Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Film director’s blazing a trail all the way to Berlin

Film director’s blazing a trail all the way to Berlin

AN emerging filmmaker based in Aston is one of seven directors competing to secure a £1million investment in their next project.

Jo Southwell will be flying out to attend this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, which runs from next Thursday (February 7) to Sunday, February 17.

The competition in which she is a finalist — That Film Festival — embarked on its quest to discover the next top film director early last year with hundreds of aspiring filmmakers from around the globe submitting their short films to be showcased at the Cannes, London and Marbella film festivals.

The best short films were picked from each festival, including Jo’s aeroplane-set comedy Entrance No Exit, and now the seven directors in the final are just one challenge away from the opportunity of a lifetime.

The winner will receive a £1 million investment to fund the production of their feature film and the prize also includes a year’s worth of marketing from the festival sponsor, The Agency, plus a year’s international sales and distribution support courtesy of Carnaby International.

Equipped with a script from writer Kevin Langdon Ackerman, the finalists have been given under one month to shoot and edit a short film.

They will be screened and judged by a panel of film professionals and active film investors in Berlin with the winner being announced at the That Film Festival awards dinner next Saturday (February 9).

The winning director will also star in a nine-part TV docu-series that will follow their journey as they make the feature film.

Jo, who is already the award-winning director of seven short films and one television episode, is the only woman to be selected.

She said: “I am delighted to have my work recognised and place me in the final as the only female director. As a filmmaker I am striving to direct my first feature with a budget, so this opportunity is one I need to go for. It has also created the opportunity to direct another short film, which is always great fun.”

Jo’s competition entry is being produced by Rachel Gold, who last year received a grant from the prestigious John Brabourne Awards towards a feature film that is currently in development.

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