Pulse: Catalyst End of Year Party & Awards 2024

Our annual awards ceremony marks the end of our school year. For its sixth edition last month, 73 students were nominated for 14 awards, including Best Actor, Outstanding Collaborator and Best Film, which was selected by an external jury of film industry professionals. This year the awards evolved from the "Catalyst Film Awards", to the "Catties".

In proper Catalyst fashion, we celebrated with a party that reached across schools and programmes, hosted an eye-watering variety of talent and went on well past midnight. Our riverside facilities transformed to accommodate 27 performances, four live radio sets, four installations and 15 film screenings.

The Catties Awards

The awards were hosted by Acting graduate and rising comedy star Merlina Parrot, who brought the house down with her Oscars-style jokes that did not hold back. Aside from sly (and not so sly) digs, Merlina introduced the tutors who announced first nominees, then winners. As well as a beautiful acoustic performance by Electronic Music Production & Performance student Nikolas Wilson, this year’s ceremony evolved to include awards given to students within the School for Music & Sound. The awards also marked a successful completion of the first year of our  new Music & Sound Design for Visual Media programme.

Special recognition goes to the Golden Gorilla and Spirit Award winners, celebrating outstanding creativity and community spirit. The Golden Gorilla is awarded to the artist who has gone above and beyond within their practice. This year, it was awarded to Electronic Music Production & Performance third-year Marius Hay-Smith (along with an award for Outstanding Creative Vision). The Spirit Award went to second-year Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering student Hari Krishna for personifying the Catalyst spirit of collaboration and community. Hari has been a pillar within our community since joining two years ago – a well-deserved win!

External jury selects Best Film

A stellar jury of industry experts, composed of Lillah Halla, Julia de Castro, Kristian Petersen, Juli Széphelyi and Sina Ataeian, judged the Best Film category. Their extensive collective experience in directing, screenwriting, sound and camera work, multidisciplinary arts and curatorial roles brought a broad perspective of the film industry.

“All five films in the competition impressed us with their visual and aesthetic quality. Each one tackled important existential topics, emotions, universal fears, and social issues with great skill and sensitivity.”

– Jury statement, Best Film

Five films, by Film Production students Sonia Kharitoniouk, George Jenkins, Hanna Mirtel Paas, Kaito Sashihara and Calen Dawkins, were nominated for the award. The winner, and recipient of the €1,000 Distribution Prize, was George’s exploration of death, identity and the quest for truth in his film “Goodbye To God”. The film tells the story of an astronaut navigating the cosmos and confronting existential questions while surrounded by celestial beauty.

“All five films in the competition impressed us with their visual and aesthetic quality. Each one tackled important existential topics, emotions, universal fears, and social issues with great skill and sensitivity. However, some films stood out for their willingness to take risks.

One film in particular captured our attention and admiration. We were particularly impressed by the director’s courage in exploring different sources and styles, crafting a hybrid language that, even in its imperfections, shines with a genuine and engaging search for a unique voice.

For its bold risk of mixing genres, styles, and looks, and for the way it forges a compelling stream of consciousness, expanding and reflecting on time and our fictional memories, we are proud to award the prize to “Goodbye to God,” directed by George Jenkins.”

Unforgettable moments at the student-led Pulse: Summer Edition

After the ceremony ended, Pulse: Summer Edition – a mini festival, with multiple stages and installations to explore – kicked off. Although supported by our team, the Pulse party was led by students, earning organisers a more in-depth understanding of events management and giving our students a platform to showcase their projects.

“It was a really cool way to show some of what us music techs do and being able to connect to the students that we work with every day” 
– Toto, Catalyst music technician

The first installation that greeted party-goers at the entrance was by Visual Effects, Digital Arts & Animation second-year Alena Borodina. Her interactive installation encouraged participants to reflect on their actions and their consequences, communicating the idea that constant movement and active engagement are key to shaping one's destiny and achieving freedom. Just down the hall in our Theatre, a packed audience caught an electric performance from fledgling five-piece psychedelic/post-rock band Stereo Hues, who draw inspiration from Jimi Hendrix and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“I am so grateful not only for what I’ve learned at my time at Catalyst but for the people who showed up and shared the love for the music we’ve created.” 
– Delan Fernando, Stereo Hues

An ambient live performance at sunset by Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering second-year Laura Lengua blended dance and visual artwork with music, taking inspiration both from Venezuelan folk music and Berlin’s electronic music scene. Once the party was in full swing, Acting third-year Rhys Williams presented a burlesque/cabaret performance that transitioned into vogue, setting the tone for an unforgettable event.

Live from the Etikett Radio booth

This year saw the return of Etikett Radio, our student-run radio station. Community member and Etikett regular Sébastien Huet opened the booth with his jazzy Wanderlust show, followed by Creative Production (Music) MA student Joshua Mellard whose instalment of Early Evening Etikett w/ Josh Em used an eclectic range of contemporary electronic dance music styles to play with mood and narrative. 

As well as the pre-planned roster of sets, spontaneous back-to-back mixes from other show hosts added an extra layer of excitement. Lucid Lisa brought her record collection for her “Music that shaped us” show, spinning vinyl that got the crowd moving, while Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering third-year Robert Pantzar brought the tempo up with a diverse techno set “Renegade Pulse”.

“Etikett has been such an anchor in being able to channel my creative identity into something that I can share with others” 
Travis or Alice, DJ and regular Etikett host 

A huge thank you to all of our students and community members who took part in the event, and congratulations to all of our talented Award nominees. Thank you to Kaito Sashihara who captured the photos of the night and Dilinna Ike for creating the videos.