Ashbourne's graduate, Antony Popov has won the Best Short Film at the WJEC EDUQAS Moving Image Awards 2020 for his production of ‘Continuum’.
The Moving Image Awards (MIA) recognise and celebrate the best moving image productions from students undertaking WJEC/Eduqas qualifications in Film and Media across the UK.
In 2018, another Ashbourne student, Charli Eglington, also won the award for Best Short Film and was selected as Overall Winner for her animation drama '8'.
Inspired by Christopher Nolan’s Memento and the idea of memory loss, ‘Continuum’ follows a teenager who has no recollection of the events leading up to his inevitable accident. The MIA judging panel described Antony’s work as well-executed, with an experimental narrative which has the viewer gripped from start to finish. They concluded it was a masterclass in how to build tension.
We had the pleasure to interview Antony following his winning of the MIA award and are so inspired by his genuine passion for filmmaking.
What is the inspiration behind your film?
I shot and directed this project a few weeks after having watched Memento (Nolan, 2001). I remember sitting on a flight and for hours straight, I was using my notebook to create drafts and outlines for a story structured around the idea of memory loss.
Tell us a bit more about the process of creating 'Continuum'? What were the main challenges and the most rewarding aspects?
I actually had a version of Continuum that I shot a week before the film I ended up making, and it went horribly. The locations were poorly scouted and from the get-go, we were short on time. Murphy’s law definitely applied. So I spent the following few days scouting locations for a reshoot and found a few, such as the alley, that I thought fit perfectly. From then onwards, it was about refining the story and structuring a new shot-list. Aside from winning the award for the best short film, I’d have to say that the most rewarding aspects were the fact that all in all, the shoot went relatively smoothly and I was lucky enough to have an actor in training assigned to my film, who I believe delivered a strong performance. Despite this, I’m always looking for different ways to improve creatively and technically, and I’m focusing on applying that to all the projects I continue to work on.
What made you into Film Studies as an A-level subject and film making?
I came into Ashbourne already knowing that filmmaking was the direction I was going to take. Studying A-level Film Studies was one of the main things I was looking out for when applying to colleges in London. I had recently come off a summer course at New York Film Academy in 2018, which was meant to confirm whether I actually want to take that route or not. Turns out I sort of fell in love with it.
How was your overall experience of studying A-levels at Ashbourne? And Film Studies in particular?
The tutors I had for the subjects I took literally made my experience at Ashbourne. People like James Wykes and Dennis Fulcher always made me feel like I genuinely wanted to sit in their lessons and hear what they had to say. They are people who are evidently truly passionate about the subjects they teach, about intellectually enriching young minds when they’re most susceptible to big-scale changes and decision-making. Both of these teachers shaped and moulded my mind and character across my 2 years at Ashbourne. I feel like I truly got lucky with such teachers, those include Alberto, Arabella, Laura, Nora and Benvinda.
In all honesty, Film Studies at Ashbourne was a delight to be a part of. Our class size was small and everyone could just enjoy each other’s company. On a good day, the entire session would end up seeming like a conversation between film enthusiasts, where Dennis or Alberto would analyse an entire film or a particular scene in such thorough detail, squeezing the creative juiciness that would score us higher marks.
Tell us about any other film making or creativity projects you have for the future.
I’m currently on a BA filmmaking programme at London Film Academy. It’s a relatively new course and there’s definitely been some experimentation and uncertainty about the entire idea of being in film school, but LFA has been as resilient as they could have been with the Covid situation and how that impacts a fully practical course.
During the lockdown period in London, I flew to Cyprus, where I got the opportunity to work on a feature film called ‘Ghosts of Monday’ (Cinquemani, 2021) as a production assistant and part-time art assistant & clapper. Thankfully, shortly after my return to London, we returned to in-person learning and have managed to go through an 11-day shooting period, where we shot 11 different films. In the 2nd year of the BA programme, I’m intending on taking a 6-month work placement at a production or distributing company in London. It is also expected that by the time we graduate in 2022, some course-mates and I would have created an indie feature film.
Antony graduated from Ashbourne in summer 2020 with an outstanding A*A*A in Film, English and French. He is pursuing his passion for filmmaking at the prestigious London Film Academy.
Everyone at Ashbourne was immensely proud of Antony's achievement, especially his teachers who have witnessed his growth as a student and as a filmmaker during his 2 years of A levels. Antony's Film teacher, Dennis, said:
"Anton has consistently been amongst the finest film students I have ever taught going back over two decades teaching this subject. His coursework is an exemplary piece of film making. The composition, camera movement, framing, colour grading, editing and sound design combine together to make a compelling and enigmatic narrative, complete with a clever concealed twist in the final 8 seconds. He is a very accomplished filmmaker who fully deserves his place on the shortlist of this prestigious award."
Watch Antony's short film 'Continuum' here:
Follow Antony's Instagram for further updates on his journey as a filmmaker.
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