Northern Ireland has three nominations in this year’s UK-wide star-studded Into Film Awards which take place in Leicester Square on March 18, hosted by top comic actor and author David Walliams.
The Into Film Awards discover and honour the most talented and innovative young filmmakers, reviewers and Into Film Clubs, as well as recognising the dedication of educators who use film as an education tool.
Nominees include 19-year-old Mercer MacWilliam Hughes from Lisburn who is competing for the Best Film (16-19) for ‘Bob’s Your Uncle’ about a bickering brother and sister who embark on a treasure hunt left to them by their late uncle in his will.
Mercer said: “I feel incredibly privileged to have been nominated and to able to share this story that means so much to me with an audience of young people who might be able to relate to some of the issues that I worked through in Bob’s Your Uncle. “
Drelincourt Primary School from Armagh is one of three schools in the running for Film Club of the Year (11 and under). The club, which is run by the P3 children, will be going to London as part of a 16 strong party of pupils and staff. The tiny rural school with its current enrolment of 20 pupils includes 80% of EAL (English as an Additional Language) children from a variety of countries including Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Bulgaria, Poland and of course Northern Ireland.
Club leader Sharon Walker and principal Eileen Trew said: “We are absolutely thrilled beyond words to be nominated for Film Club of the year. Drelincourt is a small school with young children and we are so proud of all they can do. This nomination validates their outstanding achievements and I think is a real encouragement that even little schools can do big things through film.”
One of the club members, Chloe added: “I am so excited about our club being nominated because the P3’s work really hard to make a great film club for the P1 and P2’s.”
Another small rural school, St John’s Primary School at Dernaflaw, Dungiven, has been nominated for the Best Film (11 and Under) for ‘Change Starts With Us’ a film about bullying. The film was made by the P6 class of 12 pupils.
Teacher Gary Lynch said: “I am absolutely thrilled for my class to have gained such an achievement as they are a wonderful group to teach and have worked very hard together in creating their video. The children and staff are buzzing with excitement as we are taking the huge trip to London for the Into Film Awards with the possibility of meeting celebrities from the film industry.”
Cliona (9) added: “We were thrilled when we discovered the brilliant news that we were in the final three within our category. To win would be amazing! However even if we don’t win, we feel like we are already winners anyway as we have gotten this far in the competition.”
David Walliams, who attended the awards last year as a guest presenter, takes up the reins to host this year’s ceremony after being inspired by the wealth of young talent.
“I love the Into Film Awards because it gives the opportunity to young people, from all kinds of backgrounds, to be a part of the film industry. As an actor, these young people are the future, and you want them to give you a job one day! Anything that encourages creativity is important, we have an amazing film industry in this country which is often ignored by politicians and we need to support it. Into Film is an amazing charity,” he said.
The Into Film Awards, now in its seventh year, celebrates young people’s creativity in film, showcasing and highlighting the wealth of tomorrow’s creative talent. Young people from across the UK whose short films and reviews have been nominated will be recognised at the star-studded ceremony, which has previously been attended by some of the biggest stars in the industry including Daniel Craig, Eddie Redmayne, Lily James, Luke Evans, Gemma Arterton, Charles Dance, Ruth Wilson, Bill Nighy, Simon Pegg, Martin Freeman and Naomie Harris.
The Into Film Awards are a key highlight in the year-round educational activity offered by charity Into Film, which provides educational resources and exclusive activities to schools and colleges in the UK. The Awards are championed by Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, who is an Into Film Trustee, and the charity counts Eddie Redmayne, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Naomie Harris and Michael Sheen among its longstanding ambassadors.
The Into Film Awards are sponsored by the UK film industry and supported by the BFI with National Lottery funding.
For more information about the Into Film Awards: https://www.intofilm.org/awards