Screen and Film School Brighton Alumna wins CINECITY film festival award

6 December, 2021

A graduate of Screen and Film School was recently announced as the winner of the New Voices category at Brighton’s premier independent film festival, CINECITY.

Each year, CINECITY showcases the best short films from local filmmakers aged 16-25 with its New Voices category, and Screen and Film School Brighton were delighted to see a number of films by current students and graduates shortlisted in 2021. 

The screening event, which took place at local contemporary art gallery, Fabrica, featured a varied mix of film genres from World War II drama to ‘dental horror’. But, it was a short documentary directed by Screen and Film School alumna, Crystal Leaity which was declared this year’s winner by a panel of industry judges.  

Crystal was handed her award by Kate Mapes, Head of Education at Screen and Film School Brighton.

Kate Mapes

Leaity’s film, entitled ‘Motherhood’, provides an intimate glimpse into the daily life of Jane as she goes about her routine as full-time carer for her son Tom, who was born with severe learning difficulties.    

“It is so important to talk about social issues when others don’t have the platform or means to do so.” said Crystal, when asked about her film.  

“I am glad special stories like Jane and Tom’s are being seen and acknowledged by a wider audience. Being able to view ‘Motherhood’ on the big screen in the heart of Brighton with other young filmmakers is the most rewarding experience. – Thank you CINECITY and Screen and Film School.” 

The crew for ‘Motherhood’ also features other Screen and Film School graduates, Ben Hardy (Director of Photography, colourist), Alys Vickery (editor) and Ewan Jones (sound mixer), and was co-produced by Screen and Film School’s filmmaking lecturer, Max Conil.

Motherhood movie poster

Dr Frank Gray, Co-Director of CINECITY, offered valuable feedback for ‘Motherhood’, which was selected as the winner of New Voices 2021 with input from award winning filmmaker and Screen and Film School Brighton student mentor, Anthony Vander, who said: 

“This film is a confident and impressive portrait of a mother and her son at a very particular time in their lives. It possesses very strong compositions, editing and sound design – features that all combine to carefully and sensitively introduce us to their private world and reveal the issues that they face. 

The film is an act of remarkable crystallisation; like all good short films, it synthesises a range of elements into a very satisfying cinematic whole over a few minutes. ‘Motherhood’ also serves as a fine example of how film-makers, when engaging with the world, need to build a genuine rapport with their subjects in order to establish respect, confidence and trust.” 

Screen and Film School are incredibly proud of all the students and graduates whose films were shortlisted for New Voices this year, and are certain that this marks the start of a promising career for Crystal. We look forward to seeing more creative output from her and her fellow collaborators.  



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