Flightless Birdie Penguin Cartoon A Winner

A GROUP of students from Enfield who created a cartoon about a frustrated penguin have been crowned winners of a national animation competition. 

Melda Mahmutoglu, 18, Michael Elesheku, 18, Victoria Ardamatskaja, 18, and Dominic Esprit, 17, have been tipped for success after their one-minute film Flightless Birdie was given top honours by the judges in the Animated Exeter’s Young Ones under-18s animation award. 

The four friends, all of whom study at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, entered the competition, which is run by the Animated Exeter Festival, under the name Team Awesome. 

The Exeter event is the biggest public animation festival in the UK and attracts leading names from the industry, including Double Negative, who worked on the latest James Bond film Skyfall. 

Melda said: “Winning a national competition felt like it was my birthday. I was really happy and it felt very special. 

“When we found out that we had won, we told everyone we knew. We were so thrilled.” 

Dominic added: “We put so much of ourselves into the film. For two months, we didn’t see friends and we didn’t go out. We just animated. The film became us and we became the film. 

“That’s why we got chosen, I think. There was so much detail and crafting in the film from all the work we did. 

“This win is great for our CVs and will really set us apart from other students when we’re looking for work or applying to university.” 

Their tutor Matthew Phelan added: “Winning the competition shows just how professional the students’ work is at the college and it sets us apart from the other colleges which offer animation.” 

The film, which has an underlying message about accepting who you are, was screened at the festival during the February half-term. 

All the students involved in the film are studying animation BTEC Level C at the college, which has its campuses in Hertford Road, Enfield, and in High Road, Tottenham. 

Jane O’Neill, vice principal for curriculum and learner experience at the college, said: “We’re very proud of our animation students. They are extremely talented and when talent is combined with hard work, these are the kind of results you get.”

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