark change in any form. One of the Film students, Alasdair Ferguson, suggested that their competition entry should be about his wife, Julie, who has had a positive impact on many people through implementing various changes as Headteacher of a local nursery.
Being factual and more like a documentary, there was no pre-planned plot for the film. Therefore the team needed to find out about Julie and how exactly she had made a difference at her nursery.
Explaining the process, Ester said: “We interviewed her to get to know exactly what impact she had made and then returned on a different day to represent these changes visually.”
With the additional help of Film student Alyn Smith and Audio student Ben Cummings, the team set off to the nursery to find out more. During the interview, they asked Julie questions about what she had done for the nursery and shot with two cameras in order to cut between different perspectives in the final film. They then captured footage of Julie at work amongst the children, which effectively showcased how her actions had a positive impact on the nursery and how much she meant to everyone there.
“Before the day we had discussed roughly what kind of images we wanted but I ended up thinking on my feet. I was inspired by the environment, which dictated most of the visuals shot that day,” Ester tells us.
Sil Derkx, who was Director of Photography, got some drone footage and edited the final film alongside Mattia Ferragina, which they aptly named Julie. They also enlisted the help of Audio student, Peter Crowder, to assist with sound.
After submitting Julie to the competition, the students soon found out that they had made the top 10 and were invited to attend the awards ceremony at BAFTA London.
“I was very surprised and just immediately assumed that there were just a very small amount of submissions for the competition. Much later I heard that there were more than 300 submissions, that is when it just felt unreal,” Ester said.
Attending the awards evening was a fantastic experience for all the finalists as they were able to see their films and network with each other. With a formal dress code and cocktail reception, Nespresso really pulled out all the stops to make the finalists feel special.
“It was absolutely amazing to see all of the finalists’ films and seeing our own was a very strange experience too, as this was the first time I’d ever seen anything I’d made on the big screen,” Ester explains.
Despite hoping to win the first prize and receive an invitation to Cannes Film Festival, the team unfortunately left empty handed but full of pride knowing that they had come so far and been recognised for their hard work.
“I think having your name attached to a competition held by a big company like Nespresso makes it a little easier to be taken seriously as a professional.”
The students certainly demonstrated their professional demeanour throughout the whole process, and would encourage others to follow suit and get involved in an exciting project of their own.
Ester tells us: “If you are serious and driven, find other students that are too and get together to throw yourself into a challenging project or competition. Together you can do the unthinkable and it will transform you into a better creative professional.”