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Film ‘made from sand’ up for a BAFTA

Gritty Realism : Andrea Rogerson-Hewett of UKSE and artist Gerald Conn review his latest work. Picture by Nick Treharne

An animated film created from the medium of sand is hoping to scoop an award at the upcoming Welsh BAFTAs.

Inner Polar Bear, a parable on the dangers of global warming, was created by Cardiff- based artist Gerald Conn and has been nominated in the Best Short Film category at the gala event in October.

Previous BAFTA winner Gerald, whose films have been broadcast on national television and shown at numerous international festivals, is a leading figure in the innovative technique of using sand to create graphic images rather than the more traditional methods of sketched or model-based animation. He embarked on the project during Lockdown when Covid forced him to give up his work teaching film making.

“This was the ideal opportunity to produce a studio based film so I moved into Cardiff Bay Business Centre and set to work on Inner Polar Bear,” he said.

The film, which took 18 months to complete and was funded by the British Film Institute, is based on a short story by novelist Jeanette Winterson and narrated by Maxine Peake.   The tale is a stark warning on the folly of human behaviour endangering the balance of nature and the future of the planet itself. It has already received accolades and awards at festivals around the world including India, Malaysia and the US.

“The story appealed to me because it took the point of view of the polar bear, which I thought was an interesting perspective and worked well in animation. The Pandemic had forced me to stop teaching work so this was perfect for me,” he said.

Gerald has found Cardiff Bay Business Centre to be an excellent home for his business, Gritty Realism Productions, and is benefitting from being part of the community of enterprises based there. “We are collaborating with another of the tenants here, Bullies Out, on a project about bullying online,” he added.

Cardiff Bay Business Centre is owned and run by UKSE, a subsidiary of Tata Steel. The centre provides high quality business accommodation to a range of companies on flexible terms.

Andrea Rogerson-Hewett, Senior Administrator for UKSE said: “We have many tenants in the creative sector and are delighted that Gritty Realism has joined us at CBBC. We wish Gerald every success with Inner Polar Bear and his future projects.”

“It is an excellent place to work with very good facilities and in particular the location makes travel easy,” added Gerald.