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Awards haul for MDX martial arts comedy and thriller

Chopsticks!!, a 'love letter to Hong Kong action genre' wins Learning on Screen, RTS London region and Midwest Action Fest awards, while North Hollywood Cinefest fancies Dessert

Recent BA Film graduates have won a clutch of awards in the UK and internationally for work they made in the last year of their course.

Chopsticks!!, a martial arts action comedy short, won in the Undergraduate category and the special Premier Award at last month's Learning on Screen awards, which celebrate film and media made for education and research. Earlier in the year it also won two London region Royal Television Society Student Awards in the Comedy/Entertainment and Production Design categories.

At the Midwest Action Fest in Logansport, Indiana, lead performer Linda Louise Duan won the Best Actress award, while last autumn the film took Best Short Film and Audience Choice awards at the Fighting Spirit Film Festival at Stratford East Picturehouse.

Chopsticks!! is the work of a MDX alumni director (Aeddan Sussex), director of photography (Roan Lenihan), first assistant director/production manager (Catarina Ribeiro) and choreographer (Jonathan Chang). Aeddan calls it a "love letter to the Hong Kong action genre I saw growing up. Kung Fu Hustle starring Stephen Chow was a big inspiration".

The 22 minute film tells the story of a young woman from a Triad family in 1940s China who is being hunted by her brother, and features five extended fight sequences. Linda Louise Duan is stunt-trained and there was no use of stunt doubles - Jonathan based the choreography on what the cast of 14 were capable of doing.

The film will tour further festivals later in the year.

Dessert, a suspense drama about a young woman who swaps piano-playing for other forms of artistic expression, was also successful. It won Best Thriller Short at the North Hollywood Cinefest in March, where it also received Best Actress and Best Director nominations. Last autumn, it won Best Horror/Thriller/Sci-fi Short Student film at the London Independent Film Awards.

It was nominated alongside Chopsticks!! at the Learning on Screen awards.

The director of Dessert Martim Gomes says the film, about a former pianist's search for artistic self-expression came out of wanting to create something that carried a lot of significance for him and that represents films he likes for his third year project.

The production process "was hard but I prepared a lot", Martim says. While he's a self-confessed perfectionist, he feels "really happy I made people happy in way I was intending to" with the film.

Martim was originally inspired by Middlesex at a Lisbon careers fair aged 16, when he came across a bus advertising the Film course. He loved the course's emphasis on practical skills, the cutting-edge facilities, and the "very modern thinking" encouraging students to attend different classes if they were interested - and most of all, meeting people from so many different cultures.

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