Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Film made for £10 is a winner at the first St Albans Film Festival


Gracious Awakenings, a film made for just £10, was selected from 400 entries to win an award at the St Albans Film festival.

Directed by Ben Jacobs, and starring actor, writer and director James Callas Ball, the film shows a man waking up naked in the English countryside with no idea where he is or how he got there. It won the Special Mention Award in the Main Short Film category.

The two filmmakers were delighted with the award, especially since more than 400 films from 30 countries were entered into the short film competition.

"Gracious Awakenings is the first short film I've directed," said Ben Jacobs. "It was up against some stiff competition and we were delighted to even be shortlisted let alone to win an award! Our budget was around £10 but we had an incredible crew involved - Phillip Canvin, Nik Stojkov, Tim Kramer - who worked ridiculously hard to get the film prepared for the festival."

James said: "The £10 covered a jar of jam - a prop for the film - a four-pack of beer for our mates who were helping us, and the petrol to get to the location. Our thanks go to the organisers of the St Albans Film Festival for a wonderful weekend of events in our hometown and the opportunity to present our work publicly for the first time."

The duo are currently writing and planning their next project, another short comedy.

Time 2 Split, made by French filmmaker Fabrice Bracq won the Main Short Film award. Bracq, 38, has been making films for 20 years, including one feature film. Time 2 Split cost €3,500 to make and is a poignant look at the relationship between a couple with a child.

"This is a fantastic film," said Leoni Kibbey, the Festival Director. "It is very moving and strikes a real chord. Bracq is a very talented filmmaker and I am sure he will win many more awards in his career. I am also really happy that a number of first-time filmmakers won awards too, like Ben and James, and also the winner of our Film for Kids, Peter Butler, with his film Baggage.

Film Festivals should capture the spirit of what St Albans filmmaker Stanley Kubrick said, that anyone can pick up a camera and create a film worth watching, and the St Albans Film Festival is proof of that." 

There weresix categories in the film competition, and also an award given to the overall Best Actor in any of the categories. The Best Actor award was given to Kerensa York, for her role in Lines in the Sand, a short directed by Michael Gilroy, an actor-director who recently featured in Professor Green's latest music video.

Leoni said the Festival had been a huge success and the whole city had got behind it. "I am thrilled with how our first festival has gone. It was meeting the visiting filmmakers who had travelled to the city to take part and seeing sell-out audiences for our short film screenings that brought home the success of this inaugural event. Plans are already underway for next year's event  and we hope to come back even bigger and better in March 2014."