Festival Films

You can see the full 2024 Film Guide here.

The winners for 2024: Be Part of the Story

16yrs and Under: Best Film ‘Doors’ be El Green and Best Northamptonshire Film ‘Dyslexia & Me’ by the children of St Luke’s Primary School Duston for the second year in a row!

17-23yrs New Filmmaker: Best Film ‘REMEMBERING’ by Dylan Scott and Best Northamptonshire Film ‘Bite The Hand’ by Emily Jane Matthews.

Misfits and Mavericks: Best Film also ‘REMEMBERING’ by Dylan Scott and Best Northamptonshire Film ‘The Brutalist’ by Joseph Burden.

Documentary: Best Short Documentary (also Northants) is ‘Retro Revolution – The Game Isn’t Over’ and Best Feature Doc ‘Much Ado About Dying’ by Simon Chambers.

Narrative Fiction: Best Short Narrative Fiction is ‘Opening Up’ by Oz Arshad and Best Northamptonshire Short Narrative Fiction is ‘Fifty-Four Days’. Best Narrative Fiction Feature is ‘Mr Doom’ by Leif Johnson (with a Northampton composer!). Careful now, it has some bad language in the trailer below!

The winners and runners up from 2023: Show Us What You’ve Got

16yrs and Under Competition: Best Film ‘Beth’ by Ava Bounds and Best Northamptonshire Film ‘You Are Enough’ by the children of St Luke’s Primary School Duston

Documentary competition: Best Feature Length Documentary ‘A Life On The Farm’ by Oscar Harding. Best Short Documentary ‘We Move’ by Souvid Datta. Best Northants Short Documentary ‘Unidentified’ by Northampton Producer Kyle Adams.

Drama category: Best Feature Length Drama ‘Fixed’ by Jez Alsop. Best Northants Feature Length Drama ‘Wild Bones’ by Northampton writer/director Jack James. Best Short Drama (also Best Northants Short Drama!) ‘Exhibit-A’ by James Wilkinson.

Drama category runners up: Runner up Best Northants Short Drama – ‘The Pigeon of Waterloo’ by Margaux Comte and Northampton Producer Tyla Sharp. Runner up Sketchy Link to Northants ‘Incompatible’ by Maxine Peake with Northants Editor Colin Goudie. Runner up Best Film – jointly ‘Spinning’ by Sam Spruell and ‘The Electricity in Me’ by Mat Sheldon.

The winners and runners up from 2022: Know Your Place

Schools Competition: runner up Leo Kelly from Northampton College with Hope. Winner Duston Eldean Primary School with COVID: A Child’s Perspective. Competition judge BBC Northampton’s Kerrie Cosh said “This was a beautiful summing up of the past two years.” You can watch the film here.

16s and Under Competition: winner Oscar Myles with No Time To Explain. Judge actress Callie Cooke said this was a “great concept” which was echoed by the other judges.

Documentary Competition: runner up REDt’BLUE by Jay Martin. BBC Radio Northampton Kerrie Cosh’s judging comments: “Incredible interviewing, framing, and questions. Emotive, and although the subject area isn’t Northants, shed light on something that actually affects this area too – a switch in political party. Brilliant use of archive footage. Could imagine this being broadcast on television.”

Winner A Life Worth Living by Catherine Rose which scored a huge 28.5 out of 30 from the judges. Judge Kerrie’s comments: “Emotive story and invites you into an angle we rarely see portrayed when discussing mental health. Empowered Kayleigh’s story, and gave her a fantastic voice. Left me actually wanting more!”

Drama Competition: This was an incredibly tough and tight category and so we have 2 runners up: Hope by Leo Kelly and Keep Off The Grass by Tyla Sharp. Judge Callie Cooke said Keep Off The Grass was a “really beautiful film”. And Kerrie said “Touched on topics of loss, grief, and was sensitive yet cinematic. I think this filmmaker has such a bright future” of Hope.

Winner Swing by Marcus Thomas Anthony. Kerrie’s comments: “This shone a moving but humoured light on grief and was thoroughly researched, and shot in brilliant locations, really enjoyed this.” You can read more about Marcus here.

Sketchy Link to Northamptonshire Competition: runner up A Change in Time by Pat Knight

Winner Tyrannosaur and the Secret Garden by Joey Lever starring Steve Price. Judge EMU Films Producer Jim Mooney’s comments: “Great little film. Great imagination. Really loved this.”

