Nottingham University student Meg Salter wins prestigious award

This term fresher Meg Salter achieved the extraordinary. Her short film titled ‘Absence without Leave’ won the First Light Open Access Award in association with BAFTA. Impact’s Clara Baldock caught up with Meg to congratulate her.

Can you tell me a little bit about the filming process and the ideas behind Absence Without Leave?

When filming ‘Absence Without Leave’, we only had one day, so we (myself and Sara Harrack) stuck to a simple storyline that took roughly six hours to shoot. Our ideas formulated from just one rather unusual line: ‘There’s something beautiful about pigeons. A lot of people look at a pigeon and see the rat of the skies’. We wanted to show a character with a different perception on things, and this led us to question what kind of person would find pigeons beautiful? We then thought about the theme of escape, and what this particular character might want to get away from: ‘when they fly, no one questions what they’re leaving’. Postnatal depression seemed to resonate with this idea; it was a chance to look at teenage pregnancy from a different angle, avoiding cliché.

How does it feel to have won?
Incredible! To be nominated in the first place was such as shock, especially because the award was in association with BAFTA, which was a huge honour! We never dreamed a spur of the moment film would lead to this; it’s so reassuring to know that we are doing has been recognised and appreciated.

Can you describe the awards ceremony?
The awards ceremony was at the Leicester Square Odeon in London, and was absolutely amazing. A huge amount of effort was put into making all the young film makers feel special for being nominated. When they called out AWOL as the winner we were utterly speechless!

Have you got any upcoming plans on the horizon?
Hopefully this will lead to many future opportunities! Last year we set up our own film company called Real Hawk Productions; we wanted to involve kids like us, who are passionate about film but do not necessarily have the opportunity to get involved. We’ve already been asked by our local council to lead a short summer course on film making which is fantastic. Winning this award has really inspired us; I have already written a script for a film about a split personality, which I hope to shoot around Easter time.

Meg’s film can be viewed here

Clara Baldock


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