The Man of the Hour

Meet Mayuren Naidoo, the Kingston University student breaking boundaries in his career as a filmmaker.

If you had told Mayuren Naidoo about nine years ago that he’d become a skilled budding filmmaker, he probably wouldn’t have believed a word. After all, he was still chasing the comic book writer dream at that time. And yet, here he is, with his brand new short film, Vent, that made its way onto Amazon Prime in November 2018, and half a dozen more projects under his belt. When when you see that he’s achieved all that within four years, all while completing his studies, it’s safe to say he’s a true force to be reckoned with.

Up until now, the filmmaker’s journey has not been a walk in the park; on the contrary, it was full of confusion at the beginning, as he didn’t quite know what he wanted to do (just like any other teenager). Only when he was 16 did he suddenly stumble upon becoming a screenwriter, inspired by many films seen on his weekly visits to the cinema.

“I wrote a lot of screenplays since 2012, and I really wanted those to be made into films, but it was very hard to sell them,” Mayuren says.

 

“I remember sending a script to a big company after meeting one of the producers there. They didn’t like it, which was quite disappointing, but it was that rejection that made me realise I could just make all the films myself,” he adds.

And so he did. Inspired by a real life experience of finding a wallet while Christmas shopping, he made his first short film, Dirty Money, in 2014, with the help of his friends, a professional camera and his talent.

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Behind the scenes shot of Mayuren working on set for one of his films (copyright: Mayuren Naidoo)

“I felt really proud at that time once the film was finished,” says Mayuren. “I did want to prove to people I could do it, but I also wanted to prove to myself I was capable of making my own films. Plus, I wanted to build my portfolio, so it was a great experience.”

That was just the beginning for Mayuren’s career as a film director and producer. Within two years, what initially started as a single short film steadily turned into a six-film collection called Life, Death and the Culmination. This was all proof of his determination and ambition to succeed, as well as the evolution of his filmmaking skills.

But the true highlight of his career happened in 2016, when his story of two students—one struggling with hallucinations, while the other looking for the person who injured his mother —turned from words on paper to an actual feature film, Midnight Sonder. The movie, which was entirely shot in the UK with a budget of only £1000, was released on Amazon Prime in the UK, the USA, Germany and Japan. Additionally, it won the Best Produced Screenplay award at the Creation International Film Festival in Canada, and the Bronze award at the Fameus International Film Festival in the USA.

Today we see Mayuren more confident than ever, and very proud of what he considers to be his biggest achievement yet: his latest short film, Vent, which premiered in November 2018 at the Blakes Hotel in London. The movie follows the story of Rose and Parker, a couple forced to live inside their flat as a result of a global, widespread radiation leak which happened three years ago. Fed up with the mundane conditions they are living in, Rose decides to take matters in her own hands and go outside, despite her controlling boyfriend’s attempts to stop her.

“I think this is my favourite film out of the ones I made because we had better resources. We had a much bigger crew, it was way more organised and I really knew what I was doing, compared to the other times, when I just made some films with my friends. It was more professional than the previous ones,”he says.

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Mayuren Naidoo at the premiere of his movie, Vent

By now, you’re probably wondering: what’s the secret to his success? If you’re hoping for a carefully planned step-by-step tutorial, forget about it; that’s not his style. He’s more of a go-with-the-flow type of guy, even when dealing with challenges, such as actors dropping out from his projects. He doesn’t let anything to chance though; he firmly believes that it’s important to practice your skills and get out and do something, no matter how small the project is.

“I’d tell other film students to create as much as they can and build your portfolio,” says Mayuren. “Even if it’s done on a phone camera and not professional equipment, just do it, eventually it will be noticed. As for advice in general, stay positive, stay active and do what you like.”

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Zero waste living for students: dream or possibility?

By now, everyone knows about the climate change issues that our planet is dealing with. And while some people choose to ignore the signs, there are others trying hard to protect the environment and reduce the threats to Mother Nature. From reducing the amount of water and energy used in our households for general living, to becoming vegan, everyone has their own method, and one in particular is starting to pick up: zero waste living.

