The Young and the Brave

Being a movie fan occasionally has its rewards. Let’s not forget for a second that watching films, at the cinema at least, is becoming quite an expensive interest. The cost of tickets and refreshments is soaring (along with everything else, sadly), to the point that adult tickets now generally cost £7 or more – although dvd prices seem to be falling, which goes some way towards balancing things out, I guess. If I tried to work out how much I spent a year on cinema trips and dvds, I would probably break down and sob for several days. And then buy a dvd to cheer myself up.

But just occasionally, your movie fan reputation opens up an unexpected door or two. This past July, because of my locally renowned status as an all-round movie egghead, I was asked to judge a young filmmakers competition. This was a real honour to me – everything I know about films I’ve gleaned from watching them and reading articles in print or on the web. So to be considered experienced enough to actually judge other films critically was quite something.

The films I judged were two minutes long and made by primary school children, but they were all enthusiastically made, and it was a pleasure to see the planning and hard work that had gone in to them. The sense that I was perhaps contributing to a filmmaking community was almost palpable. And their efforts were well worth watching. It is something I hope I can contribute to again.

The icing on the cake was the guest of honour at the awards ceremony in Cambridge, Son of Rambow star Will Poulter. A thoroughly charming and gracious young man, he happily signed autographs for all the kids (and some adults too… ahem). It was apparently the first time he had been mobbed for signings; once he has finished filming the next Narnia flick, there will probably be a few more.

The experience has really inspired me to take up pen and parchment and give this damn filmmaking thing a go, something I have wanted to do for ages but never had sufficient inspiration to make it happen. If the young ‘uns can do it, then surely a thirty-something wannabe critic can do too. But I had better be quick, because the green shoots of new talent are starting to show…

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