48hr Film Challenge Winner of Winners: Connor Mclean – he stormed through this series of 6 challenges by winning each one – each with a different guest judge – which just shows how great Connor is at these! Here is one on the theme of Random Acts of Kindness

You can also watch some of our live content from 2021 and 2022 now recorded on our YouTube.

The winners and runners up from 2021: Kind of a Big Deal

For the 48hr Film Challenge the overall Winner of Winners was picked by guest judge Colin Goudie, Editor of The Show, Monsters and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

And that was Laurence Maybury with A Day that doesn’t count.

Colin said: “The title of a film is often the case for massive discussion in the movie making world. 

Does it represent the film? Iron Man

Does it grab the audience’s attention? JAWS

Can it fit on a poster? Goldfinger

Will the title stick? Ghostbusters

Of course, usually the name is picked AFTER the film is completed and often changes during the edit – the movie “3000” became “Pretty Woman”.

In the wonderful world of 48hr film competitions, the title is picked first and the creativity of the film makers entering is therefore not just judged on their technical prowess and artistry behind the camera but also their ability to stand out from the pack. The interpretation that was brought to bear on the theme of “What would you do with a day that doesn’t count?” is a classic example of how to think right outside the box. Coupled with the technical pastiche of a 1970’s trash trailer only adds to the delight that is encapsulated in its 1m26secs running time.”

For our main short film competition judged by Actor Julie Hesmondhalgh, Comedian Hugh Dennis and Actor Colin Salmon, the results were as follows:

Special mention for DJ Dougal’s Dad filmed entirely in Northants, directed by Thomas Line who grew up in Northants.

Julie Hesmondhalgh gave this film 10/10: “Made with such love.  My favourite film of them all.  For me it ticked so many boxes:  love of subject, beautiful shots, local interest (I love that it was of and about Northampton). Garry is a wonderful subject (“You’ve got to know the moves for the hardcore”).  Life, art, nature, music, ageing, mortality, legacy:  all here in spades in this perfect little study of a lovely man.”

3rd place runner up went to Offside from Towcester Writer/Producer Ellie Gocher. This film was also entirely filmed in Northants.

Colin Salmon said “Sydney is fantastic in the lead and the pace is perfect. Especially loved the scene on the bus. A difficult subject well handled by writer Ellie Gocher.”

2nd place runner up went to The Dinner Party from Actor/Producer Olivia Foan who grew up in Northampton and this is another one filmed in Northamptonshire.

Colin said “Wow this was a very special piece and the time distortion took me by surprise. Gorgeous to look at and sumptuous design and performances were very strong. The haunting look out of the window between Adelaide and Sandra was powerfully knowing. Every department showed up and gave full account of themselves. Good work.”

But the winner was Mark’d– Writer/Director Danny Gibbons who was born in Kettering and lived in Corby for most of his life.

Julie: !This is a very powerful and effective short film about the scars of emotionally abusive relationships, told with simplicity and imaination.  Extremely affecting and I’m sure will be used as a resource for organisations working in this field.  Special mention to Gina Parr, the make up designer on the film. Fantastic.”

Colin: “Powerful message, beautifully shot and designed and also acted by Sophie Jones and Ric Renton. Strong direction by Danny Gibbons.”

The 2021 Schools Competition Winner Charlie Woodward who made Trapped is pictured above with NFF’s Becky and Grosvenor Centre Manager James Roberts then runner up was Oscar Myles with Work Warfare.

When we couldn’t hold the festival in 2020 due to the pandemic so we ran a lockdown competition instead – here are some ofthe entries to our 2020 Kind of a Big Deal In My Living Room lockdown film competition:

We’ll start with the winner:

Lockdown by Doug Kennedy of Hold The Foam and Theze Guyz Theatre Company

“Sarah Love sent me the recording of the song via WhatsApp on Good Friday, I recorded the video with a laptop, webcam & mobile phone the next day, edited it that night ready for upload on Easter day. So definitely a successful Collaborative Lock-down effort!”

Distance Not Distant by local company Richer View

You can read all about their entry in the Chronicle & Echo here

Monster by Theze Guyz Theatre Company

“The film is called Monster and shows that everyone is not safe at home. Two households joined forces to make this film.”

Easter Weekend by Olivia Foan

“A short film by Olivia Foan about spending Easter Weekend in lockdown away from your family in London. Wishing for Northampton, it’s memories and the people that make it home.”

