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Still from ‘The Family Gold’

A local film festival with a global flavour

Putting on a film festival in the middle of a pandemic is no easy feat, but that is exactly what local film-maker Francis Saunders has achieved. Nadene Ghouri shares a sneak preview of the films on show this weekend (Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 August).

South Coast Film Festival, the first of an annual event, will see an exciting array of local and international film-making talent on display with a range of short-films, sitcoms, TV pilots and mini-documentaries screened at the Electric Palace cinema in Hastings over the weekend.

The international line-up includes films from Iraq, Iran, Italy, Austria, Romania, American and India, to name but a few.

Established and new Hastings local talent is included, as are young film-makers shooting on smartphones.

South Coast film festival is the brainchild of writer/director/producer Francis Saunders and co-writer David Wurawa. Francis is a former mixed martial arts champion and began his career as a professional actor working in TV film and theatre. He has won various awards for his writing/film-making. His feature film Uncaged is set to shoot on the south coast in 2021. He says:

“The idea of South Coast Film Festival is to bring great films together regardless of their budget. And to bring together a mix of local and international talent here in Hastings. Due to Coronavirus everything was cancelled but I was absolutely determined to go ahead, albeit with full safety measures in place. All audience members will be given visors on arrival.”

Javid Sobhani is a young film-maker from Iran. He says:

“As a young film-maker who is in the first steps of his work route it’s like a dream come true for his work to be recognized and shown for larger range of audiences. To me films are made to show the perspective of their creators on a matter, so it is vital for film-makers to  be able to screen their works for their voices to be heard. A festival is the perfect place to do that!

“Screening films from around the globe in international festivals can bring people from different cultures together and connect them more to each other. So, when I heard that my film is going to be screened in South Coast Festival in UK, I was really proud and excited.”

Baz Black is a director from Ireland, showing his short film Reflection. He says: “It is such an honour to have my film as an Official Selection at South Coast. It is not just a thrill for myself but also my crew and cast. The current situation is tough on both the organisers and film makers. Most of my Official Selections have gone online, unfortunately this cuts out the in-person networking that festivals are designed for.

“South Coast have been amazing with regards to updates and communication. It is amazing they have managed to keep their live event going ahead with the upmost precautions in place to keep everyone safe and they should be commended for doing so. We can’t wait for the screening of Reflection amongst all the other brilliant films lined up over the weekend.”

One of the short documentaries being screened is Age is Just a Bingo Number, written and directed by Simona Palladino. She says: “Reaching the audience of the south coast of England is really interesting for me, as the documentary features the lives of older people in the North East of England, so I am really curious about knowing how this will be received.”

Kerron Andrews is a first time director from California. His short, Deploy, will be shown.

“I took a leap of faith and left many things behind to pursue this new love for storytelling”, he says.  “So being selected for the South Coast Film Festival is definitively a sign that I’m on the right path. It’s extremely important as a new director because it serves as validation that I love what I do.”

South Coast Film Festival screens from 12-6pm on Saturday 16 August and 12-3pm on Sunday 17 August. Due to social distancing there will be a maximum of 25 tickets available. Booking in advance is advisable.

For those who miss out on a ticket there will be an online screening, with details to be published after the event.

Selected schedule highlights:

Deploy by Kerron Andrews

Feel India
“The only people who see the whole picture are the ones who step out of the frame” Salman Rushdie

a story of a young man who has a tortured soul

Home fires 
A short by Sam Weeks – a WW1 veteran recounts his time throughout the war.

Dearly Departed
Elise Martin is Writer-Director from Devon and has worked on a variety of projects from music videos to short narrative films

The Finellis  – the story behind the Show… 
It is “Mrs. Doubtfire” meets “Goodfellas” meets “Glee”

The Family Gold    
A young petty thief and a male robbery. Among the stolen goods, an object captures his attention

Paul feels there is nothing left to live for. A chance encounter with a little girl lost in the woods may offer the hope he needs’

Wienerland – the Series
“Wienerland” (working title) is a fantasy/western genre-mix exploring the boundaries of society, ethics, and perceived reality. The respective storylines, brought to life by a diverse cast.

The Barbershop 
Set in the colourful and larger than life world of Andrew the barber, The Barbershop explores through darkly humoured drama what it means to be a Londoner

The Field of Miracles
Two thugs that no one would like to meet in a dark alley, roam around at night in an empty field dominated by a large and solitary tree. Their nicknames are Fox and Cat.

Age is just a bingo number
The documentary aims to promote social aspects of the environment for older migrants, by introducing the audience to a community of ageing Italians in Newcastle upon Tyne.

An Afghan national, has illegally travelled to Iran to look for her husband.

In the darkness of the dark someone is knocking at the door…

The Witch Hunters are coming
Spoof reality TV documentary following a day at work for two London council witch hunters.

Posted 15:19 Thursday, Aug 13, 2020 In: Film

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