Marston's Brewery has announced the launch of its first film festival in Burton backed by home-grown talent, including Hollywood special effects producer Rich Yeomans, of Harry Potter fame.

Yeomans will be joined by award-winning screen writer Deborah Haywood. They are backing the project by the Burton-based brewery.

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 an annual event that will draw interest in the town and celebrate its own local talent and craftsmanship.

Burton and Swadlincote-born film makers Yeomans and Haywood will act as patrons and judges for the festival with other judges for each of the categories being drawn from a range of film makers, animators, photographers and experts in their judging categories.

The Beertown Film Festival will call 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

The judges will award a fifth prize for the best film made by 'home-grown' talent from across all of the categories whereby 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.

Jack Hale, Pat McGinty, John Fitch and Jo Wyke with Alice-Parkerson from Marston's Brewery

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, next year. 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.

Yeomans, who made his name in visual effects in the Harry Potter film franchise, said: "I am honoured and excited to have been asked to be a part of this film festival, and look forward to seeing the entries and talent that Burton has to offer."

Local screen writer Deborah Haywood will be a judge

Deborah Haywood, whose film Pin Cushion was chosen to open the Venice Critics' Week this summer, was keen to inspire women film makers to enter and said: "I think it's important that girls feel they can succeed in the industry, too. It's very male and we need more women involved and more women's stories.

"Plus, if I can do it, anyone can. My mum still lives in Swadlincote and that's where we filmed Pin Cushion. It's a great area to make films because everyone is so friendly and accommodating."

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."

Hollywood special effects producer Rich Yeomans has lent his support

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 from 3pm on Saturday, September 23, 2017 up until midnight on Saturday, March 31, 2018.

Entries can be uploaded via –

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:

Rich Yeomans

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.

Deborah Haywood

From Swadlincote, film maker and writer Deborah Haywood has filmed 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 strand’s opening film. Starring Lily Newmark and Joanna Scanlan, the film is 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 she recently completed her fifth short film, Twinkle, Twinkle.

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