FEATURE: NORTH EAST FILM ROUND-UP | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Still from Love Spell by Lauren Vevers

The film version of 2020 may end up being somewhere between a George A. Romero dystopia and a political satire to put In The Loop to shame. Although the Sunderland Shorts film festival I run may have been off the big screen as we decided to postpone to 2021 in favour of a best-of retrospective online, this year hasn’t stopped filmmakers here in the North East creating and celebrating success.

Two horror shorts that have been enrapturing audiences this year include Gavin Williamson and Mark Lediard’s The Mime, which had its UK premiere this Hallowe’en at the ever fantastic Frightfest, and Lucy Rose’s atmospheric short She Lives Alone has rightly found great success with audiences at a host of screenings and events. Lucy has also been part of Candle & Bell’s Above The Line, a project that supplies aspiring filmmakers with an essential insight into the production process.

Another local festival which didn’t quite have the year they originally planned was Women X, but alongside their workshops and panel discussions they still managed to digitally showcase some truly phenomenal films by female and non-binary filmmakers. Lauren Vevers was awarded best director for Love Spell, an absolutely charming 90’s nostalgia fest.

Red Coats, a new documentary from Rob Kilburn, provided a harrowing look at the clashes between protestors and those who still hunt foxes. The director has also been releasing sneak peeks of the punk documentary he has been working on over at his Tyne & Weird Facebook page, which promises to be something very special.

This year also saw the premiere of First Day of the Dead, a short zombie comedy/horror-ish film which I directed and co-wrote. When we shot the film in summer 2019, about a world which had drastically changed from the one familiar to us, we didn’t know our film was going to go from fantasy to feeling like documentary realism, but its award-winning release has still been an enjoyable, albeit unusual, journey so far!

As the credits begin to roll on this year, I’m hopeful for what the future holds for local filmmakers, and look forward to welcoming them to Sunderland Shorts when we can get back to the big screen in 2021.

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