We’ve all seen the bloggers who praise this lifestyle and show off their tiny amount of trash made in a year or more in a cute Mason jar. Buzzfeed even has videos on how to make zero waste meals. It’s an appealing idealistic way of living for anyone who cares about the environment. But is this lifestyle suitable for a student?

At a first glance, not so much. The number of farmers markets and zero waste shops where you can buy products in bulk using your own packaging, is relatively small compared to regular stores, even in London. In addition to that, it might seem cheaper to buy pre-packaged produce and items than the more eco-friendly alternative.

However, Ilmira Murni, a student at the University College London, claims the zero waste student life is easier than we think.

“I would argue that it is cheaper! There are a lot of eateries and cafes that offer discounts when you bring your own cups/Tupperware,” she says. “I also do not participate in fast fashion and only buy clothes second hand when I absolutely need to. I save a lot of money caring for the environment.”

A zero waste lifestyle advocate herself, she decided to follow this way in order to join the fight against wasting resources and trying to protect the environment.

While she does agree that it is easier to follow this lifestyle in London than in other areas—as it is easier to find zero waste free shops around the capital— she strongly believes that every student is capable of living like this without any major difficulties.

“It doesn’t take more than just shopping at different places, or supporting local farmers more. There is very little you need to invest into financial when you adopt this lifestyle, just use what you already have,” she says.

“Think about what you throw away everyday and swap that out for a reusable option. That’s the easiest way to start and probably where you will make most impact. If you drink coffee everyday, thats 300 cups at least a year going to landfill. So identify high impact changes first: menstrual options, bottles and coffee cups, cutlery and others,” Ilmira adds.

Would you ever try living zero waste? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

 

South Western Railway Strike Set to Affect Christmas Travel

Do you have travel plans to see your friends and family the Saturday before Christmas? Well, get ready for a bit of a hassle.

South Western Railway has warned passengers of disruptions on 22 December across South London and North Surrey, including areas like Kingston, Weybridge, Esher and Thames Ditton, due to a union leaders strike against driver only trains, organised by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).

This will be a 24 hour action, and union members were instructed not to book shifts on this specific day until 11:59pm.

According to British Transport Police data, there have been more than double the amount of alcohol-caused violent offences at Britain’s railway stations over the winter holiday period in the past two years.

This follows the case of a policeman, who was stabbed outside a railway station in East London on 23 November.

South Western Railway said it would do everything possible to provide the best service for passengers during the strike, and claims the industrial action is “totally unnecessary”.

Will you be travelling with South Western Railway on 22 December? If so, what do you think about this situation? Leave a comment down below to let us know what you think!

5 Ways to Stay Warm in Student Halls

Winter is coming, and while it’s not as cold as North of the Wall in Game of Thrones, it’s still chilly enough to make you shiver all day, especially when studying all day in a cold bedroom.

We know student halls can be a bit of an igloo-like place during winter time, so we’ve got some great tips on how to stay warm in your student dorm room!

1. Buy a hot water bottle

A hot water bottle is a great way to stay nice and toasty while you’re studying at your desk or just bundled up in your bed watching Netflix. You can carry it with you and will act as a mini heater to keep the cold at bay!

Amazon has a whole bunch of hot water bottles you can choose from (prices start from £4 with Amazon Prime delivery), varying from simple, yet cosy 2 litre ones to novelty hot water bottles with animal covers. One of these cuties will not only keep you warm, but it will also be a nice decoration for your room!

2. Invest in a good duvet

We all know that nights are especially cold during this time of year, so it is crucial to have a good, thick duvet to protect you from the chilly drafts coming from your window; the higher the rating, the better! That way, you’re sure to get a good night’s sleep without waking up a shivering mess all the time!

We recommend the Wilko Super Soft 13.5 Tog Duvet (£10); it’s silky and fluffy, just perfect to cuddle up in bed and relax, all while keeping the cold at bay.

3. Pile on the throw blankets

Sure, for bedtime, duvets are the best option out there. But what about when you’re studying during the day? That’s what blankets are for! Just have one or two (or pile them on if you’re perpetually cold or just love them to bits) throw blankets in your room all the time to wrap yourself and stay warm during your study sessions.

