Andrew Stevenson Wins 2011 Charman Prize

September 2, 2011

where the whales sing DVVFilmmaker Andrew Stevenson was announced as the 2011 Charman Prize Winner this evening [Sept.2], marking the first time a documentary film has been chosen as a winner.

His film – “Where the Whales Sing” – has already won a number of international awards including High Honours at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival held in New Jersey, and a category win at the 2010 BLUE Ocean Film Festival.

Established in 2008 with the opening of the new Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, the Charman Prize is an annual art prize competition for local artists in Bermuda.

Sponsor and patron of the Charman Prize is Mr. John Charman, the CEO and President of Axis Capital Holdings, a local businessman, and an art collector. The intention of the Charman Prize is to exhibit artwork inspired by Bermuda, and to honor and support artists in the creation of their artwork.

Artworks are reviewed by a panel of judges, and the Charman Prize grants awards based on the artwork’s excellence according to the competition’s overall theme and four points of judging criteria. The grand prize winning artist wins $10,000 for an artwork that embodies an outstanding example of the judging criteria.

Masterworks Museum said, “Competing with all 93 entrants, Mr. Stevenson’s film, a documentary entitled “Where the Whales Sing”, explores the wonders of the Bermuda environment and ocean-life.”

“It was chosen for being an outstanding example of the competition’s four judging criteria; Design and Composition – fine use of the principles and elements of design and composition; Use of Material – technical mastery and skill in a chosen medium; Distinctive and Convincing Style – a highly developed quality of creativity and originality; and Source of Inspiration – a clear intent and vision.”

Trailer for ‘Where the Whales Sing’:

“The story behind Andrew’s film is remarkable; three years ago he embarked on what seemed like an interesting and challenging project to film the North Atlantic humpback whales underwater in the middle of their mid-ocean migratory crossings.”

“The humpback whales have since become an overriding passion, and with his daughter Elsa he takes us on their journey of discovery. This award winning film (Best Emerging Underwater Filmmaker – BLUE Ocean Film Festival 2010) is the first time a documentary film has been chosen as a winner in the Charman Prize, and the decision was a unanimous one by the judging panel.”

Betty Krulik states; “This film is an incredible achievement! Not only in its message but more importantly in it’s relevance to Bermuda’s past, present and future. Sensitively presented, beautifully filmed and edited, it is engaging, charming, informative, and gorgeously composed. Like a Visconti film, every frame is like a beautifully balanced and composed painting. ”

Tom Butterfield, Creative Director & Founder says, “This year’s winner embodies the core values of the Charman Prize and is a work of exceptional execution. It will build awareness and enhance the museum experience, and at the same time raise the bar of the visual arts.

There were also four category winners, who were each awarded prizes of $2,500 for artworks that were outstanding examples of each of the four criteria. The artist’s own statement follows below in italics.

Distinctive & Convincing Style: Gavin Smith - ”Bermuda Through the Eyes of the Young Black Male”

“Bermuda is in one of the darkest times in our history and everyone seems clueless as to the cause. This is a piece that illustrates the plight of young black men and gives a glimpse into the helpless situation they are in.”

413 Gavin Smith

Use of Material: David Mitchell - ”Bermuda Cedar Chest on Stand”

“The cedar chest is the quintessential piece of Bermuda furniture and historically made in the latest fashionable style. I see no reason for chests to become trapped in design and perpetually reproduced. Bermuda Cedar Chest on Stand is my response.”

410 David Mitchell

Design & Composition: Graham Foster- ”Return to Rainbow Country”

“The rainbow wheel represents Bermuda’s ‘Wheel of Fortune’, once powering us through happier times, now rusted and seizing up but not beyond repair. Are dark days ahead or can Bermuda forge a path towards a brighter future?”

411 Graham Foster

Source of Inspiration: Jacqueline Alma - ”Janel with Cedar”

“Captured from life over two months, the essence of Janel – this maternal Bermudian – holds the endangered endemic cedar in a nurturing protective pose. Together her grounced feet and the sapling’s roots embody her passion for family and her island”

412 Jacqueline Alma

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Comments (5)

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  1. Proud Bermudian says:

    Congrats Mr. Stevenson! Your documentary is absolutely fantastic, very educational and should be shared throughout the schools here in Bermuda!

    • Thank you! It is wonderful to get this kind of recognition at such a prestigious art award. The DVDs of the film have been distributed to all the schools and I have made many presentations at schools across Bermuda and in the USA.

  2. margaret says:


  3. Onion says:

    Congratulations to all the entrants. Great work.

  4. Congratulations Andrew, truly a great documentary. I can’t wait to do some more Whale Watching next year, I’ll be in touch :o )

    Also congratulations to all the participants.