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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK
Top director supports film school
Ken Russell
Ken Russell will spend a few days at a time at the school
Film director Ken Russell has become a mentor of student filmmakers in south Wales after becoming the visiting professor at Newport's International Film School Wales.

The flamboyant director is expected to make several trips a year to the university to coach students.

His first job in his new role was presenting the film school's annual Finest Films award ceremony.

He said he was excited by the prospect of working with the students and praised their talent.

Mr Russell, 76, is best known as one of the most experimental and controversial of British filmmakers, mixing the lavish and avant garde with box office hits such as Women In Love, The Music Lovers and Tommy.

He said: "I was impressed by what I saw today - genuinely impressed.

I hope they can learn things from me and I can learn things from them
Ken Russell

"They have got the imagination and the ideas to create flamboyant and innovative films.

"The films didn't look like amateur films either, they really were very good," he said.

He was keen to work with the students as part of his role as visiting professor.

Evangelos Misopapas and Alex Hookway
Filmmakers Evangelos Misopapas and Alex Hookway
"I became involved because I know the head of the film school Humphry Trevelyan," he explained.

"He asked me to do it and I said yes.

"I was very happy to be asked, to be involved in fact, and I am looking forward to working with the students.

"I hope they can learn things from me and I can learn things from them. I am sure it will be a great way to exchange ideas," he added.

Mr Russell met some of the students at the film school's annual showcase of movies produced on Wednesday in Cardiff.

The school expects him to make a few trips a year to work with students.

A "thrilled" Mr Trevelyan said: "It will be a great experience for the students and we hope that he will be able to come down a few times a year to hold workshops.

"Having someone like him will really encourage the students and will be so beneficial to their studying.

"It will give them the confidence to produce great work," he said.

Ken Russell at the award ceremony
Ken Russell still produces his own films at home in Hampshire

The students agreed that having the director, who helped launch the film careers of Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson, would be beneficial to their studies.

Evangelos Misopapas, Alex Hookway and Lukas Eriksson won won awards for best direction and cinematography for their film Dystopia.

Evangelos said it was an honour to meet him.

"Getting the award was a really nice surprise and something I just wasn't expecting at all," he said.

"And having it presented to me by Ken Russell was a once in a lifetime thing.

"He is very important figure in filmmaking, not just in Britain but in European cinema," he added.

Ken Russell honoured in Istanbul
26 Apr 04  |  Entertainment


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