Not to mention, they can bring a lovely pop of colour and style to your student hall room. Bonus tip: if you want some extra warmth, pop your blankets into the dryer for a few minutes; it will feel like a hug from a teddy bear!

4. Get your fluffy socks out

Do you have some funky looking fluffy socks lying around in your wardrobe? Well, get them out, because it’s their time to shine! There’s nothing better than putting a pair of your favourite soft socks on during winter time, especially if your feet are perpetually cold.

If you don’t have a carpet in your room, floors can get quite chilly, so walking around barefoot is the prime occasion for a cold to sneak up on you and make things worse. So if you don’t have a few pairs already, what are you waiting for? Get yourself down to a store and buy some fluffy socks and say bye-bye to frosty toes.

5. Splurge on a mini heater

If you’re one of the unfortunate souls who has a busted heater in your room and your uni safe haven is starting to feel like penguins could live in it, it’s time to get out the big guns.

Spending money on a mini heater might seem like a splurge, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run, especially as the temperatures will continue to drop in December and January.

You can find good deals on Amazon, or you can buy one from well-known stores, like Clas Ohlson or Argos. Before you buy a mini heater though, check with your student halls administrators to check which types are allowed in your room.

Have you got any secrets to keep the cold at bay or does the cold never bother you anyway? Leave a comment down below telling us what you think the best way to stay warm this winter is!

5 Miracle Products That Will Save Your Skin on Accutane

If you’ve got severe cystic acne and have tried pretty much everything to get rid of it, chances are your dermatologist will recommend Accutane (or Roaccutane, as it’s called in various countries around Europe).

While this may seem a magic cure to get rid of all your large, and often painful breakouts, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. While it is definitely effective (and is currently the strongest medication available for acne treatments), Accutane is known for having quite severe side effects on your health, including dry mouth, nosebleeds, dry skin and, in rare cases, even serious medical conditions, such as depression and pancreatitis.

But, there’s no need to despair! There are ways to help with what can only be described as the “Sahara desert” side effect, and we’re here to help! Here are five of the best beauty products you can use to pamper your skin and get it back in business.

  1.   THE BODY SHOP CAMOMILE CLEANSING BUTTER – £10, THE BODY SHOP

Before getting to the skincare, it’s important to make sure your face is clean from any makeup or residue you might have. While it’s tempting to grab a foaming gel or a scrub and go to town, experts firmly advise against that—it’ll actually make your skin dryer and exacerbate acne by disturbing the skin’s natural pH.

Instead, it’s recommended you use a cleansing balm to make sure your face is clear and ready for a skincare party, and The Body Shop’s Camomile Cleansing Butter is the definitely a go-to for this! With a smooth consistency and a delicate and pleasant smell, it will turn your boring cleansing ritual into a lush experience, while leaving you with soft and fresh skin.

Recommended use: Use a pea-amount of cleanser all over the face, massage the product into the skin to remove makeup and dirt and then remove with a warm, damp washcloth with gentle, circular motions.

  1.     FRESH SUGAR LIP POLISH – £19.50, HARRODS

There’s nothing more tempting than to peel off the flaky skin on your lips when you’re on Accutane, even when you know full well you’ll end up with a bleeding lip. Luckily, there’s a better (and tastier) alternative to this: the Fresh Sugar Lip Polish. This jar of sugar goodness will get rid of all the dead skin off your lips, leaving them soft and supple and ready to be kissed!

Recommended use: Use the Lip Polish once every two-three days to avoid over-scrubbing your lips and making them raw.

  1.     NUXE REVE DE MIEL LIP BALM – £10, M&S

Lip balm is your saviour when taking acne medication, and Nuxe Reve De Miel is the one to rule them all. This award-willing best-seller brings the power of Acacia honey and Shea butter in your hands, and will rehydrate and soothe your lips to make them luscious once more.

Recommended use: Use generously when needed, especially after using a lip scrub.

  1.   INDEED LABS HYDRATION BOOSTER – £16.99, ASOS

When we think of dry skin, we immediately think of slathering on the thickest cream we can find. But, the trick to fighting off dry skin is to layer your moisture products, and the Hydration Booster from Indeed Labs is just the thing for this!

