BOURNEMOUTH graduates are celebrating today following the Oscar triumph of a sci-fi blockbuster they helped bring to the silver screen.
Around 40 alumni from Bournemouth University's National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) and 10 from Arts University Bournemouth worked on Alfonso Cuaron's space thriller, which scooped seven Oscars at the 86th Academy Awards including achievement in film editing.
The British film won seven Oscars at the 86th star-studded Academy Awards ceremony, hosted by Ellen Degeneres at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre last night.
Adam Redford, who now teaches at the university, worked on the film for six months at the London-based effects house Framestore as a senior texture artist.
“I have worked on a few different films that have had Oscar nominations but haven’t won so this is very significant for me,” he said.
“It was hard work and a lot of long hours. Some of the pieces of set were huge – bigger than anything I have ever worked on,” the former Bournemouth University graduate explained.
The film caused controversy at the Baftas where it was named outstanding British film, but director Alfonso Cuaron has no doubt about its origins - and went out of his way to praise the visual effects experts at Framestore in London.
Speaking backstage at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles after picking up his Oscar for best director, he said: ''It's very obvious the amazing quality and sophistication of the British film industry made this film happen and I am speaking specifically about Framestore and the amazing crew I worked with.
''I have done more films in the UK than any other country in the world, it's the British film industry and the British film culture. The amazing thing is that the British film culture is in as good shape and in the industry right now there is more support and more incentives.''
Much of the film, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, utilises photo-real CGI. Graduates from the universities were recruited to work on this aspect of the movie by renowned visual effects company Framestore.
Speaking before the Oscars, AUB graduate Lars Erik Eriksen described the production as the steepest learning curve he'd ever experienced.
Lars, who worked as a paint and roto artist on Gravity, added: “It was such an amazing opportunity to be working on a Hollywood movie right on the AUB campus.”
BU graduate Sam Salek, who studied for an MA in Digital Effects at the NCCA in 2010, worked as a compositor on the movie.
He said: “When we started working on it, we all felt that we were working on something very special, yet no-one really anticipated the phenomenon it became.”
Bournemouth graduates win big
Graduates and lecturers from BU's National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) were part of the team that worked on the visual effects for the blockbuster.
Gravity picked up the Oscar for Achievement in Visual Effects at an eventful awards ceremony in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
The film picked up a total of seven Oscars on the night, including nods for Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón), Achievement in Cinematography and Achievement in Film Editing.
The movie, which also picked up high-profile awards at this year's BAFTAs, stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, but the majority of the space-themed film was created digitally.
London-based effects house Framestore worked on the special effects for the film - with the help of around 40 alumni from BU's animation and visual effects courses.
Adam Redford, a Senior Practice Fellow in Computer Animation at BU, was a senior texture artist at Framestore. He worked for around six months on the film, helping to paint some of the interior and exterior sets and props seen in the film.
Adam said, “"The NCCA at Bournemouth University has a great reputation for producing graduates that go on to achieve amazing success in the feature film visual effect industry all over the world.
"A lot of the tools, techniques and processes used in the creation of the visual effects for Gravity are being taught in NCCA classrooms every day, this will give our students the necessary education and understanding of visual effects to enable them to achieve great success in the feature film visual effects industry of the future."
Anna Swift, Recruitment & Talent Development Manager at Framestore, said, “We are so thrilled to be celebrating Gravity's success, which is a testament to the commitment and skill of our talented staff, including Bournemouth University graduates”.
It is not the first time that NCCA alumni have had their work recognised with high-profile awards.
More than 50 graduates and former BU academics worked on the Oscar-winning visual effects for Avatar, while MA Visual Effects graduate Andy Lockley won an Oscar in 2011 for his work on the special effects for Inception.
The NCCA's contribution to world-leading excellence and pioneering development in computer animation was even recognised with a Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2012.
Students inspired by success
STUDENTS at Bournemouth University inspired by the success of former graduates who helped bring Gravity to the big screen say they hope to follow in their predecessors’ footsteps.
“It sets the benchmark,” said Ria Introzzre, who is studying for an MA in digital effects.
The 25-year-old, who moved from Italy to study at the university, said seeing the success of former students makes her confident she chose the best place to study to fulfil her ambitions.
“It has a great reputation and you make a lot of industry contacts, which doesn’t happen anywhere else,” she said.
Timothy Stam, who is studying on the same course, added: “I think all of us are inspired by the success of Gravity.
“It shows us what can be done,”