Henley Celebrates Young Creatives With Youth Festival Art, Film & Writing Awards

Henley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition AwardsHenley Youth Festival 2019 Art Film Writing Competition Awards

The artists, writers and filmmakers of the future were celebrated this weekend at the Henley Youth Festival award ceremonies. Hundreds of children took part in the 2019 Art, Film and Writing Competitions, each submitting a unique and imaginative interpretation of the ‘Dreams’ theme. The remarkable creativity that each entrant showed was a testament to the talented children we have here in Henley.

The weekend of awards kicked off with Saturday’s Writing Competition prize-giving at the Bell Bookshop. The awards, sponsored by the Bell Bookshop, were presented and judged by local author, Amanda Jennings. Despite having judged the competition for seven years, she was once again blown away by the quality of the entries. “The standard is always really high,” Amanda reflected. “There are always those stories that jump out and you and for some reason they chime quite strongly. It can be as simple as an amazing idea, a really cool twist, or some good use of vocabulary.” Speaking to the six runners up and winners – Bridget, Jack, Connor, Verity, Lottie and Ellen – Amanda said, “All six of you used your imagination. Every single story was unique and I feel very proud to have grown up in this town and see all your very talented children doing your best.”

Writing Competition organiser, Sarah Bell, was equally impressed with the entries. “Every year I am always taken aback by the quality of writing, actually, plus the creativity and the imagination. It’s extraordinary. We’ve got a lot of talent in Henley. I’m sure it’s the same everywhere but it just seems to be an extraordinary oasis of young talent.” She went on to thank the people involved in making the competition happen. “It’s so lovely having Amanda, we are so lucky. And the Bell Bookshop, Hilary and Emma, are so behind us with this. They’re so supportive and so generous with their prizes. It’s great, it’s perfect actually, as a venue for a writing competition. I think it’s very inspiring for the winners to come here and look around at the titles and think, that could be me.”

For this weekend only, the River & Rowing Museum was transformed into a HYF art gallery, displaying all of the work entered into the Art Competition. The tough job of judging the contest went to Camilla Shelley, who teaches art workshops at the museum after helping to set up its Education Centre 20 years ago. At Sunday’s prize-giving, she stated, “When I was judging the work, I felt privileged to see all that creativity, all that drive to make and paint and create and draw, and what a terrific theme it was this year. It’s always difficult to choose winners in art, as I don’t believe there are any losers when it comes to art. I think we can all agree that the wonderful exhibition showing all of the children’s work is a huge encouragement and celebration.” Camilla expressed her hope that the competition will continue to grow, and that one day the HYF exhibition might take over the entire museum. Before handing out the prizes, she enthused, “I urge parents, relatives and carers to keep taking your children to see art, the real thing, in our wonderful art galleries and museums, and also to keep encouraging children to express themselves and take risks and find their adventures in art.”

The Film Competition awards ceremony also took place at the River & Rowing Museum on Sunday, once again judged by esteemed local filmmaker, Jo Southwell. Using the prize-giving as an opportunity to give valuable feedback to aspiring directors, she said, “Film is a visual storybook. You want to tell people something using visual images that you see in front of you. A lot of you had really great ideas, but maybe they didn’t have the very basic beginning, middle, and end, and that’s what you really need to think about every time you’re making your film. How do you want the audience to feel when they watch your film? That’s for next year, a little point to make.” Jo also encouraging the children to consider teamwork and use each others strengths in filmmaking. She said, “Anybody who knows about filmmaking knows that the best time you make a film is when you’ve got a director, a writer, a producer, an editor — you have all these different brilliant people who all bring their own ideas to your story. For future, anyone who’s used to working on their own, it would really be good to collaborate with someone next year and see what you can come up with.”

Congratulations to every winner, every runner up, and every child for taking part in this year’s Henley Youth Festival Competitions. We can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2020! The full lineup of winners is listed below.

Writing Competition Winners

Infants (Years 1 – 3)

Winner – Bridget Ashby, for ‘A Dog’s Dream’
Highly Commended – Jack Ingram, for ‘The Night Cloud’

Juniors (Years 4 – 5)

Winner – Connor Jensen, for ‘Dreams vs Reality’
Highly Commended – Verity Dobson, for ‘Dreams’

Seniors (Years 6 – 13)

Winner – Lottie Bradley, for ‘Hero’
Highly Commended – Ellen Roberts, for ‘Dream it… Speak it…’

Art Competition Winners

2D Art

Infant (Age 4 – 6)

1st – Joshua Drummond
2nd – Melia Drummond
3rd – Sebastian Sheldon

Highly Commended – Milly N

Age 7 – 8

1st – Orla Hughes
2nd – Romilly Dobson
3rd – Scarlett Hillier

Highly Commended – Armin Majoros

Age 9 – 11

1st – Jessie (Trinity School)
2nd – Dolly Gadson
3rd – Zara Barnett

Pairs Age 9 – 11

1st – Alysia Cowling Rees & Pauline Sabat
2nd – Lola Dyer & Isobel Knight
3rd – Madeleine Smith & Eleni Chatterjee

Highly Commended – Jan Karpowize & Husnain Malik

Secondary School 

1st – Sadie Brown
2nd – Maisy Hillier
3rd – Lily Skaanild

3D Art

Infant (Age 4 – 6)

1st – Agatha Cowling Rees
2nd – Alice Vernon
3rd – Charlotte Vernon

Age 7 – 8

1st – Freddy Burton
2nd – Wilfred Singer

Age 9 – 11

1st – Alysia Cowling-Rees
2nd – Clara Coetsee
3rd – Gracie Nash

Highly Commended – Lily McKechnie & Annabele Buff

Collaborative

Joint 1st – Sonning Common Primary School Art Club & Nettlebed Community School Art Club

Film Competition Winners

Juniors (Age 7 – 11)

Best Story – William Tavinor, for ‘Dreamzzzzzz’

Best Short – Joshua Bentley, Rowan Richens, Henry Allingham, Adam Herbert and Alexand Reichoury, for ‘Darth Vader’s Very Bad Day’

Senior (Age 12 – 18)

Best Drama – Ella Wood, for ‘Operation: Pied Piper’

Best Documentary – Freddie Fox-Wilson, for ‘The Tree Barn’

Best Short – Connor Botha, Kirsten Botha, Archie Wood and Harry Wood, for ‘D.R.E.A.M’

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