Film festival celebrates young talent

Sara Ashraf looks back at another cultural highlight in the Waltham Forest calendar

Lost Bear

A still from Lost Bear, a film by primary school pupil Ruby Moore that was shortlisted in the Walthamstow International Film Festival

The Walthamstow International Film Festival hosted its seventh annual festival in July at the Empire Cinema and Vestry House Museum.

The festival, founded in 2010 by husband and wife duo Liza and Paul Fletcher, promotes film and broadcast diversity and celebrates unusual and thought-provoking films, especially from young people.

Walthamstow is the setting for this launchpad, where over the years it has become a hub for culture and arts to showcase unique talent from all around the world that are putting on UK film projects.

Entries were shortlisted across five categories; animation, drama, documentary, experimental, silent, and under-18s. The shortlist included Tom Bloor’s Jellico’s Despatch, a beautiful animated puppetry folklore tale; Carol Gyasi’s documentary Kayayo, which follows the plight of young Ghanaian girls who carry heavy loads on their heads in the country’s capital; South Woodford-based Hassan Vawda’s film Ghar, which features his Indian grandmother; Otis Tree’s film Boyhood, another experimental nostalgic family journey into his early relationship with film; Paul Murphy’s drama The Weather Report, which is set before the end of the Second World War and retells how a seminal moment in our history was influenced by one such report; Joshua Ong’s drama Redemption River, which was shortlisted for the under-18s category; and the equally-powerful Cyclist by Tamuka Walker.

Both Joshua and Tamuka attend the Holy Family Technology College in Shernhall Street. First-time filmmaker Ruby Moore, who attends a primary school in the borough, also relates the tale of a misplaced teddy in Lost Bear.

The outstanding winners were chosen by four judges from the world of directing, distribution, education, and journalism, including former Walthamstow resident Noel Goodwin who is the director of young people’s film, education and festivals at the British Film Institute.

In third place was Kayayo and in second place was L’Heure Magique, by Yannick Sanchez, an experimental masterpiece exploring the city at rush hour which was category winner in the experimental genre. But in first place was Silence, a romantic drama set in a cinema which shows us that love overcomes everything. Russian-based director Elena Brodach’s short film was category winner in the silent genre.

Walthamstow International Film Festival holds a programme of workshops, screenings, talks and lectures hosted across the year by Liza and Paul to educate on filmmaking and the arts by teaching attendees to be experimental and creative.

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