The Academy Award nominated film Head Over Heels may not have won an Oscar at the ceremony in Hollywood but the NFTS graduates who made the film said the experience had been life-changing.
A record 8 NFTS graduates who worked on the film were able to get tickets, thanks to the negotiation skills of Producer Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly who wanted to ensure that the crew got to walk the red carpet along with her and the Director Timothy Reckart.
NFTS Director Nik Powell, who also attended the ceremony, said: "The Academy Awards are the hottest ticket in town so for Fodhla to get 8 tickets was a real achievement and is indicative of the 'one for all' sense of cameraderie that our students share at this School."
HOH Writer/Director Timothy Reckart, aged 26, said: "It's been a bit of a whirlwind since being nominated, a blur of meetings, parties and Press interviews. But despite missing out on the Academy Award we have gained so much experience and had the incredible opportunity to tour the Hollywood Studios and meet people who may open doors to our future as film-makers."
Timothy also said he was proud to follow in the footsteps of one of his heroes, Nick Park, who was also a student at the NFTS and whose graduation film A Grand Day Out featuring Wallace & Gromit was also nominated for an Oscar in 1989. Nick Park went on to win an Academy Award for another film made with Aardman called Creature Comforts.
"It has been amazing and humbling to be here tonight especially when competing against such highly esteemed talent at Disney and Fox studios. It is such an honour to be walking in the footsteps of one of my heroes Nick Park. I’m proud to be part of stop motion animation’s incredible 115 year old cinema history and to be an NFTS graduate.”
During the race, the film enjoyed massive public support from fans on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube where it gained 310,000 hits in just one week.
HOH producer Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, aged 26, from Co. Kerry received incredible support from friends, family and the media in Ireland said: “I’d like to thank the whole team who worked on this film and also the public for the tremendous support we’ve received both here, in the UK and especially in Ireland. It has been an incredible life-changing experience.”
The stop-frame animated film came from a position as underdog, made as a graduation project for only £7,000 - and the only student film nominated in the Oscars - just behind the winner, Disney's 'Paperman'.
NFTS Director Nik Powell said the students had made the School proud: "Commiserations...but not winning does not change the fact that you made an extraordinary film that challenged the big boys! We’re all proud of you both and your team!
“It just gives us the confidence as a school to continue on the track we are on and I would hope in the future we will still be making films worthy of consideration by the Academy and indeed everyone.”
The film previously won the MPSE Golden Reel Vernon Field award for Best Sound Editing in a student film and an Annie Award for Best Student Animation.
main picture: Fodhla and Timothy on the red carpet.
group photo:Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly, Nik Powell,Eleonore Cremonese (production designer),Jered Sorkin (composer), Chloe Thomson (cinematographer), James Taylor (editor), Axle Kith Cheeng (sound designer), Lizzie Bull (production manager), Tim Reckart (director)