Two talented Northern filmmakers have scooped awards at the inaugural Northern Film Prize – a new award launched to recognise short filmmaking that captures the spirit and heart of the North East of England.
Andy Berriman, a film and theatre director from Stockton-on-Tees, won the Professional Filmmakers Award alongside writer Alex Oates, and Frank Berry, a Yorkshire-based writer-director who graduated from the Northern Film School, was awarded the Amateur Filmmakers Award.
A judging panel featuring filmmaker Thomas Bentley and playwright Michael Chaplin presented the winners with their prizes at Alnwick StoryFest over the weekend.
Andy Berriman and Alex Oates’ powerful and gritty short film “Mortal” was shot in Cambois. The film follows longstanding alcoholic Trevor as he returns to the working men’s club he once frequented with his brother to reminisce on the past.
In a joint statement, the pair commented: “We’re thrilled to have won the inaugural Northern Film Prize. We set out to put our beautiful and idiosyncratic region on screen and to be acknowledged in this way is hugely encouraging. Thank you to Alnwick Storyfest and, of course, LJ Ross for having us.”
Frank Berry’s gripping, dystopian short film “Glaciers” tells the tale of a father and son on a remote family farm as they struggle to protect their livelihood, and relationship, from the devastating effects of climate change.
Frank said: "It is an honour to win the Northern Film Prize with 'Glaciers'. Events such as this are invaluable in showcasing all that the North has to offer the film industry, and what better place to do this, than the incredible Alnwick Castle? Long may it continue."
The two winning films were screened at a special event hosted by Alnwick Castle as part of Alnwick StoryFest on Saturday 25 February, where the winners each took home a cash prize of £1,000.
Launched in collaboration with the Alnwick Storyfest, the prize was founded and sponsored by bestselling author LJ Ross through her publishing imprint, Dark Skies. She commented: “I launched this prize for a number of reasons – to offer financial support to filmmakers, but also to help build and maintain confidence among new, emerging and established filmmakers whose work celebrates our region. The organisers and judges were overwhelmed by the response and the amount of quality submissions, which certainly highlights the region’s rich, creative edge and further establishes its reputation as a centre for filmmaking excellence.”
The theme for this year’s edition of the prize was ‘transformation’ and entrants, none of whom were employed in a full-time capacity as filmmakers, were required to submit one short film of no longer than ten minutes. This year’s judging panel consisted of professional filmmakers and creative industry professionals Thomas Bentley, Michael Chaplin, Catherine Neil, Magnus Dennison and LJ Ross.
The Northern Film Prize shortlist featured the following entries:
Professional Filmmakers Award shortlist
Davey Poremba – “Changeling”
Andy Berriman – “Mortal”
Oliver Smith – “Eldon Light Parade”
Amateur Filmmakers Award shortlist
Elizabeth Fortune – “Very Local Hero”
Frank Berry – “Glaciers”
Aziz Altamimi – “Becoming the Queen of the North”