We have some very exciting news to report from our Film Studies Department!
Old Elean, Lia Kunis, who left King’s Ely Sixth Form last summer, has been ‘Highly Commended’ in the prestigious 2023 Moving Image Awards, for a film that she wrote and directed while studying her A-Levels at King’s.
The annual competition recognises “inspiring levels of student achievement within the production of Film and Media” by celebrating the best work of students aged 14-19 at schools and colleges in the UK.
Lia’s film, entitled ‘Davey’s Bad Day’, has been recognised by judges in the competition’s short film category, which places her in the top nine student producers in the UK!
Lia joined our King’s Ely International (KEI) programme in Year 11 and stayed on at King’s Ely Sixth Form to study Photography, Film Studies, and Psychology for her A-Levels. In September 2023, she achieved a place at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in the United States to study Film and Television, as well as a double majoring in Photography.
When asked how she feels to have been Highly Commended in the Moving Image Awards, 20-year-old Lia said: “It feels great! I actually completely forgot that my short film was submitted for the competition, so when I got the message telling me it had been Highly Commended, I was a bit surprised. It is a huge compliment to be recognised by professionals in the field, and it has certainly boosted my motivation to continue creating!”
‘Davey’s Bad Day’ is a silent comedy, filmed at King’s and starring Old Eleans, Felix Ikhsanov and Nariman Abdusalamov; Sixth Form student, Ivana Peat; and former Head of Film Studies, Mr Steve Merrell. You can watch the film on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSaIecnl0Rs
Lia said: “When I was writing different scripts for my coursework, most of them covered serious topics, and I felt that I needed more variety. We were covering the silent films era in class at that time, and I thought that if I made a silent comedy for my coursework, it would stand out more, therefore I decided to give it a shot. Initially, I had a different set of actors in my film, however due to schedule difficulties, I had to make changes and start over, even though I had half of the film shot already! I ended up getting very lucky with my actors, as we managed to keep things professional and work very efficiently, even though we were all good friends. I had a great time working on this short film, and definitely improved my skills in screenwriting, producing, and editing.”
When asked about the support she received from our Film Studies Department, which is now run by Mr Jonathan Smith, Lia said: “Mr Smith was always happy to help me when I needed him, but he also gave us the complete creative freedom, which I really appreciated. I also want to say a special thank you to Mr Merrell, who used to be our Film Studies Teacher in Year 12, for not only supporting me throughout the production, but also for acting in my film!”
We are thrilled to hear that Lia is enjoying SCAD and life in America.
She said: “I started my journey at SCAD in September, and it is going incredibly well! Even though I joined only a few months ago, I have already had a different bunch of opportunities and experiences, from participating in all-day filming workshops at a professional studio, to volunteering and attending the Savannah Film Festival for pre-screenings, including Maestro which was partially filmed in Ely Cathedral. I cannot wait to continue pursuing my passions at SCAD and developing new connections in this big industry! My three years at King’s were a great experience for me, and I am glad that I got the opportunity to join King’s at that point in my life.”