A Dundee graduate’s silent film about drug deaths has won two international film prizes.
Abertay graduate Carla Begg, from St Andrews, directed film Left Behind, which has gone on to win Best Student Short at the Vancouver-based Bridge Film Festival and Best Silent Short Film at the Istanbul Film Awards.
The Dundee premier of the 21-year-old’s final year project, due to be held in university’s cinema, had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.
The first time director said winning two prizes directly after graduating “feels kind of surreal”.
“I’m still pinching myself. I would never have expected to come straight out of university with this film, which I made as a final year project, and to win awards.”
Carla’s film tells the story of a mother and father as they struggle with their grief after the loss of their son.
The short movie stars actor Seylan Baxter, who has appeared in Dr Who and Outlander, alongside Joe Cassidy, best known for his role in TV gangster drama The Crews.
Carla said the grim subject matter translated well across international borders.
“Even though it’s based in Scotland, the subject of drug deaths is completely transferable.
“Since there are no words in the film, people are able to connect with the story no matter where they are.”
The film made its debut at the 2020 Abertay Digital Graduate Show, held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Carla graduated with a degree in Computer Arts from the Dundee university.
She said lockdown had given her more time to enter the film in international competitions.
“Lockdown gave me time to sit down and consider what my next steps would be. Preparing award entries is time consuming, but time is what I had so I did my best to use it well.
“This is my first time applying to be part of film festivals, so in that sense having time to prepare has been very helpful.
“On the other hand, it would have been nice for people to see the film in a cinema, and that’s something that I’ve not been able to do myself yet.
“The film was supposed to premiere in Abertay’s cinema, but because of the pandemic this couldn’t happen.
“I very much look forward to eventually seeing it on a big screen.”