News & Press
Uxbridge College A Level student Sanjna Vekaria’s vocal performance was dubbed ‘better than the X Factor final’ after she sang Feeling Good, the Nina Simone track recently made a hit by Michael Buble, in front of a television audience of 10 million on Michael McIntyre’s Big Show.
Sanjna’s appearance as the Unexpected Star on the BBC1 show ran head to head with the X Factor final, prompting a twitterstorm of comparisons.
Sanjna (18), who went through a series of BBC auditions which she was told were for a talent agency before appearing on the show, said: “Social media has gone a bit crazy - lots of people were comparing me with the X Factor final and saying I was better and it felt really good.
“When I woke up the morning after filming the show, I literally had to slap myself in the face because I couldn’t believe it. But when I saw the shoes that I’d worn in the corner of the room, I knew it had been real.”
Sanjna, who is studying History, Psychology and Sociology at College and practises taekwondo in her spare time, found herself face to face with Michael in the guise of a grandmaster, after being asked to teach at a fake training centre set up behind the theatre.
“I was dressed to teach taekwondo and definitely wasn’t expecting to go on television, so 10 million people haven’t just seen me sing, they’ve also seen me without make-up!”
Sanjna, who works part-time in M&S in Pinner and had to miss watching part of the show when it was broadcast due to her shift, was secretly nominated to take part by her mother Chhaya, who was in the audience with around 30 friends and family.
Sanjna, who sings regularly at local events and Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush said: “I realised there was something a bit odd going on in the run up, because the ‘talent agency’ people were so nice and they are never normally nice. There were also things like me being at my uncle’s one Saturday night beforehand and Michael’s show being on television, and my mum painting my nails the night before filming when she hasn’t done that since I was six years old.
“I actually wasn’t nervous at all when it came to performing, anyone who sings has thought about doing it in their dreams, and as I only had an hour to get ready I didn’t have time to get nervous. I didn’t know the song though - I had been asked before if I could sing a list of songs and I’d said yes even though I couldn’t, because I thought I could learn them in time if I needed to. Luckily I had an autocue though.
“Since the show I have been working with a couple of producers and been given more work and I hope I will be able to build a career singing. People have also been noticing me, looking at me a bit odd and asking things like where I went to school - I don’t know if I like it or not!”
Uxbridge College filmmakers trained up by Chocolate Films are among those whose documentary work is being featured in the 1000londoners.com Youth Takeover season. 1000londoners.com features London’s largest documentary web series and each week viewers are able to watch a three-minute film about a new Londoner.
The new unique collection of shorts has been shot, directed and edited by young filmmakers from community events and colleges across the capital, including Uxbridge College. The students on the UAL Level 3 Creative Media Production: Film and Television course at Uxbridge College took part in feedback sessions facilitated by filmmakers from Chocolate Films, resulting in four films selected to be screened on the website.
Students from Uxbridge College produced films about Graphic Design student Natalia, upcoming recording artist Seun, single mother of six Simone, and flight attendant Tom.
David Lashbrook, Media Lecturer at Uxbridge College said: “The project offers students a great opportunity to develop their documentary production skills whilst engaging with members of the local community, and provides an opportunity to be a part of a unique web series which aims to give a digital portrait of London. The films produced were varied and give an interesting insight into the lives of some diverse Londoners. The standard of films produced on this project was excellent and I am really pleased that four films were selected for the web series. The feedback that the College received from Chocolate Films was very positive and we hope to work with them again in the future.”
Chocolate Films, working in partnership with a range of organisations including Heathrow Community Fund, were able to offer a number of students the opportunity to receive documentary filmmaking workshops, access to professional equipment, and work experience at their studios in London.
The project benefited the students by allowing them to gain an insight into the media industry and valuable work experience. As a result they were able to develop their employability skills, and produce two high quality videos which will assist them in future applications for both industry and university.
1000 Londoners Young Ambassadors offers young Londoners aged 15-25 the opportunity to gain more experience in pre production, production, post production, event production and marketing. The Young Ambassadors meet once a month to discuss future production decisions, develop filmmaking skills and produce 1000 Londoners films.
Chocolate Films is a South London based film production company specialising in documentary film production and learning programmes. Set up 15 years ago, by directors Mark Currie and Rachel Wang, Chocolate Films has a team of 17 filmmakers providing full production services to charities, museums, galleries and heritage organisations, as well as cinema documentaries.
Directed by: Marcus Cartwright
Director of Photography: Arjun Rajput
Camera Operator: Kageth Kathirgamalingam
Production Sound Mixer: Shay-Lynn Dudhia
Directed by: Elena Queally
Director of Photography: Thomas O’Regan
Production Sound Mixer: Nathan Semke
Directed by: Dane Powell
Director of Photography: Ryan Baldock
Camera Operator: Ryan Masters
Production Sound Mixer: Laine Ambrose-Mcauliffe
Directed by: Christian Preedy
Director of Photography: Piotr Brzegowy
Camera Operator: Dante Ellington-Grant
Production Sound Mixer: Daniel Baker
The documentaries will be live on the site from the following dates:
Natalia: Monday 11 December
Simone: Monday 18 December
Tom: Monday 1 January
Seun: Monday 8 January.
Students achieving Higher Education qualifications at Uxbridge College have bypassed up to two years of university study to join degree programmes or boosted their prospects in work.
The successful students, who are either continuing on to degrees, to further study, or into jobs, wore traditional gowns and mortar boards to officially graduate in their HNC and HND qualifications. The graduation ceremony was held at Brunel University London.
Laraine Smith OBE, Principal of Uxbridge College, said: “Uxbridge College’s HNC and HND graduates in their traditional gowns and mortar boards are a wonderful sight, and illustrate the point that these qualifications are equivalent to up to two years of undergraduate level study. I’d like to say a huge congratulations to all our graduates this year and wish them all the best in the future, whether they are continuing study at university, taking further qualifications at College, or improving their prospects in the world of work.”
The graduates received their BTEC HNC Level 4 and BTEC HND Level 5 Diplomas from Uxbridge College’s Chair of Governors Nick Davies.
HNCs and HNDS were completed by 113 Uxbridge College students in the following subject areas: Business; Computing - Games Development; Computing Plus; Computing and Systems Development; Creative Computing – Games/Visual Effects; Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Sport (Coaching and Development), and Travel & Tourism Management.
Over 50% of the College’s HND graduates each year go on to top-up degrees at universities around the UK.
* For more information go to https://www.uxbridge.ac.uk/college-information/higher-education.html