Thurrock Film Festival set for next year

NEXT June, Thurrock will be host to an event which is the first of its kind in the borough. The first annual Thurrock International Film Festival, to be held at the Thameside Theatre in Grays, will feature films from all over the borough, the country as well as the rest of the world.

The organisers, Natalie Williams and Benjamin Scarsbrook, both 23, recently graduated University with honours degrees in Film Studies and have returned to Grays looking to work in the film industry. As well as working as freelance editors and filmmakers they have decided to bring the filmmaking talent of the local area to the forefront.

“Whilst looking for festivals to send our own films to we realised that there is very little opportunity to showcase your talent in Thurrock and the South East.” Says Natalie. “We thought that instead of waiting for someone else to host an event we decided to organise one ourselves.”

They have already organised two film festivals whilst still students in Carmarthen in Wales and with great success and acclaim. Ben says “We know we can pull this off and we want to help fellow filmmakers, especially in the borough, who might not know where or how to enter their films into festivals.”

There will be plenty of categories including Short Fiction, Short Documentary, Animation, Music Video, Experimental, Student, Foreign Language and Under 16, there will also be an award ceremony where the best in each category will receive a trophy, there will also be awards for Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Performance, Best in Festival and Audience Choice Award.

As well as the short films showcased, Natalie and Ben are working on securing the premiere of a new British film to open the event.

The categories have been carefully selected. Natalie and Ben created the Under 16 category to get local schools and colleges involved as well. They want pupils to make their own films individually or as a class. They also want to encourage the local community to make films in other languages. “There are a lot of people living in the borough whose first language isn’t English, and we want to encourage them to make films in their native language, be it Polish, French, Arabic or Chinese.” says Natalie. “We want diversity, quality and most of all people to be proud of Thurrock’s rich filmmaking legacy.”

The borough has welcomed many directors to make their films here including Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins), Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) and Robert Zemeckis (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?). As well as producing world class talent like Mick Jackson, director of Volcano, The BodyGuard and L.A. Story, and Russell Brand, star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him To The Greek.

If you have a film you have made or have an idea for one, entries can be sent in from 1st January 2012 so get scripting, casting and shooting.

You can follow Thurrock International Film Festival on Facebook and Twitter or visit the website at www.thurrockinternationalfilmfestival.co.uk

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