Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010
Animating lives of child miners for movie awards

Mary and the Miners - footage courtesy of

A group of nine and ten year olds from Monmouthshire have been nominated for a prestigious film award.

Mary and the Miners was created by pupils at Cantref Primary School, Abergavenny, with support from professional film makers.

Based on the experiences of 19th Century child miners, the film has been shortlisted for Best Animation in the 2010 First Light movie awards.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on 2 March.

Animating a model for Mary and the Miners
Children were helped in animation techniques by professional film makers

The short film set in 1841 focuses on ten-year-old Mary Watkins who works in a coal mine.

As her daily life unfolds the film introduces to her friend and three brothers who work in the mine alongside her father.

The animation is based on the real life testimonies of child miners in the 19th Century.

The film was created by forty six children, some of whom have behavioural problems.

Flycatcher Films carried out a great deal of the pre-production work, encouraging the children to think about the different elements needed in animation.

Six of the children created a song for the project.

Eleanor Newsam, one of the youngsters involved, said she was amazed by the film.

Underground scene from Mary and the Miners
The short film is based on the lives of child miners in the 19th Century

"I had great fun making it, especially using the sand on glass which is the background to the film. I was really pleased with the sound effects and the music."

Another pupil, Noah Stuckey added: "None of had ever experienced anything like this before.

"It was interesting seeing how the film evolved from us making the clay characters and recording our voices."

As part of the Best Animation category, the group will be judged by producer/director Rob Minkoff (Stuart Little, The Lion King), production designer Terry Ackland-Snow (Batman, Superman) and director John Landis (Honey I Shrunk The Kids).

The First Light awards ceremony hosted by Dick and Dom will take place at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on Tuesday 2 March.

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