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Essex Filmmaker Review

Thursday 20th December 2018

The 29th November 2018 saw the first Young Essex Filmmaker Award given out students at Harlow College. Developed and promoted by The Harvey Centre, the award was created to search out young talent in the local area and highlight the great work the students are doing. Harlow College’s media department worked closely with The Harvey Centre to make sure the students were supported and guided throughout the project. It all culminated in a brilliant evening at Cineworld Harvey Centre where the students, the public and staff could watch the films on the big screen.

The students submitted scripts and ideas to staff back in September with the final groups being decided in October to help bring these plans to life. The project was to create a short horror movie that was no longer than five minutes and also came in at a 12A rating. With eight production teams filming, writing and editing until the deadline, the students had their work cut out to deliver their final pieces in time for the public vote. Every group also created posters, handled PR and promoted their movies through social media, with some brilliant creative work coming out of these designs alongside the short films too.

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Films were submitted and uploaded to The Harvey Centre’s YouTube channel on the 22nd November, this then allowed the centre to push the movies to the general public to encourage voting through social media. The public vote would help form part of the final judging decision, and the local community embraced the chance to get involved. Over 4,500 people voted and the videos were viewed in full over 1,500 times too, a fantastic response to the students’ short films.

It wasn’t just the public who embraced the campaign either, as Burger Priest, Legends Hairdressers, Flirt PR and Phoenix Resources all donated prizes and contributed to the event night too, allowing the students’ to work alongside professionals and enhance their future work.

With over 150 tickets given out ahead of the event, it was no surprise to see a strong crowd gather on the night of the screening. With students, parents, teachers and members of the public all present, excitement gathered as the students’ film posters flashed up on the digital displays beside the screen. A proud moment for every group as they saw their hard work flash up alongside the Hollywood blockbusters on show at neighbouring screens.

Every film was greeted with a round of applause and, of course, some gasps as the movies lived up to their billing of being horror themed. From specially designed puppets to a haunted house, each film was different in its approach giving the judges plenty to think about. As the final film closed, the judges went off to deliberate before announcing the winner. While the judges discussed, Harlow MP Robert Halfon made an appearance, recording a special message for the students thanking them for their brilliant films and wishing them luck.

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Every judge had a different favourite film, as did the public vote, but each list contained one film that they all agreed should be the winner. Dead Silence. The film had a great combination of location, shots, technical skill and execution to make it the winner. The award was presented by Bryan Young, The Harvey Centre’s Centre Manager and it rounded off a brilliant night for everyone involved. From starting with a simple script to showing it on the big screen to a live audience in just two months, it was a brilliant project from the Harlow College students and a great night for all involved.

Haven’t seen all the movies yet? You can watch all the videos here.

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