Department graduate wins festival prize for animation that asks 'Why Build a Sun on Earth?'

Posted on 4 October 2012

A new animated film aimed at UK primary schools has won 1st prize at Durham New Energy Futures Film Festival. 'Why Build a Sun on Earth?' was directed by recent Theatre, Film and Television graduate Nik Morris, who worked with nuclear fusion scientists from York Plasma Institute to develop the images and script. The animation was commissioned to tour UK primary schools in a portable 'Sun Dome' as part of the institute's outreach programme.

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The film demonstrates how we could meet our urgent energy needs by building our own 'mini-Suns' on Earth. This ambitious solution to a potential crisis is the long-term aim of nuclear fusion scientists, whose work is demonstrated in fun and simple terms through a combination of 3D & 2D animation. 

"I'm absolutely thrilled that the film won 1st prize at the festival, which was also its first ever screening to an audience," said director and recent department graduate Nik Morris.

"For me, any story about science is always a human story. We only know these wonderful things because of human curiosity and endeavour. So there's always the potential for emotional connection with even the most complex science.

"This film is designed to empower its audience. Fusion research is on goingand needs new curious minds; it's important that no-one be put off by perceived difficulty. The power of the Sun can be explained simply and elegantly, and the scientists at York Plasma Institute were fantastic in helping me develop images that could communicate the processes involved.

"My hope is that the kids who see the film feel they're part of this story. They shouldn't leave screenings thinking that the opportunity to change and study the world only happens to other people in far-away laboratories.... and neither should grown-ups. The secrets of the universe are there for everyone to discover and take pleasure in."