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Posts from the ‘Mike Poltorak’ Category

Kelling Brae wins Best No Budget Feature

April 29, 2012


Our favourite and inspirational teacher of editing, Alan Miller, who teaches dedicated workshops as part of our MA Visual Anthropology programme is also a director and producer. We were really proud to hear that his debut feature, Kelling Brae, won the Best No Budget Feature at the London Independent Film Festival 2012.

In his words:

It all started, as most filmmakers’ influences so often do, in the dark.

I was the textbook blank page and it took Lampwick’s transformation into a donkey (Pinocchio), mankind’s transformation into the Star Child (2001 A Space Odyssey) and my stunned disbelief (the Mothership from Close Encounters) to propel me into a career in film.

I trained as an editor at the BBC in Cardiff, South Wales and took menial jobs on any features I could land being employed on two by Rick McCallum (Star Wars fans, vent elsewhere).

After coming runner up in The Lloyds National Screenwriting Competition in the late 80s, I decamped to London and was astounded at how many producers failed to smash my door down begging me to make their sagging second act work.

Speaking of work, I suddenly realised that rumbling stomachs don’t un-rumble themselves without sustenance so I walked into the first production company I could find and started doing what I’d been trained to do. At Partridge Films I learned how to tell stories, worked on some award winning wildlife films and figured out that working with people with real fire in their bellies was something I grew to love. You don’t get rich making wildlife films.

While editing a BBC Natural World, I got a chance to direct a documentary back at the BBC based on the fans of the greatest TV show ever made™, The Prisoner (1967). Despite the lure of the animal world into which I was immersing myself, I was anxious to break out into drama.

Back at Partridge, I learned to write and was eventually entrusted with directing, writing and producing a four part series on those who work in the Serengeti National Park. I was offered the first Steve Irwin show to direct (I turned it down out of a concern about where the genre was heading – Clue? Celebrity). I started work in Holland editing features. I directed, wrote and cut numerous documentaries for a Dutch company and managed to squeeze out a few screenplays (one of which got a commendation from an American competition).

And then it hit me – just before the HD revolution, damn it. The time was right to make a feature. After an extraordinary number of technical snags, screw-ups and hard drive crashes, it seemed as if its post-production would never bear fruit. One-person film-making is tough particularly if you have to keep working (and teaching) but there were no topical considerations in my little drama about two sisters-in-law fighting over their dead husband/brother. So softly, softly…

With the help of many talented friends, it’s made it out of post-production hell and into a dazzling new spotlight of sorts. So here we are… ‘

Everything Must Go

January 18, 2012


This weekend (20 – 22 Jan) at The Bargehouse (on the South Bank in London) there is an important, exciting event that challenges comfortable narratives that our waste can be contained, cleaned and endlessly recycled through resource recovery, and reclaims waste as a filthy, powerful and potentially dangerous material flow that has to be reckoned with.

Visitors are invited to bring an unwanted item of clothing and to follow its journey as it is sold for reuse and recycling across the world. Invisible global waste economies are brought into public view, as do the people involved and the impact that these businesses have upon their lives.

The show contextualises this research with collaborative projects including Meghna Gupta’s debut film Unravel and photographs by Tim Mitchell, both focussing on the shoddy industry in Panipat, north India. Lizzie Harrison of Remade in Leeds will host workshops on upcycling old clothing and rug-making from scraps, and a piece of textile designer Kate Goldsworthy’s resurfaced shoddy textile will be on display. And Oxfam introduces its innovative ‘Frip Ethique’ social enterprise in Senegal, which sorts unsold clothing from the charity’s UK shops for sale in the local market, creating livelihoods and raising vital funds for its work in West Africa.

On Saturday 21st Jan, ‘Talking Rubbish’ sees researchers, designers, filmmakers, business entrepreneurs and third sector leaders engage with the issues raised and their implications for the way in which we think about our old clothing.

