On Tuesday 29th March 2022, students and staff of Wilson’s School descended on the John Jenkins (JJ) Hall for the biggest student-led event of the year: the Wilson’s Film Competition awards 2022. With nearly 30 entries across all year groups, with a total of 75 individuals producing the films, this show was significantly larger than in previous years, and it was evident that the judges thoroughly enjoyed reviewing each entry.

The show commenced promptly at 1:15pm in the JJ Hall with incredible dark blue lighting co-ordinated by the stage crew who have worked on other school events, such as the senior production in February 2022. The packed audience was silenced by Ayush Nagara and Varakan Gopu, the hosts of the awards and the owners of the popular Film Club which runs during Wednesday lunchtimes.

Ayush began by thanking all participants for their incredible film entries this year. “It’s been a pleasure to help the competition for a second year running and hosting this event today, without any further restrictions this time, and we are pleased to tell you that it has only grown more since last year”, Ayush commented.

Now it was time for the winners to be announced, starting with the Junior category. After announcing the highly commended entries, the panel of judges came up to reveal the highly-anticipated overall first place winner: a solo entry titled ‘Recursion’, which tells the creative story of an endless loophole from an anomaly in a boy’s back garden. The judges enjoyed this film for its clever and engaging visual effects and its technical proficiency, despite the film running at a duration of just 3 minutes 19 seconds! The Junior winner hurried onto the stage to receive his prize (which consisted of an Amazon gift card and a box of chocolates), and his award-winning film was screened for all to applaud to.

However, it was clear that the Senior category would be a lot more exciting, as a result of more entries in this category than Junior, and the extent to which some filmmakers went to ensure a seamless final product to steal the top spot and win overall. Once again, the judges expressed their sheer amazement at the outstanding quality of each and every film produced, which of course in turn made for some challenging judging. In the end, the top three entries were shortlisted and announced.

In third place, my own team’s entry, titled ‘After Hours’, and while it was fair to say that our film lacked a substantial plot, the camerawork and editing are what brought this film to the podium finish: running at 2 minutes and 40 seconds, the entire project was directed by Vedang Pandit and edited by myself. The second place award went to another solo entry, with the film titled ‘Isolation’, and charts and mental effects of a student who had been sent into quarantine alone after a positive Coronavirus test result - despite its simplicity, it made for an interesting message and is one that will continue to stick in the minds of all who watch it, running for 7 minutes and 47 seconds. While neither of the aforementioned two films were screened live and the awards, the first place film was broadcasted to an awe-struck crowd. The ultimate winners who took home this treasured spot were a team of nine students working on different aspects of the film, and the determination from such a large crew certainly paid off, with their entry lasting 8 minutes and 57 seconds! Furthermore, the budget inputted to this particular project was unprecedented, and filming even went as far as Central London. All the winners of the Senior category were rewarded with tumultuous applause and cheers as they claimed their prizes and certificates.

But the ceremony was not over just yet. The judges and hosts took the opportunity to congratulate all who participated in the film competition; with 30 entries they appreciated that not everyone could win, yet despite this the combined efforts of each person involved should not be discarded, rather they must be celebrated. All attendees - students and staff - were thanked for coming to the show to support their friends, and after the hall had been cleared all winners were asked to stay behind on stage for a photo to commemorate the Film Competition winners of 2022.

After the event had finished, I managed to speak to a winner for an exclusive chat. Vedang Pandit, director of third place film ‘After Hours’ had this to say about the whole experience: "Writing and directing ‘After Hours' was simply one of the most enriching experiences I've had. Filming was extremely fun and I'm looking forward to the next film competition!"

Calling this year’s film competition a small event would definitely be an understatement. It has helped bring together many parts of the school together to work towards achieving the goal of creating a film of their own genre and style: I must say, looking at the multitude of entries, I would not be surprised if many of the entrants would go on to become famous movie directors or actors! It just goes to highlight the impressive talent that our school community possesses and deeply treasures. And the film awards was just one way of sharing the skills that many of us have now kept as a lifelong hobby.