A TEAM of Bradford students have been recognised for their hard work after winning an award at a global film festival.

Ahseem Yousuf submitted their short film Islam in Lockdown to the Lulea International Film Festival in Sweden, where it was named ‘Best Student Film’ last month.

Ahseem, who is from East Bowling, worked on the film as a university project, exploring how the Covid-19 lockdown affected Bradford’s Muslim community.

He was supported by a production team - most of whom are also from the local area - who added that it was “amazing” to have won the award.

“It feels pretty good to be recognised by the industry for your efforts”, said Ahseem, 25.

“I’ve submitted films to festivals in the past, but this is the first time I’ve won, and it’s very nice to have been awarded.

“The British Muslim community had its own unique challenges during lockdown. I was curious as to how the community reacted and how they came together, and that’s what inspired Islam in Lockdown.”

The University of Bradford graduate added that the process was not easy, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“There were many challenges, and the rules kept changing. We had to plan ahead and keep our eye on the guidelines”, he said.

“It was a very difficult time to make a film, so it’s nice to have this as a reward.”

Ahseem, who is of Pakistani descent, said he also wants to use his success as a way to encourage other British Asians to pursue a career in the film industry.

“Maybe it’s self-imposed, as we as a community don’t see art as a viable option. It makes sense, our grandparents came here and saw other jobs as the only options”, he said.

“But there are lots of jobs in film if you look online, people just don’t know about them.

“Asian people should think about it as an option, because it definitely is, and it would be nice to get more of us in there.”

Ahseem, who is Bradford “born and bred”, added: “People have a lot of bad things to say about Bradford, but I love it here.

“I’ve travelled a lot, but Bradford is still one of my favourite cities. I think if one of us does well, we all do well and we should celebrate that.”

Ahseem is currently working on a video game script with his older brother, and is hoping to do more “factual films” in the future.

“I want to do something about Bradford itself, but I don’t want to give too much away yet”, he added.

Jevaughnie Ebanks, the film’s director of photography and sound editor, added that he was “very happy” to have won the award.

“We put in a lot of work, and I don’t think anyone started out thinking we would win, but it’s great that we did”, said Jevaughnie, 25.

“Covid was a big challenge, we had to accommodate for safety and best practice, and some interviews had to be done over Zoom.”

Jevaughine is from the Cayman Islands and moved to Bradford to study, finding a “second home” in the process.

“Coming from the Caribbean to somewhere like this, the cold is usually the biggest noticeable difference!”, he said.

“But I’ve found Bradford to be very welcoming. It felt like I was destined to come here, and I’m really enjoying it.

“Even the local press back home are picking up the news of Islam in Lockdown, and arrangements are being made for it to be shown in the Cayman Islands as well.

“For a student project, I think that’s really commendable.

“It all came down to teamwork, that’s what made the film the product that it is.”

Phoebe Duffett, the film's first assistant director, added that the team is “very proud” of its achievements.

21-year-old Phoebe, who is from Queensbury and now lives in Liversedge, said: “We all enjoyed working on this project, as it is a topic we are all passionate about.

“To know our work is being recognised on that level makes the project even more special to us.

“Half of the team are from Bradford, another is from Yorkshire and two are international students, so we’re proud to show off the talent from our region on an international stage.

“I know many of the team have taken this as inspiration to create more projects and submit to more film festivals, both locally and overseas.”

Editor and camera operator, Talmeez Ahmad, 25, added: "I was really happy when I found out the documentary won an award. The team and I worked really hard on this project.

"It was a great experience and I got a chance to meet interesting people.

"There were limitations and we faced difficulties at times due to Covid, but seeing the final product and the feedback that it received, it was worth it."

Other key players in the production of Islam in Lockdown were students Erik Lasota and Amber Manser.