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Filmmakers rewarded at Rob Knox Film Festival awards
Aspiring filmmakers convened at Cineworld in Bexleyheath for the fourth Rob Knox Film Festival awards with entries from across the world. Reporter Jim Palmer experienced the glamour.
STUMBLING through the doors there was barely time to catch my breath and pick up a programme and complimentary Nando’s chicken before festival director Michael Wearing enthusiastically grabbed me and thrust me upon Football Factory director Nick Love, who was there to present the best screenplay prize.
Fumbling through my bag I found my dictaphone - no hands for a notebook - and latched onto the festival filming team in the hope they were more prepared.
Their cameras started rolling and blank faces turn to me.
Before tipping peri peri down my coat - a "b*****k-ache", according to Love - I managed to stutter a couple of vanilla questions, like ‘nice to be here?’ Staggering off shell-shocked, I thought I was in for a tough night. Mr Love’s answers are scarcely worth recording.
Not for the first time, I was wrong. What followed was an inspiring evening of beautifully-crafted, captivating short films and live music.
There was no sitting politely through the shorts and praying for the end, every one of the 11 films shown were so well made they knocked the socks off some of my more recent trips to the multiplex.
Screen three was the only room in Cineworld I wanted to be in on Wednesday night.
Student Taro Qureshi deserved his Best 99 per cent award - given for raising the profile of young people - for his retina-magnetising, deadpan but nuanced performance as a hapless boyfriend trying to scrape together the cash to propose to his ice-maiden girlfriend in Popping The Question, which was directed by last year’s 99 per center Gareth Fient.
Canterbury Christ Church University student Ami Ferreira was speechless at winning Best Screenplay for Cosplay Girl, which she also directed.
Her film was a deft, funny and touching story of gamer geek Ryan, 19, (Aaron Ellis) who falls for Star Wars fanatic Tegan (Rachelle Payne) at a Sci-fi convention and is forced to choose between her and meeting 3CPO.
This was the fourth Rob Knox Film Festival, named after an up-and-coming actor from Sidcup who was tragically murdered aged 18 in May 2008. He had finished filming a part in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince just three days earlier.
Rob’s father Colin said the family was ‘over the moon’ for their son’s name to be associated with the festival.
He said: "At that time we were suffering the loss of Robert and for someone to step forward and do something in his name, we jumped at it."
The Rob Knox Foundation, as well as providing education about life choices to youngsters in schools, raised a significant chunk of the money for the show to go on.
The festival is about giving inexperienced filmmakers in the borough an audience, as well as showcasing short films from around the World, including the Best Film winner Ambitious from Russia about a boy’s effort to watch the latest film to come to his rural town despite not having the required two eggs entry fee.
Mr Knox told the audience: "If this has inspired you, job done. This is all about inspiring people."
Over nine days, films were shown at Townley Grammar School, Sidcup Pop-up Cinema and New Generation Church in Sidcup while master classes were organised with film industry pros.
The Rob Knox Foundation’s fundraiser Sharon Bromfield told me afterwards how grateful they were for the sponsors and donors.
She said: "I am so grateful to all the individual shops that gave their £20, £50 or £100 and really went out of their way to support us."
Speaking after the show at a drinks reception hosted by The Marriott Hotel, Michael Wearing said: "I liked all the films, it was a shame the Russian director of Ambitious couldn’t come over.
"Everyone that saw it knew it was a top quality film.
"We’ll definitely be back next year - bigger and better."
Best film under five minutes, presented by Colin Knox - Hoodie Monologue. Directed by David Hewitt and starring Adrian Skiman.
Best Community Film, presented by Aly Harrold (director of sponsors Diviniti Publishing) - Mam. Directed by Hugo Speer, starring Ronan Carter.
Best 99 per cent, presented by Bexley’s Borough Commander Chief Inspector Victor Olisa - Taro Qureshi, star of Popping The Question.
Best Editing, presented by Mark Holt (special effects guru whose recent work includes Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows and Atonement) - Toby Watt, An Absent Mind
Best Performance, presented by Graham Cole (Bromley actor who played Tony Stamp in The Bill) - Philip Arditti, Brotherhood.
Best Director, presented by Graham Cole - Matt Taabu, Brotherhood
Best Screenplay, presented by filmmaker Nick Love - Ami Ferreira, Cosplay Girl
Best Film, presented by Colin Knox - Ambitious. Directed by Ainur Askarov, starring Galimyan Mambetov and Regina Tualbaeva.