Middlesex University wins at RTS London Student TV Awards

Students from Middlesex University clinched top honours at the prestigious Royal Television Society (RTS) London Student Television Awards in Richmond.

Ben Bogdan-Hodgson and Alina Ilin, founders of the Richmond-based studio ASB Showreels, secured the coveted Entertainment and Comedy Drama Award for their whimsical creation The Other Half. 

The film spins a charming tale set in a peculiar town where every inhabitant, regardless of gender, proudly sports a dashing moustache.

Ben and Alina revealed that the concept for The Other Half was born out of a playful challenge to create a film featuring a moustachioed protagonist, a requirement for entry into a particular US film festival. 

However, beneath the lighthearted premise lies a deeper intention—to shed light on issues of diversity and inclusion. 

The plot revolves around Ash who reluctantly conforms to the town’s facial hair tradition, but must confront his own identity to rescue Nadia from the community’s adversity.

The production journey took Ben and Alina to Sighisoara, Romania, where the picturesque backdrop of colorful historic buildings provided the perfect setting at a fraction of the cost compared to the UK. 

However, filming abroad presented its own set of challenges.

Despite facing scepticism about raising funds for a student project, the duo persevered, rallying support and exceeding expectations.

While Ben focused on fundraising, Alina meticulously orchestrated every detail as the director. 

Managing a cast and crew in a foreign land where language barriers and unpredictable weather posed constant challenges, Alina’s dedication ensured the film’s success. 

From directing extras to creating the illusion of a bygone era without modern vehicles, her attention to detail was paramount.

Their efforts garnered support from unexpected quarters, including the Mayor of Sighisoara, who granted them access to film in the Town Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

With local police assistance, the production unfolded seamlessly, breathing life into their creative vision.

The Other Half has not only received accolades but also earned a nomination for a Learning on Screen award. 

Set to be showcased at the Curzon Soho cinema, Ben and Alina aspire to expand their creation into a TV series or miniseries. 

Together with a fellow Middlesex University student, they run a production company, specializing in showreels for both child and adult actors.

Their victory was part of a double triumph for Middlesex University, as fellow graduate Sanaa Hamdoun clinched the Factual – Short Form category with her poignant documentary, The Turning Point.

The film chronicles the journey of a young Lebanese woman striving to fulfil her dream of becoming a cinematographer.

Dr. Helen Bendon, Interim Head of the School of Film and Associate Professor of Film and Media at Middlesex University, expressed immense pride in the students’ achievements, highlighting their exceptional storytelling skills and professionalism.

Paul Kerr, Senior Lecturer in Television Production at Middlesex University, echoed the sentiment, underscoring the graduates’ potential to excel in the film and TV industry.

The RTS Student Television Awards serve as a beacon for emerging talent, nurturing and recognizing the creativity and ingenuity of students across the UK. 

As the national awards ceremony approaches in June, the triumph of Ben, Alina, and Sanaa stands as a testament to the power of storytelling and the boundless potential of aspiring filmmakers.


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