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Video: Suffolk film producer and director Mat Kirkby prepares for Oscars after his film The Phone Call is nominated for award

PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 January 2015 | UPDATED: 11:58 28 January 2015

Mat Kirkby

Mat Kirkby


There is nothing Mat Kirkby likes more than to saunter up the road from his Shottisham home to enjoy a pint at the Sorrel Horse.

Mat KirkbyMat Kirkby

But next week the self-confessed “country boy” will be swapping his Adnams for champagne at a series of glittering parties attended by Hollywood’s great and good.

The 40-year-old, who penned, produced and directed a short film just one year ago, has received an Oscar nomination and is hotly tipped to walk away with the prize.

“It has been a whirlwind and it hasn’t died down yet,” he said.

His film – The Phone Call – was shot on location in London in 2013 and stars actors Sally Hawkins and Jim Broadbent, who has won awards for his roles in Bridget Jones’ Diary and Moulin Rouge.

The pair agreed to take part immediately after reading the 20-page script. And Mat said it was clear to see the actors love of his story in their delivery.

“Despite the fact that this is a film which is 20 minutes long and, let’s face it, is unlikely to reach a mass audience, they were moved.”

Mat’s career has been dominated by directing short commercials and music videos for Ridley Scott Associates in London.

He has worked for Adele, Basement Jaxx and Muse but admits that, although he has touched on the celebrity world before, he has never been as star-struck as he was on the set of his own film.

“It was a real dream come true working with Jim and Sally,” he said. “Jim is an Oscar winning legend and Sally had literally been filming with Woody Allen and Cate Blanchett a couple of weeks previously so, as you can imagine, I was pinching myself rather a lot on set.”

The Phone Call, which Mat co-wrote with friend James Lucas, centres around a woman who works in a crisis helpline call centre and a phone call that changes her life forever.

Both men had relatives who had worked for Childline – a fact which inspired the storyline.

The film won the Narrative Short category at the prestigious New York festival Tribeca at the end of last year, was winner of the Silver Dragon for Best Fiction Short at the Krakow Film Festival and winner of Special Audience Recognition and Youth Jury Awards at Aspen Shortsfest.

Mat, who lives with partner Miranda Harrison, a healthcare educator, said: “I thought Tribeca was the icing on the cake but then we were nominated for the Oscar.

“It’s a big deal – not least because it turns out we have to attend a host of other events in the month leading up to the ceremony.”

Among parties he has been invited to is a huge bash hosted by Sir Elton John.

“I’m sure it will be quite unlike my usual Sunday trip to the local pub,” he said. “But if I bring home the little gold man at the end of my trip, I might just take him up there with me to meet the locals.”

Mat says there is nowhere he loves more than the Suffolk countryside.

“It’s home,” he said. “And I feel inspired here.”

So will Shottisham become the focal point of any screenplays he plans to write in future?

“We will see,” he said, mysteriously. “But I can tell you that it has more character than anywhere else I have ever lived or known.”

Mat is hoping to arrange for his film to be shown at cinemas in Woodbridge, Southwold and Aldeburgh.


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