A Burton film festival which aims to shine a spotlight on budding local talent is being backed by award-winning local filmmaker Deborah Haywood.
The Swadlincote writer, director and filmmaker who, last summer, invited locals in Burton and South Derbyshire to become extras in her family drama Pin Cushion, has joined Marston's Brewery for the launch of the area's first Beer Town Film Festival.
Working in partnership on the film festival with Burton and South Derbyshire College, Marston's Brewery is celebrating its 180-year association with Burton by creating the annual event to generate interest in the town and celebrate its own local talent and craftsmanship.
Burton and Swadlincote-born film makers Rich Yeomans and Deborah will act as patrons and judges for the festival with other judges for each of the categories drawn from a range of film makers, animators, photographers and experts in their judging categories.
Yeomans is a special effects producer in Hollywood who has worked on Harry Potter films.
Deborah's latest film Pin Cushion opened at Venice Film Festival's critics' week and features Swadlincote as well as locals filmed as extras at Gresley Old Hall.
She said: "Pin Cushion was shot in Swadlincote a year ago and premiered at Venice International Film Festival. It features Lilly Newmark and Joanna Scanlon, and Bruce Jones who was Les Battersby in Coronation Street as well as Izzy Sutty who was in The Peep Show and Nadine Coyle who was in pop group Girls Aloud. They loved the script and wanted to be involved.
"I picked Swadlincote because I grew up there and that's where I find my inspiration, creativity. It's what I know. A good tip is to make films about what you know so that’s what I did."
Now she is turning her focus to encouraging local talent and has joined Marston's Beer Town Film Festival.
She said: "I have been asked to get involved with the Beer Town Festival and I am going to be a judge which I am very excited about.
"It is a film festival on local talent and is a celebration of local talent and beer."
Deborah started her film career by undertaking an access course at Burton and South Derbyshire College, with one of the modules including creative writing.
She said: "I got the bug for creative writing and did a BA at Derby University. I just started writing in my spare time as I was paying student loans off.
"Then I saw an advert for a short film competition by EM Media, the local Nottingham funding body. I wrote a short script, got selected for it, went through the development process and at the end of it I thought I would get paired up with the director. Then they said you're going to direct it. So I jumped in at the deep end, and still feel I am finding out.
"I am excited to see local talent at the film festival and see what people are coming up with, their inspiration stories, the characters and I am looking forward to seeing Burton on the screen too."
She also had some advice for people who want to launch a career behind the camera.
"I just make films that move you and make you laugh. Make films you want to see yourself. Have fun with it, stick to your vision, be bold, make as many mistakes as you can because that's when you learn the most. Tell stories personal to you because that's when they resonate with the audience."
The Beertown Film Festival is calling for entries from film makers aged 16 and over across four different film categories from now until March 31, 2018. The categories are:
- Best fiction short
- Best documentary short
- Best advertising or promotional film
- Best animated short
The judges will award a fifth prize for the best film made by 'home-grown' talent from across all of the categories - the entrant must be from an area within a 20-mile radius of Burton, which takes in local surrounding towns and cities such as Ashby, Derby, Ashbourne, Stafford and Tamworth.
There will also be a People's Choice award that will be chosen by Burton Mail readers - to be selected in an online poll. Winners in each of these six categories will win a cash prize of £500.
Finally, the judges will award an overall Beertown Festival Winner selected from the finalists in each category – the 'Hop D'Or'. The winner will collect £1,000 in prize money as well as the honour.
Judging will take place during April and May 2018 and the Beertown Film Festival will culminate in a major outdoor cinema, beer and food festival to be held at Marston's Brewery, in Shobnall Road, on Saturday, May 26.
Audiences will be able to see clips of the finalists' films and hear the winners being announced, before enjoying a feature film in the surroundings of the famous Victorian brewery.
Jo Wyke, marketing manager from Marston's, said: "We hope that film makers respond to our competition from all corners of the UK, whether they are already in film-making or are enthusiastic amateurs looking for some recognition. A home-grown talented film maker has the chance to win up to £2,500 in prize money – as well as the recognition for their skills."
Chris Beech from Burton and South Derbyshire College said: "We are excited to be supporting Marston's with the launch of their Beertown Film Festival, which will provide a platform for films and creativity in the local area.
"Our creative pupils will have the opportunity to enter the competition, allowing them to showcase their work on a national stage. We're proud to support the local community and work with local organisations to develop and nurture the creative scene in Burton, while giving our students access to real industry experiences for success in their future careers."
Notes for Entrants:
Anyone aged 16 years old and over can enter the Beertown Film Festival competition with an original film which must have been made after January 1, 2017.
Entries can be received up until midnight on Saturday, March 31, 2018.
Entries can be uploaded via – www.beertownfilmfestival.co.uk
The categories for entry are:
- Fiction Short
- Documentary Short
- Promo Advertising and Music
- Animation Short
'Short' is deemed to be no longer than 20 minutes or less. Entrants from within a 20-mile radius of Burton will also be considered for a separate Home Grown prize category with a prize of £500.
The three finalists from each of the four categories will be put forward to a People's Choice award to be voted by members of the public with a prize of £500.
The category winners will be put forward to an overall Beertown Film Festival Award with a prize of £1,000.
Full terms and conditions can be found on the Beer Town Film Festival website.
Notes on the patrons:
From Needwood to Hollywood, Rich Yeomans is one of the patrons and has agreed to cast his expert eye over film entries as a judge in the Beer Town Film Festival 2018.
He was born in Burton and grew up living in Stretton, attending Thomas Alleyne's High School, in Uttoxeter. With GNVQs in advanced art and design, he went on to study visual communications at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design where he roomed with several film production students and caught the film-making bug.
On graduation he moved to London, eventually landing the role of a visual effects runner on the second Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. He went on to work on the remaining six films in the franchise and was credited as visual effects production supervisor for the last three. Since then he has worked on Wrath of the Titans, Maleficent, Fast and Furious and is currently in post-production on Andy Serkis's Jungle Book.
Currently living in the South-East, Rich still comes home to Burton to see family and friends and is delighted to be involved in Beer Town Film Festival 2018.
From Swadlincote, film-maker and writer Deborah Haywood has made all her films locally and first got into writing when she attended an access course at Burton and South Derbyshire College.
Following her first 'short' Deborah was selected for Screen International's Stars of Tomorrow, 2007. She is BIFA-nominated and has won several awards including Best Short at Soho Rushes Short Film Festival with her short film Sis.
In September 2017, Pin Cushion was screened at the Venice Critics' Week as the opening film. Starring Lily Newmark and Joanna Scanlan, Pin Cushion is an all-girl gothic fairy tale set in the British working-class suburbs.
She is also co-writing and attached to direct the adaptation of prize-winning novel The Killing Jar, with author Nicola Monaghan and recently completed her fifth short film, Twinkle, Twinkle.