The culmination of the 7th English Riviera Film Festival sparkled in the Hi Tech & Digital Centre at South Devon College. New filmmakers were celebrated, and a past winner was remembered during a day of short film from around the world and the South West.
The Awards Day Screenings is the finale of a week of film events at Artizan Gallery and Torquay Museum. In all more than 50 films were shown and filmmakers were attracted from throughout the region and UK.
Two years ago the English Riviera Film Festival was the first event in the multi-million, purpose-built venue at South Devon College. Six months later the venue was closed due to the pandemic.
With the event back in real life, the educational element of creative collaboration was high on the agenda. Two students from South Devon College were recognised for their involvement in the 72-hour filmmaking challenge. Digital media, makeup, music and performance students created two short films under time constraints.
Bookmarking the screenings was the pensive and taut The Box by Vivien Reid and a trailer premiere for the forthcoming musical short Between The Lines.
But that wasn’t the end of the films, Phil John from Baobab Film shared the trailer for their feature Last Orders, due to land in 2022. Winners who were unable to attend sent video messages. And one such message from 2019 was poignantly shared.
In 2019, DOP Halyna Hutchins won an English Riviera Film Festival award for her work on Treacle. Halyna’s filmed acceptance speech from then was shared. Halyna died in 2021 as the result of a tragic accident on the film set.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Halyna Hutchins. It was an honour to show your work as DOP in Treacle in 2019, and to recognise your amazing talent as Best Cinematography for that year. Gone too soon and you will be missed
Each winner at the English Riviera Film Festival is presented with a piece of handmade crystal from Our Glass of Cockington Court. And it’s something that’s enriching to know that not only does the ERFF attract films from around the world, but these pieces of Torbay are sent across the globe.
Films screened ranged from Devon, the South West, UK, France, Spain, Slovenia, Argentina, and the USA.
Replay – a French film which sees a 17-year-old exploring sound and memory to wake up his comatosed mother, while his father is concerned about increasing isolation through false hope – picked up two awards for Bridget O’Driscoll. One for best director, and the other shared with Jerome Wiciak for Best screenplay.
Guide Me Home
Also a sensory and emotional heavy hitter, Guide Me Home was the big winner on the night. It gained three awards. Best film and best director for director Stefan Georgiou. And Best Score, which went to Harry Brokensha. The short is a plea to recognise each person’s value and call to guard against people falling through the cracks.
In his best actor winning role for Lifelike, Michael Muyunda plays a sci-fi enthusiast who eschews then craves human connection.
Best actress went to Amanda Santo in the Spanish film Gods. She narrates a coming apocalypse that science exacerbated and can’t avoid.
Capturing the human impact of Covid through the aspiration of runners in Wales marked Best Foot Forward as winning documentary for director Lewis Carter and producer Kate Beasley.
Kate Beard and Naomi Turner won best Devon film for Wake, a dance film that draws you through the sphere of life.
Argentinian animation On/Off, which warns about the distractions to creativity, picked up the best animation award.
The imaginative Beloved, a queer feminist retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein using puppets, bagged Melanie Stockton-Brown and Amy Tatum best newcomers.
The English Riviera Film Festival’s director’s award went to Agatha Swims, a revisit of the beautiful Torbay coast through the swimming habits of another Torbay great, Agatha Christie. Director Amanda Bluglass, producer Karen Marshall and author and wild swimmer Matt Newbury were on hand to pick up the award.
Best film from Devon: Wake – Katie Bear and Naomi Turner
Best film: Guide Me Homes – Stefan Georgiou
Best documentary: Best foot Forward – Lewis Carter and Kate Beasley
Best Animated Film: on/off – Nicolas P Villarreal
Best director: Bridget O’Driscoll -Replay
Best cinematography: Keidrych Wasley – Guide Me Home
Best Score : Harry Brokensha – Guide me Home
Best Actor: Michael Muyunda – Lifelike
Best Actress: Amanda Santos – Gods
Best screenplay: Bridget O’Driscoll and Jerome Wiciak – Replay
Director’s choice: Agatha Swims – Amanda Bluglass and Karen Marshall
top image: Between The Lines trailer premiered at the English Riviera Film Festival Awards Day
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