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Sunderland students win award for hitch-hiking documentary

Steven Hindes and Neil Dempsey won an RTS award for their documentary, Confido. L-R Pam Royle, Neil Dempsey, Steven Hinde and Sir Bob Murray

Steven Hindes and Neil Dempsey won an RTS award for their documentary, Confido. L-R Pam Royle, Neil Dempsey, Steven Hinde and Sir Bob Murray

TWO students have scooped a top TV award for their hitch-hiking documentary about mistrust in Britain.

Confido shows University of Sunderland students Steven Hindes, 24, and Neil Dempsey, 21, hitching lifts in strangers’ cars from Sunderland to Woking in a bid to deliver a birthday card to Steven’s brother.

The documentary, which was part of the pair’s final year project, won the prize at the Royal Television Society Awards in London for the best undergraduate factual video.

Steven said that the experience of winning the award was overwhelming.

“Winning an award for something we thought up made us realise how hard we worked and rewards we could achieve,” he said.

Confido’s success has now led to discussions with Channel 4 and a major production company about getting the final-year students’ documentary onto mainstream television.

Steven said: “Making the documentary was the best thing ever by far.

“The university were quite protective and didn’t really want us to do it, but we thought we are just going to go out and do it.”

Steven said he drew several conclusions from the experience of making Confido.

“Everyone is brain-washed,” he said.

“In a sense a lot of people are too scared to do their own thing. People would rather get on with their lives than challenge anything. As long as the media and Government keep you locked in this safe hole, you’re not going to get out.

“You’re told that you’re only going to do well if you do what they say.”

The pair’s award is the first time Sunderland University has won the factual category at a national level.

This success comes after the film scooped a prize at the regional RTS awards earlier this year, where judges described their work as “outstanding”.

Steven is now working as a junior researcher at a production company in London and hopes to maintain a working relationship with Neil and make more documentaries highlighting the issue of mistrust in modern Britain.

Neil, who is due to start a new job as an assistant in the factual department at ITV, said: “We really enjoyed making the documentary and would like to carry on exploring the idea of mistrust – something that’s going to make a difference.

“Winning the award was a bit of a surprise really. I think the main reason is that it’s quite a risky idea but winning was really great.”

Sue Thompson, senior lecturer in television and video production at Sunderland University, said: “Steve and Neil worked so hard and their success is a testament to a great idea brought to life.”

Twitter: @sunechohannah

 

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