Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 09.53.30A student production that began life in the North East has been named in the world’s top three at a prestigious awards event held in Las Vegas.

403 Forbidden, a web series produced by eight Digital Media undergraduates at the University of Sunderland, clinched the Bronze World Medal in the 2016 New York Festivals International TV and Film Awards.

The awards are a celebration of film from 50 countries across the globe, and are held alongside The National Association of Broadcaster’s trade show, the biggest of its kind in the world, where 403 Forbidden was screened.

This latest accolade follows up success in the 2015 Webby Awards, and a nomination in the Royal Television Society awards, as well as selection for several international film festivals, for the students.

Connor Langley, 403 Forbidden Writer and Director, said: “It felt amazing when I found out we had won the award. They informed us a few weeks prior to the ceremony that we had won but we had to keep it confidential – it was a hard secret to keep!

“403 Forbidden took a lot of hard work to produce and the entire team was very happy with the end result, and the University were very impressed. When you get industry recognition like this it makes you exceptionally proud. It’s a great motivator to create more content.”

Sue Perryman, Senior Lecturer in Media Production at the University of Sunderland, said: We are so proud of what the 403 Forbidden team have achieved. Not only have they received national recognition but international accolades as well.

“All of the attention shows that the breath of multiplatform skills they developed during their time with us are relevant, and enable students to move into their careers with confidence.”

Connor added: “I think this is a good indicator of the talent and creativity of film makers in the North East, which is often overlooked and under represented. It’s amazing that we have achieved so much and been able to put ourselves, and Sunderland, onto the world stage.

“The University helped me achieve my first steps into the film and television industry by supporting my, and two colleagues, internships at Shine North – based in Media City. They recognised the skill and creativity in 403 Forbidden and wanted to work with us. This was a brilliant experience and a fantastic stepping stone into the industry where I was able to network and build upon my skills.”