Graduate from Leeds Beckett University Part of Oscar-Winning ‘1917’ Film Team

Leeds Beckett alumnus, Ayyappadas Vijayakumar, was part of the team that won an Academy Award for visual effects in the war drama 1917

With the Harrogate Film Festival, which is supported by Leeds Beckett University, opening on March 7th, he has recalled his personal path to success. 

Ayyappadas graduated in 2013 with a Masters degree in Digital Video and Special Effects. Speaking of showcasing your own work, he said: “it takes an enormous amount of guts to present your work in front of an audience. The more you showcase, the more criticisms you will get…you can gain an enormous amount of exposure too.”

“Leeds Beckett University played a huge role in making my dream a reality. They had an amazing program of digital video and special effects, combined with a little scholarship that helped me get the most amazing experience in education that I could have hoped to get.” 

Ayyappadas worked as a freelance visual effects and motion graphics artist alongside his University studies. 

The Oscar-winning 1917 film relies on a single shot depiction of the entire narrative which follows two British soldiers who must deliver a message that could save 1,600 of their comrades. 

Ayyappadas recalls that:

“When 1917 hit the screens I nearly broke into tears because that is what happens when the creation you contributed to presents itself in its entire glory before you, and when it could not be more perfect.” 

“All our worries and the pain we endured making it as a team disappeared when our supervisors lifted the Oscars for that movie at the 2020 Oscar Awards.” 

The Harrogate Film Festival- a ten day event in March, allows students from the Northern Film School at Leeds Beckett University- a key educational partner for the event, to exhibit their work. 

It will also include appearances by acclaimed film director Ken Loach and actor Brian Blessed.

Image: Universal