A film made by Dr Beth Singler, Dr Ewan St John Smith from the University of Cambridge, and Little Dragon Films of Cambridge has made the shortlist for the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s prestigious 2017 Research in Film Awards.
The film called ‘Pain in the Machine’ has been shortlisted for the Best Research Film of the Year.
Hundreds of films were submitted for the Awards this year and the overall winner for each category, who will receive £2,000 towards their filmmaking, will be announced at a special ceremony at 195 Piccadilly in London, home of BAFTA, on the 9 November.
Launched in 2015, the Research in Film Awards celebrate short films, up to 30 minutes long, that have been made about the arts and humanities and their influence on our lives.
There are five categories in total with four of them aimed at the research community and one open to the public.
Filmmaker Beth Singler, said: ‘‘Pain in the Machine was a chance to ask a provocative question about the future of AI and robotics. We have world-class experts really considering whether robots could, or should, feel pain. And this film has also opened up the conversation to a wider audience. We have had 17,000 views of the film on the University’s Youtube channel alongside several public screenings. Being shortlisted for this award recognises the excellent research and effort put in by the whole production team and we are thrilled.”
Mike Collins, Head of Communications at the Arts and Humanities Research Council, said: “The standard of filmmaking in this year’s Research in Film Awards has been exceptionally high and the range of themes covered span the whole breadth of arts and humanities subjects.
“While watching the films I was impressed by the careful attention to detail and rich storytelling that the filmmakers had used to engage their audiences. The quality of the shortlisted films further demonstrates the endless potential of using film as a way to communicate and engage people with academic research. Above all, the shortlist showcases the art of filmmaking as a way of helping us to understand the world that we live in today.”
A team of judges watched the longlisted films in each of the categories to select the shortlist and ultimately the winner. Key criteria included looking at how the filmmakers came up with creative ways of telling stories – either factual or fictional – on camera that capture the importance of arts and humanities research to all of our lives.
Judges for the 2017 Research in Film Awards include Richard Davidson-Houston, Head of All 4, Channel 4 Television, Lindsay Mackie Co-founder of Film Club and Matthew Reisz from Times Higher Education.
The winning films will be shared on the Arts and Humanities Research Council website and YouTube channel. On 9 November you’ll be able to follow the fortunes of the shortlisted films on Twitter via the hashtag #RIFA2017.