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BA Practical Filmmaking student wins People’s Choice Award at Ealing Film Festival

By Danny Kelly

22 January 2021

From our iconic home of Ealing Studios to the Classic Cinema Club to a forthcoming eight-screen Picturehouse cinema due to open later this year: Ealing has long been an exciting hub for film fans. It’s only fitting then, that last year saw the launch of the London borough’s very first Ealing Film Festival. Presented virtually on New Year’s Eve by Mel Giedroyc, the Festival handed out 14 awards to filmmaking talent from across the globe, but the People’s Choice Award stayed local, going to our very own BA Practical Filmmaking student, Luca Pappalardo, for his third short film, I Wait For The Dawn.

3000 votes were cast for the award, with judge Rebecca Harris of Academy Award-winning production company, Slick Films, giving it a special mention for its “fine cinematography”. Despite being 19-years old and only a few months into the course, Luca is already seeing much recognition for his work.  I Wait For The Dawn is currently reaching further audiences on the international festival circuit, where it has also won Best Student Film at World Distribution Award, been accepted for London’s Lift-Off Sessions, and was a finalist for Best Director at the New York-based Aphrodite Film Awards.

We caught up with Luca to find out more about the short and his journey into the film industry…


I Wait for the Dawn tells the story of a young man who is resented by his friends and family for leaving his home town in Sicily, to make a better life for himself abroad. When the protagonist loses his passport just before he’s due to leave, he suspects the passport has been stolen, leading to a series of bitter exchanges with those who are closest to him.  Speaking about the film, Luca said: “I have been watching Hitchcock and Fellini films while in lockdown, and I was inspired by their use of light and shadow, so I decided to experiment with this film, that’s why I shot it in black and white. There was no budget; all of the actors are part of EXEDRA Arts – a charity that supports young people in the arts.” 

Love of cinema

“I have always loved films, ever since I was a little kid. I still adore animated movies; Pixar and Studio Ghibli. I love the ritual of getting ready to go to the cinema and watching a story unfold on the big screen with others, strangers  and being part of the whole experience.  “When I got older, I became interested in live-action films, but I can’t say there is one stand-out film that made me want to make films. There are so many different sorts of films – it’s difficult to know where to start. My ambition is to be a writer/director so, I guess I’m really drawn to the films of Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and his daughter Sofia Coppola. 

Launching a career

Luca joined our two-year BA Practical Filmmaking in October 2020 and chose MetFilm School because it offers a practical degree, based at a working film studio, which gives him access to industry-level equipment and a sound stage. And, (pandemic notwithstanding), only three hours from his family in Sicily. Although Coronavirus has done its best to disrupt his studies, Luca is enjoying the course, glad to be learning and is still able to engage with other students and tutors (albeit by video). Most importantly, he’s still able to make films under the government guidelines. 

Speaking about the effects of the situation, Luca said: “Of course coronavirus is a barrier, and studying and working is not the same, but it’s still good. MetFilm School has worked hard to keep the spirit and make us feel part of the School. Through Teams and Zoom we are still able to see each other to discuss and debate”. Looking ahead, Luca added: “I want to work in the film industry, so I will be looking for an entry-level job when I graduate. Eventually, I want to be a writer/director and work on my own feature films, and I’d love to make some animated movies one day. But, for now, I’m going to learn all I can; work, network and make as many connections in the industry as possible.” 

Interested in launching a career in the screen industries? Find out more about our BA Practical Filmmaking.