This year’s Pitch film competition winner is Andy Toovey from Pontypool in South Wales.
Entering the competition for the second year running Andy impressed the five industry judges with his short film drama ‘Only Child’.
His story ‘Only Child’ is based on the story of David and Bathsheba. Many other interpretations of this story glamorise their affair but this story is told from Bathsheba’s perspective. It’s set in a contemporary gypsy community - a goldfish bowl type existence and is about a dysfunctional couple, who have a child which tragically dies and the story shows how they grapple with and share their grief.
Actor, David Gyasi, one of the industry judges said, “Andy was unanimously chosen! He came in with a strong pitch on the first day, took on board the feedback given to him, interpreted it and his passion really shone through. He came across as someone we felt the £25K not only mattered to but he also presented a beautiful piece of work. The retelling of this story from Bathsheba’s perspective is something that is often missed. The bit about loss is very compelling. His film idea is current and relevant in today’s society.”
Speaking about how he feels about winning Andy says: “I’m over the moon, cock-a-hoop, Sky’s the limit and all those cliché phrases! I really thought I’d blown it yesterday as I lost my way loads of times, the questions asked of me were like bullets to my heart and so I went away with lots of things to work on. Last night the adrenaline kept me awake but I did lots of reworking; I was pleased with my performance today and I felt it went so much better. Speaking about the work ahead he said, “There is a lot of tearing down and rebuilding to do. I do enjoy building stories up and I know I’m going to enjoy the process but first I’m going to go home, see my family, give my kids a big hug and buy them some little pressies on the way!”
Luke Walton, Project Director said, “This is our best year yet! It was a strong competition with a fantastic judging panel, lively debate, some emotionally connecting and vibrant stories. We have a winner in Andy who quite frankly knocked it out of the park! It is only the second time in the competition when we’ve had a unanimous decision. Andy won because he listened very carefully to the feedback given. He worked really hard, started writing new stuff and delivered new beats to the story in a very precise way. One of the secrets of this competition is to take on board what you learn on day one and apply it to the second day. His story was well thought through with cinematic vision. I look forward to the challenge of producing this film with him.”
New to the competition this year were runners-up Kelly Holmes with World War One themed idea “Attrition” and Justin Hirschorn with social media based story “Cassie”. The judging panel chose both of these ideas to go forward; intrigued by ‘Attrition’ as they thought the combination of WW1 and miracles in the trenches was something they’d not seen before, whilst ‘Cassie’ resonated due to the topical nature of social media.
35 year old Kelly Holmes, Screen Academy Scotland student from Edinburgh, pitched with ATTRITION. A World War One drama based on the two biblical prophets, Elisha and Elijah. A story about power and sacrifice which in the end turns out to be more about compassion. So fascinated by the story of Elisha, (especially the transference of power he receives from Elijah), and the admirable relationship between the two of them, gave Kelly a great starting point on which to base the character of Private Orderly following his Captain to the front line.
“I’m definitely going to make ATTRITION because I'm so passionate about the story. I was amazed to get so far and so fortunate to be in the top three. The prize is a great starting point and I now need to develop the script and an experienced producer to take this short film from script to screen. I'm looking for investors to start a crowd funding campaign. This is an ambitious project, but one I'm extremely passionate about with a strong story and visuals."
Kelly captured the imagination of the judges with her pitch by bringing the supernatural to the trenches of World War One.
33 year old Justin Hirschorn, film maker from Wimbledon pitched CASSIE, a teen genre film tackling social media issues. It’s based on a biblical story where a woman was caught in the act of adultery and the Pharisees brought her to Jesus to humiliate her. The story of CASSIE very much focusses on a woman in a crowd but everyone is aware of what she has done but no one really sees her as a fellow person who has simply made a mistake. The core theme is about dignity and restoration.
“It has been so great just to be here! I have enjoyed the experience of pitching: I’ve been able to tell my story and have a chance to really develop. It’s been a great opportunity for me to sense- check my work; making sure it makes sense to other people, and by coming back a second day, a real chance for me to iron out some of the creases in my story.”
This story really resonated with the panel as social media is so topical and was felt it could be a useful aid in the fight against cyberbullying. It’s a great example of making a story told over 2000 years ago so relevant today - despite all the advances in technology.