TWO creative film-makers won praise in a prestigious film festival with their first ever creation.
Hartlepool man Andy Craggs, 25, and his girlfriend Georgina Dunn, 24, scooped third prize in the renowned Annecy International Film Festival, in France.
The couple decided to enter the competition after they noticed the festival, which took entries from all over the world, had created a new You Tube category.
Despite having no real experience of making animation films, the couple immediately got to work on their own quirky creation called Hmm.
They uploaded their short film on to the site. But due to the fierce competition of 93 other talented film-makers from throughout the world, did not expect to achieve a great deal.
But Andy and Georgina, who lives in Leeds, were thrilled to receive an email saying they had made it into the top five after a public vote.
Their work then went in front of an impressive cast of judges including a Walt Disney representative and a member from a popular French rock band who gave their film third place.
They were only pipped to first place by the winning Australian entry and a French-made film.
Andy, who grew up in the Dyke House area of Hartlepool and studied at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, before moving to Leeds when he started university, said he and Georgina never expected to fare so well when they entered the contest.
He said: “Georgina is a very talented graphic designer and she heard about this competition.
“The theme was Animation – Love of Freedom and we had quite a good idea of putting as many different still images of animation together.
“We weren’t too confident really, but we uploaded it and told all of our friends it would be nice if they voted.
“Next thing we know we had made it into the top five, it was fantastic.”
The 90-second film features actor James Morgan, a work colleague of Andy’s at Feature Media, which is a Leeds video production company.
Once filmed, Andy and Georgina got to work on putting together the impressive animation element of the film.
And it is something they could be doing a lot more of after they were awarded some new computer software in recognition of their third place finish.
“It’s a great experience, especially for Georgina who has just graduated from Leeds Met University,” added Andy, who regularly visits his mum and dad Carole, 50 and Alan, 64, who live in Studland Drive, in Hartlepool.
“Georgina is going to be looking for a job now so this is great for her.
“And the main thing is it was such good fun, the new You Tube category gives people the chance to make their own films and it worked out pretty well for us.”
To view the video, select the link at the bottom of this story.