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Student filmmakers' Viking drama in industry spotlight
Published: 10th June 2010, 2:46pm

A gripping historical drama produced by University of Lincoln students for just 350 will be screened for an audience of top film industry insiders.

Northmen is a 20-minute short film depicting a grim period of British history when England was in the grip of a fierce famine and plagued by marauding Vikings. It was made by a team of students from the University of Lincoln's BA (Hons) Media Production programme as part of their final year project work, under the supervision of lecturer Brian Hall.

The film has already stunned audiences and critics, premiering at Lincoln's Odeon cinema in February and being nominated for an award at the Polar Film Festival in Finland in May.

Now Northmen has been selected for a prestigious showcase of emerging film talent. It is one of just seven films from around the world chosen for the British Society of Cinematographers' New Cinematographers Night 2010. The event, which will be attended by many leading cinematographers, as well agents from the BBC and Channel 4, takes place at the National Film and Television School at Beaconsfield on 15 June.

Northmen is set in the year 1005AD, a time when England was suffering from a terrible famine and under invasion by the Danish King Sweyn Forkbeard. The story follows five Danish warriors left stranded behind enemy lines when winter sets in and the Danish forces flee to their ships.

The film was made by Urban Apache Films. The Lincoln students that worked on the production were Philip Stevens (co-writer and director), Stewart MacGregor (co-writer, director of photography, editor), Matthew Steward (co-writer, assistant cinematographer), Jake Tomlinson (sound designer, music supervisor), Ben Barczak (producer) and Elif Baki (production assistant).

Philip said despite their modest budget, the production team were able to draw on the expertise and enthusiasm of a vast array of expert volunteers.

He said: "We had incredible support from a huge number of people: historians, professional actors, costumiers and armourers. We were even lucky enough to find an Anglo Saxon farmhouse which we used as a location. It's arguably one of the most historically accurate Viking films ever made. That's what we set out to do: to create a slice of history.
"We have been really shocked by the response to Northmen. We've now got the opportunity to show the film to an audience of cinematographers at the top of the game. In the long-term we would like to develop it further and help to put Lincoln on the map as a centre for film production. I really do think Lincoln can thrive as a media capital, there is such an abundance of talent in the area."

Dr Sarah Barrow, Head of the University's Lincoln School of Media, said: "This is a significant success for both the student production team and the School. It continues to demonstrate that we are a force to be reckoned with in terms of the professionalism of our students."

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