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Youth film festival receives Oscar-winner’s approval

The Aldeburgh and Suffolk Coastal Young People’s Film Festival. Marah Zahalqa, of Speed Sisters, at Suffolk One. Pic: Nick Tipping Photography.

The Aldeburgh and Suffolk Coastal Young People’s Film Festival. Marah Zahalqa, of Speed Sisters, at Suffolk One. Pic: Nick Tipping Photography.

Nick Tipping Photography

An inaugural festival showcasing the work of Suffolk’s talented young filmmakers has received five-star reviews.

The Aldeburgh and Suffolk Coastal Young People’s Film Festival. Short Film category. Winner: Director Douglas Cowles (centre) and writer Albert Robson (right) of Gamble, year 13, Farlingaye High School. Pic: Nick Tipping Photography. The Aldeburgh and Suffolk Coastal Young People’s Film Festival. Short Film category. Winner: Director Douglas Cowles (centre) and writer Albert Robson (right) of Gamble, year 13, Farlingaye High School. Pic: Nick Tipping Photography.

Oscar winner, Mat Kirkby was among panellists at the first Aldeburgh and Suffolk Coastal Young People’s Film Festival, in Aldeburgh, where a writer/director pairing from Farlingaye High School took first prize.

The Shottisham director, who won last year’s award for Best Live Action Short Film, said: “In my capacity as a member of the American Academy, and Oscar voter, I have seen about 150 short films in the past weeks, and I can genuinely say that our Young People’s Festival competition winner is better than at least 50 of these Oscar entries!”

Schools played a central role in the festival, with in-house screenings designed to enhance the curriculum. Pupils could also enter their own productions into a short film competition based on the theme of ‘An Iconic Story Retold in Five Minutes’.

Events took place at venues around the county, including Suffolk New College, where A-level students were joined by younger counterparts from Farlingaye High School, in Woodbridge, and Summerhill School, in Leiston, for a screening of Paraguayan documentary, Landfill Harmonic.

Students from One sixth-form college were also inspired by watching Speed Sisters, the true story of the first all-female Middle Eastern motor racing team, including 24-year-old Palestinian racing champion Marah Zahalqa, who held a Q&A session after the screening.

The Short Film Competition received nine entries, mulled over by Mr Kirkby, Aldeburgh cinema manager and festival director Thomas Gerstenmeyer, festival coordinator Louisa Thorp, and Aldeburgh Cinema’s head of content delivery, Dan Champion.

The cinema hosted a screening and awards ceremony, where first place went to year 13 students Albert Robson and Douglas Cowles for Gamble. Year nine Ipswich School pupil, Joseph Reed took second place for Shigeru, while William King, in year 10 at Thomas Mills High School, Framlingham, came third for Black Dog of Bungay.

Mr Gerstenmeyer, said “The Aldeburgh Cinema Trust is delighted that the festival has been such a huge success and encouraged by how enthusiastic the schools, venues and audiences have been. Discussions have already begun about expanding the programme in 2017.”

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