‘Oscars of Watford’ launched for aspiring film-makers

A young movie maker has teamed up with Watford Borough Council and a panel of motion picture moguls to launch the first Watford Short Film Festival.

Published: Tuesday, 6th March 2018

If you’d like to take part, whatever your experience, then you can enter your movie now. Submissions will be shown at Watford Museum during the day and at the Watford Pump House Theatre in the evening of Saturday 4 August.

The films will be judged by an expert panel that will include Mark Crane – actor, director and special effects technician for films including Judge Dredd and Labyrinth. Also on the panel will be film-makers Alan Ronald and Debbie Attwell, from Progressive Wrestling, film publication writer Terence Butler and the council’s Arts and Heritage Manager Sarah Priestley.

Cllr Karen Collett, cabinet member for community, said: “We have so much talent here in Watford, and we want to celebrate it. We’ve just had the Oscars – this will be the Oscars of Watford. We hope this short film festival will be the launch pad into a successful career for many aspiring actors, writers and film-makers.”

The festival is the brainchild of former West Herts College student James Dyer, 21, who is now a third-year student in the Northern Film School of Leeds Beckett University. One of his own short films, Home Town, was shown on Watford Borough Council’s Big Screen on the Beach – an outdoor cinema in the town centre – last summer. The production celebrated Watford and its landmarks, history and importance as a UK destination. Categories in the short film festival will include the Watford Award – covering all submissions shot within the Watford area.

James said: "Watford is becoming more and more of a cultural town. You can see that the council is definitely pushing to increase the cultural scene within the town. I thought a film festival could really help with that and attract a fair bit of tourism. The Warner Bros Studio Tour is already attached to our local brand. I thought Watford could be a fantastic place for people both nationally and locally to showcase their work."

Award categories will include Best Drama, Best Documentary and Best Animation. The judging panel will choose the winners for each category at the end of the festival. There will also be a separate Audience Award, where the winners for each category will be chosen by people attending the short film festival.

Submissions must be no longer than 15 minutes, and film-makers aged under-18 must have permission from their parent or guardian in order to take part. To find out more, visit the Watford Short Film Festival Facebook page.

James Dyer (right) working on his own short film, Home Town, with Director of Photography Will Benson. Photo by Antonietta Reda.

James Dyer (right) working on his own short film, Home Town, with Director of Photography Will Benson. Photo by Antonietta Reda.


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