The light-weight serum does exactly what the name says: it absorbs immediately into the skin, giving you immediate relief and a well-deserved hydration shot. A total staple for dry and dehydrated skin, especially caused by the medicine.

Recommended use: Use on cleansed skin on its own or mix with your moisturiser (or both!) and apply generously.

  1.     LA ROCHE POSAY NUTRITIC INTENSE RICHE MOISTURIZER, £16.49, SUPERDRUG

There’s no denying that the French know what they’re doing, especially when it comes to skincare, and La Roche Posay’s Nutritic Intense Riche moisturizer surely proves that. Its paraben-free and hypoallergenic formula is designed to hydrate and soothe even the driest skin and you’ll instantly feel relief and comfort. Bonus perk: it’s non-comedogenic, so there’s no need to worry about making your acne worse!

Recommended use: Use generously on cleansed skin whenever necessary; don’t be afraid to go to town with it!

What’s are some of your “miracle” beauty products? Let us know in the comments below!

Kingston University Student Debuts Film on Amazon Prime

A Kingston University student celebrated the launch of his short film on Amazon Prime at the movie premiere held in Blakes Hotel, Kensington on 16 November.

The short film Vent explores the life of Rose and Parker, a couple forced to live inside their flat due to a widespread radiation leak which happened three years ago. Fed up with the mundane conditions they are living in, Rose decides to take matters in her own hands and go outside, despite her controlling boyfriend’s attempts to stop her.

Mayuren Naidoo, Vent’s director and producer, said his inspiration for the film was controlling domestic relationships.

“I wanted to show this relationship in a film with a different setting, the idea that there has been a radiation leak and therefore it is only safe to go outside using a gas mask,” Naidoo said. “It also resonates with the multitude of women in similar situations in real life, as the idea that one individual can control the other and deny them of their basic freedom.”

The protagonists of the movie, Rose and Parker, are played by Vala Norén and Harrison Osterfield. Nolen is the younger sister of Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, who was in films like Prometheus and the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Osterfield is known for his role in George Clooney’s upcoming Hulu drama series Catch-22 and for assisting his drama school colleague, Tom Holland, on the set of The Avengers and Spider-Man films.

Naidoo is currently doing a Film Studies master at Kingston University. In addition to his studies and his independent projects, he also recently founded his own production company, Complete Field Films.

This is not Naidoo’s debut in directing, as he previously wrote and directed his first film in 2016, Midnight Sonder, which won the Best Produced Screenplay award at the Creation International Film Festival in Ottawa, Canada and the Bronze Award at the FAMEUS International Film Festival in Los Angeles, California.

The 18-minute film can be watched in high definition here, and is available both for rent and purchase at £0.99.

Backlash and Resignation Over Brexit Deal

Opposition from MPs and the resignations of Dominic Raab and Esther McVey are putting pressure on Theresa May, as she’s fighting to defend the Brexit deal reached with the EU.

The Prime Minister faced opposition and backlash from a number of MPs during the Prime Minister’s Question session on Wednesday, 14 November, as many members from all political parties are sceptical or hostile to the 585-pages draft.

The resignation of Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, in protest of the deal arranged by the Prime Minister and the EU, further emphasised the instability of the UK current political environment.

Even pro-Brexit Cabinet members, such as Andrea Leadsom, argued there’s still room for improvement in terms of the deal.

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, who wrote Article 50 which was used to trigger the UK’s exit from the European Union, said it is wrong to think leaving would result in a richer country.

“It is working against the British Government now and the reason for that is because the British Government did not decide, when it started the process, where it wanted to end,” Kerr said. “The Prime Minister has managed to keep her cabinet by not declaring what is the final relation that we are going to have with EU in her views.”

With all the criticism Mrs May has been dealing with, many believe her position as PM is under threat, as MPs, such as Steve Baker, sent letters of no confidence in Theresa May to the 1922 Committee.

If 15% of the party’s MPs hand in letters, this could trigger a formal confidence vote against the Prime Minister and her post as leader of the Conservative party. Currently, only 25 letter announcements have been made public.

Theresa May is set to visit Brussels this week to finalise her Brexit plan with the EU leaders.