Ipswich filmmaker 'inspiring' young creatives after Oscar win

Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed with their Oscar trophies at the awards ceremony

Aneil Karia, left, and Riz Ahmed, winners of the award for best live action short for "The Long Goodbye", pose in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles - Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

An Ipswich director who took home an Oscar on Sunday night said winning was an 'odd' feeling as he spoke to reporters alongside co-writer Riz Ahmed. 

Aneil Karia, who was born in Ipswich, co-wrote and directed short film The Long Goodbye, which was named winner in the Best Live Action Short Film category at the 2022 Academy Awards in Los Angeles. 

Speaking backstage after the win, Mr Karia told gathered reporters: "It feels really quite odd, I think I'm still processing it.  

"It's a mad one, it feels good." 

He also spoke about the reaction to the film, which explores the effect of a right-wing march on a south Asian family preparing for a celebration, saying: "It's kind of blown our minds.  

"The way it touched the south Asian community was really moving and then it went on to win these kinds of accolades which is something we never expected and to end up here is insane, to be honest." 

Mr Karia attended the Ipswich School between 1994 and 2001 and went to study journalism at the University of Leeds before pursuing filmmaking. 

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Current headmaster at the Ipswich School Nicholas Weaver said: "It was really exciting to hear the news of a former pupil achieving an Oscar for his powerful and moving work, and it will certainly prove an inspiration for current pupils who are looking for a career in the arts. Well done, Aneil!"

Aneil Karia and other members of RRC youth theatre

Aneil Karia and other members of Red Rose Chain youth theatre - Credit: Red Rose Chain

And Jo Carrick, artistic director at Red Rose Chain, an Ipswich-based theatre company where Mr Karia got his start, said she "couldn't be more proud" of her former student. 

She added: "Aneil started working with us through his growing up, from the age of 10 through his teenage years, and was involved in a number of productions. 

"He's such a lovely guy and amazingly creative, really seeing the value in projects that give voice to marginalised people and challenge the system.

"It's so inspiring to our current young people to see that you can start in Ipswich and really achieve anything you want to if you find your creativity and let it blossom." 

The Academy Award joins other accolades won by the film, including Best British Short at the British Independent Film Awards. 

Mr Karia is the second Suffolk winner in the same category; Mat Kirkby took home the statue in 2015 for The Phone Call.