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Festival Stories - Case studies of former competition entrants

At the heart of our festival is the aim to develop new talent in the digital arts - to give aspiring digital artists the chance to learn from and get noticed by the people and businesses who are already successful in their field, for the benefit of both.

The festival has been an important stepping stone for a number of young artists who have gone on to start building a career for themselves on the back of the experience and exposure it has given them. Here we tell some of their stories.

For further details on our showcase competition, click here.

Boris and Jack Thompson - Roylance  - Age: 20, from Glastonbury

Twins Boris and Jack entered two short films, ‘Theatre’s Dead’ and ‘RUSH’ into the 2010 competition, which were both shot on the Sony HVR Z7 and got their first ever screenings at the Shepton Digital Arts festival.

Boris tells us: “We were still in College and having just turned 18, having our work shown on a large screen to industry professionals was exciting, inspiring and a fantastic introduction into the film festival community”.

Three years and over 70 professional films later, they now run an independent film production team based in London, Deadbeat Films. They have worked on a diverse range of projects; including music videos, promotional shorts, and international festivals, with strong working relationships with other media companies across the UK. Working with Somerset-based Grace Productions documentary ‘My Brother The Islamist’ is one of the highlights of this years festival for them. 


Thomas Buttery – Age 23, from Bristol

Thomas entered his films into a variety of categories from "visuals to a digital sound-track", "short non-fiction film" and "animation". As a direct result of entering last year (2011) he was invited to Icon Films (Bristol) where he was presented with the opportunity to put forward an application for the ICCI 360 Cinema, part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in Weymouth. 

After a successful application to the ICCI360 organisers he was commissioned to perform a live scored documentary in the 360 degree environment. Having done this he is now in a good position to gain funding towards further projects.


Claire Mitchell – UWE student, Age 22.

Now a 3rd year student at the University of the West of England Claire entered her very first animation for the Shepton Mallet Digital Arts Festival 2010 showcase competition and won first prize.  She was 20 and in her first year at UWE.  

Claire says: “I hadn't previously entered any competitions for my creative work and this gave me a great boost in confidence with my projects for University. I then felt encouraged by winning at Shepton Digi Fest and sent my animation to one of my favorite record labels. I was delighted that in response the label CEO got back to me and asked me to create a promotional music video for his new album."

Claire's animation for Hospital Records was released on ITunes and Claire then went on to switch to an animation course (from graphic design) at UWE, she is now in her third year there.  


Liam Bauckham - Age 27, from Shepton Mallet.

Following his success at the first digi arts festival in Shepton Mallet, Liam gave up his call centre job and began studying film at Newport Film School.  He is now in his third year at Uni and has set up hisown business.  

Liam has returned to the festival each year for workshops and has entered the competition.

Industry professional (editor/director) Colette Hodges, who ran a master class at the festival, gave mentoring advice to Liam which has led to him to make industry contacts and securing his first professional paid work, broadcast on BBC 2 in April, 2011.

Liam says:  “The Shepton Digital Arts Festival has helped me develop my skills via the feedback I have received from those working in the industry. The workshops that the festival organises are brilliant. My  contact with Colette has been really useful, she has given me great advice on how to get started in the industry and what kind of things to expect”.