This year’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, held on February 18, had a special surprise for native daughter, film producer Low Ser En, as she won the award for Best British Short Animation for her stop-motion short film, “Poles Apart.”
The short, which runs for 12 minutes, is about the effects of climate change on the habitats of a grizzly bear and polar bear, and is the graduation project for one of Britain’s National Film and Television School’s (NFTS) groups of students, a diverse team from different countries. “Poles Apart” beat two other short films to take home the prize.
The award is indeed a prestigious one, since the BAFTAs are acknowledged to be the UK’s equivalent to Hollywood’s Oscar awards, and are given to those who shine in the television in film industry.
Ms. Low, who came back to Singapore after the awarding on Sunday night, said that the whole group was surprised at the win. “We were very surprised and very happy about it. It was quite a huge moment for us, it came after a year of festival runs.”
Paloma Baeza, “Poles Apart’s” director, accepted the BAFTA award with Ms. Low, who had also worked on the film’s creative side. She had a hand in script development and editing as well as the film’s budget and production schedule.
Actors Joseph May and Helena Bonham-Carter provided the voices for the bears in the film, which took one year and three months to finish. “Poles Apart” was shown locally in two film festivals in 2017, and won an Annie Award for Best Student Film and Best British Animation at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, aside from the BAFTA award. The group intends to make the film available online via Vimeo, as it’s not available in the country at the moment.
Ms. Low said that the team was inspired to write the film’s storyline by an article about grizzly bears having to change habitats to the north, and polar bears to the south, due to climate change. She said, “It’s a climate refugee story. In a way, it’s related to Singapore because with global warming, our weather is becoming more and more unpredictable.”
Ms. Low, who is currently with mm2 Entertainment, graduated with a Master of Arts degree in producing from the NFTS in February of 2017. She was able to study in the UK through a scholarship from mm2 and the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore.
Her current project just finished production and is a local movie entitled “Zombiepura”. Featuring Benjamin Heng and Alaric Tay, this zombie apocalyptic live-action film is set in a Singaporean army camp, and is scheduled to come out later this year.