Same Time Tomorrow by Lara Sugden

“Jess and Emily are best friends, and as Emily struggles through an illness, Jess is there to comfort her; but beneath all the joy and laughter, lyes a nightmare, no-one can imagine.”

Stay at Home by Stewart McGrath

We know Stewart as an actor but this is the first short film he has made! “The film was made specifically for the competition and all lockdown rules were obeyed. I live in town, so outside shooting was done during exercise walks.”

Stay Home by Ellie Woodward

“Stay Home, glamourising the concept of ’staying home’, was shot on my iPhone with the sequence very roughly cut together to create the sense of a ‘home movie’. Stay Home was created to celebrate the self in a setting that is familiar, but in a way that is unfamiliar. If the film was to say something in a very simple statement it would be ’staying home is what you make of it’.

Normality has descended into surrealism and by performing normal tasks in a stylised way, with some of the tasks and poses being strange and bizarre, yet in an everyday setting, I am demonstrating the juxtaposition of the everyday and the bizarre. We are all inhabiting our home spaces, but not in a way we have ever done before. The serious way in which slightly ridiculous activities are carried out is also intended to highlight this clash. Another deliberate juxtaposition is the speed of the tasks being performed in comparison to the endless amount of time we have to complete them in.”

The Birds of Barton by Louis Sheldon

A short documentary which explores the wondrous lives of the birds within Earls Barton.

Pulse by Mia and Ava Joyce

“PULSE is a short film set in an alternate reality where in reaction to the Corona Virus pandemic, the government has sent everyone to the safe zones, taking all except one… PULSE is a short film directed, acted and produced by myself (Mia) and my sister Ava Joyce, we are both born and raised in Northampton and this film was filmed at our home in Northampton.”

Guidelines by Harry Saunders

“We are two students from university of Northampton on the BA Acting course. It’s the our first film we have ever made but still was a lot of fun.” At 24 minutes it’s pretty impressive! Contains swearing.

A Dog’s Life: in Lockdown by Corby filmmaker Craig McPhee. ‘

“”It is a short documentary style video showing the challenges my dog faces in isolation, especially when it comes to only being allowed one walk a day per the government’s guidelines. ‘With the country on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Craig reveals the struggle of a Dog’s life during a lockdown. Be prepared for laughs, tears and going ‘Awww’ constantly. Craig MacPhee is an actor, writer, director and producer who is passionate about bringing stories to life, his most recent short film that he wrote, directed, produced and acted in (Don’t Forget Me) based on his own experience of being a carer for his Grandma who has dementia, has helped to raise hundreds of pounds for Alzheimer’s Society through screenings.”

A Walk on the Outside by Rhiannon Pallister

Rhiannon, who is a regular volunteer with Screen Northants, said “Me and my friends and family had a laugh making this while in lockdown. I hope it brings a giggle to your day too.”

The Space by Northampton filmmaker Connor Mclean.

Connor won the 48hr Film Challenge at Northampton Film Festival 2019 and he has also won two of the five 48hr Challenges we’ve run since the 2019 festival. Have a look on his YouTube page to see these films – you may notice a theme!

Lost in Twinslation by SUAGA Productions

“We’re identical twin sisters who grew up in Northamptonshire who are currently isolating separately from one another during the pandemic. Louise is isolating in Northampton and Lucy is isolating in Leicestershire. The documentary follows our journey and experiences during the lockdown, including celebrating our birthdays apart for the first time in our lives and interviews with other twins who are in identical situations.”

The Journey by Kelly Golding

“Moving, she got a little more than she bargained for…”

Reaching Troy by SteamWork Film

An isolation film made for a little fun by two people about 40 miles apart. This the first attempt with green screen (blue screen at Francesca’s), first attempt at making a short film with mobile phones and first attempt at any detailed editing (normally, a great guy in Northampton does that bit). Also, I’m not an actor!

CVT by Ty Gordon-Fordyce and Joe Tapp

“It’s an experimental film me and my friend made separately from each other. He shot it very off the cuff and I saw the potential. We then edited the footage into a short film.”

Alarm Clock by Jorden Heffernan

“Featuring a very old alarm clock and a not so old housemate-turned-actor.”

Stuck Inside Science by Laurence Maybury

Wacky and wonderful from Laurence as ever!

