St Albans film-maker wins national awards

IT was one small step for man, one giant leap for St Albans teenager Oliver Madgwick recently when he won two prestigious national film-making awards for his animated Lego version of the first landing on the moon.

Oliver’s film, entitled Gravity, Mass and Weight, beat off tough competition from about 160 entries to win the Planet SciCast Award for Technical and Artistic Achievement and Best Film 2010.

Planet SciCast, supported by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, EngineeringUK and the Institute of Physics, challenges young people to make short films of exciting science experiments.

Technology reporter Marty Jopson of the BBC’s The One Show presented the 18 year old with his two awards at a ceremony at London’s Royal Institution for his film which uses animated Lego to explain the difference between mass and weight in relation to gravity.

Speaking on behalf of Planet SciCast, Jonathan Sanderson commended Oliver’s film for being “outstanding [and] beautifully shot, lit, edited, written, performed, dubbed and the detail is incredible. The film has a nice edge of humour too and all by one person, this is a cracking achievement.”

That humour and detail includes a clumsy Lego R2D2 character tumbling out of the “Eagle” and a Lego footprint left on the moon’s surface.

Oliver, 18, said the hardest part was preparing the sound track as he had to build up layers of sound and “make it fit in with the film.”

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He said: “The actual filming and recording of sound took three days. It was good fun; I just like doing creative things like that.”

Despite being dubbed a “young science aficionado” for his flair for mixing science and film-making, Oliver hopes to study geography at Oxford University.

He submitted the film to Planet SciCast in 2009, while in the Lower Sixth at St Albans School.

You can see Oliver’s animated Lego moon landing at: