LSBU graduate’s film triumphs on festival circuit

29 February 2024

A student’s graduation film ‘Wool’, which follows a young farmer’s mental health battles after learning of his dad’s cancer diagnosis, is taking the film festival circuit by storm. 

The story is a personal one for London South Bank University (LSBU) graduate and the film’s writer/director Alfie Gardener. Like the lead character, he struggled to vocalise his emotions when his own father had cancer.

“It was a massive shock to the system,” Alfie said. “I was quite pleased with the project, but I wasn’t expecting the success that it has achieved.”

The film won Best Student Film at Feel the Reel International Film Festival as well as the Audience Award at the same festival.  It also received an Honourable Mention for Best Student film at the New Renaissance Film Festival.

“It is a very personal story to me, but for it to do so well at film festivals is quite surreal,” he said. “Just as I was starting third year, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, and we were always told to write from what we know. In the end, we used his farm in Hertfordshire as the focal location.”

In further honours, the film was also nominated for a Mental Health Award at Greenwich Film Festival, and it has won Best Drama at the Vienna International Film Awards, an IMDb qualifying film festival with over 800 entries. 

“We are incredibly proud that Alfie Gardener’s graduate film Wool is garnering attention and winning awards on the film festival circuit,” said Professor Lucy Brown, Head of LSBU’s Film Division.  “This remarkable film is a poignant exploration of mental health, and not only showcases Alfie's exceptional filmmaking skills but also addresses a pertinent societal issue.”

Alfie is now working as a production assistant and runner while writing another short film and is hoping to apply for the BFI Short Film Fund.