Tick Tock by JCM Photography

“It’s a short film I have written, filmed, sound recorded, acted in and edited all by myself and one of the hardest challenges I’ve ever undertaken…do you know how hard it is to get focus when you’re supposed to be in the shot?! My family and I are in no way actors and I think that may show! Haha. This is the first film piece I have completed by myself and not had someone else to edit along side. It was also my first time using Final Cut Pro X which was an absolute dream to use but with the help of good old YouTube tutorials I manage to get it to what I originally envisaged one sleepless night at about 5am…if not a little less cinematic than it was in my head. I am a photographer at heart, and not a videographer but it was a real fun challenge using moving images rather than stills nonetheless!”

Solitude by Fermynwoods

A short film about being on lockdown by students from The CE Academy working remotely with Fermynwoods Contemporary Art.”

Lockdown Blues by Scarlett Teckman

A short animation by Scarlet, 13yrs.

Lockdown Party at Mandem Towers by Megan Lucas and Julia Langley

Once Upon a Lockdown by Peter Thorn

A 2020 Lockdown take on “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.

Where are we going by Simon Nunn

A film made in lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, exploring the liminal space between past, present and the unknown – a dying man narrates his poetic thoughts as he nears departure.

The Roll by Connor Mclean

Winnie the Pooh is stuck inside all alone. Connor is locked in and nearly out of toilet roll.

Chair by Close Knit Studios

A guy who is in lockdown and starts off nice and clean but general progression takes it’s toll. 38 days into quarantine, he just may have become too reliant on his chair.

A Lovely Shine in Lockdown by Anne-Maris Sandos

“I wrote this as a play over over 6 years ago. I was supposed to perform it at the Corby Cube but suffered with terrible morning sickness and did not get the chance to perform it. Fast forward to now and I saw the call out for films and I thought “Where’s that old script” I bet I could rewrite it to make it work. I am a first time film maker as are my husband and my friend Michelle. We didn’t know what we were doing but we had great fun doing it. I hope that you have fun watching it. This film is PG. If you want to avoid awkward questions watch away from young eyes.”

Self isolation by Blake Ridder starring 2 actors with a connection to Northamptonshire

“After an outbreak, a group of friends stays in touch online during self-isolation. The impact of staying at home takes a dark turn for Jessica.”

NFF 2019 Winners and Runners Up

Best Film in the Northampton category was Ioyln by Northampton Producer Joseph Tapp. The film is still doing its festival run so currently you can’t find it online. Fearing her broken marriage is coming to an end, a Woman manipulates a much younger admirer into kidnapping her in the hope she can force her husband to finally confirm suspicions of an affair.

Best Film on the theme of Coming of Age in the Northampton Category and Best from a 16-25yrs Filmmaker was My Friend Frank by Joel Caborn who wrote and directed the film while studying at the University of Northampton. Charlie loves his mum but she doesn’t look after him properly, sometimes she hurts him. Charlie doesn’t have friends at school but since inheriting a games console, he does online. Watch the trailer here.

Runner up in the Northampton Category was Prey from Northampton company Giant Dwarf with Director James Millar. Watch the film here. John and Lucy are in the middle of a frantic and chaotic escape with their lives literally hanging in the balance… but from what? who? and why?, will they get away or will they become the PREY.

Runner up Coming of Age and 16-25yrs Filmmaker in the Northampton category was Headphones by Northamptonshire Writer/Director Thomas Line which you can watch here. Sarah, an introverted 17 year old shuts out the world with music via her ever present headphones. When these break she is forced to interact with her surroundings. A coming-of-age drama in which elusive detachment must make way for blossoming new relation.

Best Northamptonshire Film went jointly to two films: Hangover Food by Ross McGowan who grew up in Northamptonshire and Keeping K’iche’ by Director/Editor Ashley Williams who is Northamptonshire born and raised. Very different films! Hangover Food tells the tale of how Bruce tries to convince his friend Lee to go out again tonight as Bruce has a chance with a girl but Lee is suffering from the most almighty hangover…. Watch it here and Keeping K’iche is part of a documentary series Lindsay Does Languages. When we think Mayan, we think of a civilisation long gone, of ancient temples and majestic pyramids. We don’t think languages. And we likely don’t think of Mayan people living today and speaking those languages. But that’s exactly what this film is about. Watch it here.

Finally we have Runner Up in the Northamptonshire categoryTroubled Waters by Writer/Director Gemma Norton who is based in Northamptonshire. Viv is engaged in a minute-by-minute psychological battle with herself and her family. A heaviness hangs over the house. The exhausted Viv tries to go about her day, but she’s unable to shake a creeping dread that something’s wrong. Watch it here.