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BA (Hons) Film and Television student wins inaugural RTS Futures 48 film challenge

Ishavishali holds her RTS award.
  • Written byChloe Murphy
  • Published date06 April 2021
Ishavishali holds her RTS award.
Image credit: Ishavishali Chandrakumar.

In Autumn 2020, the Royal Television Society (RTS) launched its Futures 48 initiative, which invited aspiring filmmakers to create, shoot and edit their own 3-minute short in just 48 hours.

Developed by actor and director Daymon Britton, the competition tasked participants with developing projects under the broad title of Tomorrow. Working safely within the restrictions of Covid-19 guidelines, they were encouraged to consider new and imaginative ways to showcase their innovation and creativity throughout a time of global uncertainty.

The RTS is an educational charity which encourages and celebrates work in television while promoting the art and science of the field. With a history stretching back to 1927, its activities range from awards ceremonies and masterclass sessions to conventions and curated events, alongside a bursary programme which supports up-and-coming creatives to kickstart their careers.

Connecting emerging talent to industry, Futures 48 attracted submissions from a mix of individual filmmakers and teams representing notable organisations such as Ravensbourne University London. Entries were judged by a panel of television experts who then selected Ishavishali Chandrakumar, a BA (Hons) Film and Television student at London College of Communication (LCC), as their 2020 winner.

Ishavishali’s interpretation of the brief is a poignant exploration of selfhood and generational trauma. Created using a mix of film and archival material matched to a contemplative voice-over, it explores the ways in which familial legacies shape, inspire and drive further generations forward into the future.

Before joining LCC, Ishavishali was a student at the UK's leading performing and creative arts school, The BRIT School. She began to consider continuing her studies at UAL after taking part in the Insights programme, which supports young creatives through a range of pre-university advice and resources that help to build their knowledge and their skillsets.

We caught up with Ishavishali to discuss finding creativity in Lockdown, sourcing inspiration from her dreams, and her experiences as an LCC student so far.

Tomorrow | Ishavishali Chandrakumar

How did you become interested in the field of film and television?

I didn't acknowledge it as a child, but I've always loved film and TV. I would take pictures and put them into Windows Movie Maker with random songs and effects because the process excited me. I also discovered a knack for Adobe Photoshop in secondary school, where a combination of newfound talent and the need to escape from academic stress led me to The BRIT School.

Tell us a little bit about the Insights Programme - when did you first get involved, and how did it inspire you study a creative subject at undergraduate-level?

I'm an artist, and even though I'm not fond of exams, I’m still an academic. In Year 13, I realised I wasn't ready to end my student career, so I went to many open evenings - UAL’s sessions were amazing.

When the Insights ambassadors came to The BRIT School, they were so honest and friendly that I felt really curious and wanted to learn more about the University, so I joined the Autumn/Winter workshops.

My tutors were also so friendly and funny; I felt at home in the creative environment that is UAL and fell in love with the atmosphere.

How did you find out about the RTS 48-hour challenge, and why did you decide to get involved?

I'm an RTS Bursary Scholar and a post on their Facebook group caught my eye. When they announced the competition in mid-September, the lockdown had drained my creative battery; I needed to do something artistic, so I thought: ‘Why not?’

What was the inspiration behind your film?

I had a dream in June and thought a higher power was speaking to me, telling me to be more open-minded about the past. By the time October came around, this was laying heavy on my heart. On the day of the Futures 48 launch event, I found old photograph albums from my parents' youth.

All of this led me to making my film.

Tell us a little bit about your creative process.

I spent the night writing the script and scanning matching pictures. The following day, I had another shoot, so on the way back from that, I filmed some of the outdoor shots. That night, I recorded the voice-over, started the edit and worked out how I was going to do the interviews sensitively.

Early next morning, I did the interviews and filmed remaining shots with the help of my sister. The lack of sleep made me sick, so I slept during the day and then woke up later to finish the edit. Finding the right music probably took the most time.

What did you most enjoy about taking part in the Challenge?

The time constraint. Limitation makes you so much more creative.

What have been the highlights of your time as an LCC student so far?

The buzz of energy in the room when a massive project is taking place, like our live teleplays. I love experiencing adrenaline as a collective. I also love the end-of-term screenings as watching the creativity of other students is inspiring.

I think the biggest highlight is the LCC building itself: it's always covered in new art, and the sunset from the Tower Block takes your breath away.

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