Come along with a garment to donate to our charity shop and discover the hidden journey of the clothes that you recycle.

Funding Opportunity for MA & PhD–Deadline Looming

January 17, 2012


We have a unique opportunity for home and EU students to do a fully funded MA and PhD at our school.

The deadline is looming, so if you are interested please read the further details here and submit your application.

Addressing Homelessness with Porchlight

August 21, 2011


Homelessness is a key social issue  in Canterbury, one that has become more serious as a result of the recession.  Some of our students have either worked or volunteered for local organisations working on the issue. Others have engaged with homelessness in written or video projects. See for example Becca Toop’s project ‘Homeless but not Helpless‘ and Vanessa Maire and  John Ireland’s  project ‘Counting Down‘. We’re happy to announce that we have built a strong relationship with Porchlight, one of the key NGOs working on the issue in Canterbury and Kent. Students on our MA programme in Visual Anthropology now have the opportunity of doing a placement with Porchlight and develop new creative media products of use to the organisation. In turn our students learn about the collaborative process and develop media production skills.

You can read here  the results of research carried out on homeless provision by the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent.

10 Challenges-2011


LtoR: Rose Delamare,Joanna Turner, Mike Poltorak, Roger Just, Max Harrison & Sarah Molisso

Third year undergraduate students have the opportunity to do a Photographic or Video Project in Visual Anthropology in the final Spring Term. For the video project the course begins with students making symbolic cameras that represent their own unique involvement and creativity in their projects. These cameras (see right), remind them of their artistic and creative visions during the trials and challenges of the collaborative process. The resulting videos are screened in the Summer Term to an enthusiastic group of staff, students and visitors. Two prizes are awarded. The first, the Roger Just Visual Anthropology Prize, is awarded by Professor Roger Just, much admired by students for his inspirational teaching. The second prize is voted on by the audience. This year the judges decided that Runners Up prizes were also awarded. Below are the projects, click on the link to see some of the films and learn more of the projects.

Max Harrison     Danny the… (Roger Just Visual Anthropology Prize) Christian Hurley & Joshua Delport      We Are Anthropologists (Audience Prize) Joe  Gallagher      Breaking the First Rule Thomas Clover    Live Anthropological Role Play  (Runner Up-Audience Prize) Michael Ralph     Redheads

Sarah Molisso     The Bubble   (Runner Up Roger Just Visual Anthropology Prize)

Joanna Turner &  Rose Delamare        Young at Heart (Runner Up Roger Just Visual Anthropology Prize) Rosemary Headland & Dulcie Ruttley-Dornan    Naughty Legs Becca Toop      Homeless but Not Helpless (Runner Up-Audience Prize) Julian Warner      Who Arrested Will and Gregg

Ten Shots of Verite (2010)


In anticipation of an alumni event in May 2018, we have added basic information from the 2010 screening.


10 Sho(r)ts of Vérité

A Series of Films made by third year Visual Anthropology students


Location: Marlow Lecture Theatre 1

Time: 2-5.30pm

Date: Thursday 3rd June, 2010




Cheryl Ruck                                                  80% Chance of Becoming a Lesbian


Dhanashree Karandikar                          Someone’s Gotta Do it


Amy Coggins                                               Eau Du Chlorine      (Roger Just Prize for Best Video Project)             


Pip Megan Price                      Lazy Anthropology






Madeleine Gray & Sarah Colls                                Busking: A Theatre Without Entrance


John Ireland  & Vanessa Maire                              Counting Down  (Roger Just Prize for Best Video Project)


Anna Robinson                                                             Tina






Katie Clayton                                                                 Touch, But Don’t Look


Christopher Platt                                        One Man and His Boy


Ramone Fowler                                                           The Addict Within


Laura Bradshaw & Hannah Cooledge                                    Morris: “The Most Fun you can have standing up”





5.20pm                     Award of the Roger Just Prize for best Video Project