Five get their director’s cut

Cash and mentoring for the prize-winners

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Young film-makers from Wakefield and Cheshire are among those selected to make a short film for broadcast on Sky Arts this year.

The finalists include Carrie Battram from Wakefield, who will make Left Behind, about 15-year-old Johnny who, after the death of his mum, finds hope through the things she left behind.

She has won an award for £10,000 to make the film, as well as mentoring and guidance, from Shortflix, a programme run by Creative England, Sky Arts and ScreenSkills for aspiring film-makers aged 18-25 who are not in employment, education or training.

“Films have always been a big part of my life and I wanted to create and tell stories that have an impact on the lives of others,” said Battram.

“The idea was influenced by my own experiences with grief and the experiences of people I know. Grief is something we will all experience in our lives and it felt important to use this film to explore how we allow ourselves and other people to grieve.

“Being selected means so much to me. Working-class people like myself are under-represented in this industry and, without initiatives like Shortflix, I wouldn’t be able to do this. I am really excited that I get to see my film come to life and to be supported by so many amazing and talented people.”

‘Exciting opportunity’

Another of the final five selected from more than 300 applicants is Danny Seymour from Cheshire, who will make Offended, the story of a middle-aged man who embarks on his first date for years in a near future where people express their reactions in a surprising way.

A keen cinema-goer, as a child he would borrow his dad’s camcorder to make short films with his friends.

“I wanted to be an actor for a while but realised I was much more interested in being behind the camera,” said Seymour. “I’ve always had so many different ideas for stories I want to tell and film making felt like the best way to do that.

“I guess as I’ve grown older I’ve watched more and more films and your taste changes in the process as you gain more knowledge about film.”

He said he was “buzzing” about the chance to make Offended.

“I don’t feel like I’ve had an opportunity like this yet so it’s really exciting. I’ve always known what I wanted to do but I didn’t go to university and I’ve never done any professional film or video work, so at times I was frustrated and feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere.”

Noel Clarke, who appeared in and wrote the screenplay for Kidulthood and is a Shortflix ambassador, said: “These types of programmes are so important for young filmmakers to gain the opportunity for hands-on experience along with funding to bring their ideas to life. This industry is renowned for being hard to get into, so it’s great to see that Shortflix is supporting fresh, new talent.”

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