Celebrating Film Talent at the Swale Film Festival

Children Filming

Children Filming © Rob Canis

FILMMAKERS of the future have been recognised for their talent at a glittering awards ceremony as part of the third annual Swale Film Festival.

Across three venues ” Sittingbourne’s Avenue Theatre, Blue Town Heritage Centre, Sheerness, and Creek Creative in Faversham ” film lovers viewed a mixture of Kent-made movies, alltime favourites and modern blockbusters while youngsters got creative at workshops.

Young people picked up awards at the stylish ceremony at The Avenue on Saturday night. Jerome Patrick, Joe Crammond, Ryan Edwards, Danielle Hughes and Richard Colegate from New House Youth Club, Sittingbourne, were highly commended for People Busters, a live action film about ghosts trying to rid a youth club of people.

Best Film went to Ruth Tekle Asmelash, Frowney Hagos, Sofiya Hassani and Hermond Hagos from Kran Riverside, a Canterbury- based support group for young asylum seekers, for their animation Zebra, about a young woman’s journey from a country in conflict to safety in England.
Best Emerging Filmmaker, sponsored by Aether Productions, went to Ryan Coligan and Jay Brooks, both from Sittingbourne, for Bike it Yourself, an animated film showing a bike putting itself together, piece by piece. Winners received trophies and certificates and a tour of world famous Pinewood Studios. Ben Freeth was also awarded for his role in real-life Zimbabwean drama Mugabe and the White African.

Director Marcus Warren was awarded for gangster film The Heavy, starring Medway’s Lee Ryan, and Leon Chambers picked up an award for short film The Long Lonely Walk, part of which was filmed in Maidstone. Justin Aggett of Sheppey Matters, who worked with the young people, said: ‘The festival went really well. We had a good turnout and the young volunteers have been great.’

Volunteers aged 13 to 19 from the national youth programme helped run workshops, while young people from recording studio Sound Art helped with film projection. Barefoot in the Sky, the story of pilot Sheila Scott’s flight over the North Pole, was one of many films shown at The Avenue and director John Sealey held a question and answer session. Sheppey was the place to see big names with screenings of Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe, Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr and wartime drama Dunkirk featuring John Mills and Richard Attenborough.

After a screening of The Princess and the Frog at art studio Creek Creative, youngsters from St Mary’s Children’s Centre created artwork based on the film. Teenagers filmed each other acting out fight scenes then learnt how to edit their movie on the computer, in a workshop run by last year’s film festival winners Kelvin Packham and Holly Jarrett, of Faversham-based Aether Productions.

On Sunday evening, guests enjoyed two movies from the 50s in Faversham. Multi-award winner The Red Balloon had the whole audience transfixed, watching a young boy dressed all in grey, walking through dreary streets with his big, bright companion. Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday had audience members in stitches with the main man’s clumsy, slapstick antics.

Report by Suz Elvey – suz.elvey@KRNmedia.co.uk

East Kent Gazette