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Keighley Film Festival 2018

Keighley is a town with a deep heritage of creativity and is famous for the Brontë sisters, for being the location where Ridley Scott filmed the classic Hovis ‘Bike’ advert (although that seems to be contested, and was apparently filmed in Dorset), it’s the birthplace of Oscar winning screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, and according to an exhibit in the newly restored Cliffe Castle Park Museum, was once home to Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca.

More recently the town has become a popular filming location and has welcomed stars such as Harvey Keitel, Liv Tyler, Gabriel Burn, Kit Harrington, and possibly Bill Nighy, Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy.

It should come as no surprise then that this small town has its own international film festival.  The festival is called the River Aire Ten Minute Amateur Film Festival, mercifully known as RATMA for short.  Originally the festival was the idea of a student from Keighley College.  Now in its 6th year it had over 300 entries from all over the world.

It’s quite a unique affair.  As far as festival organiser Marcus Gregg is aware, it’s the only multi-genre film festival that’s free to enter and imposes the strict ten minute maximum duration. He adds ‘There are other “short film” festivals but with films up to 40 minutes long, films that are ten minutes or less are easily lost and ignored.  There are one minute film festivals, but these are often gimmicky affairs with a lack of general story telling.  So I’m pleased with what we have as a model and the each year festival is a real gem‘.

Distant Future is a proud sponsor of the animation category this year and I was asked to judge the animation category and present the award at last Saturday’s ceremony.

Hosted by the glorious Keighley Picture House, the ceremony was attended by local film makers, production companies, film fans and Keighley’s MP, John Grogan.  The event was also streamed live attracting viewers from countries including Germany, India, Israel, Romania, America and Tibet.

Working for an animation company that’s won awards for its work including 2D character animation, 3D product animation and motion graphics production, I spend most of my creative time crafting marketing materials for products and services, essentially telling other people’s stories.  Being part of the awards and seeing so many entries where people from different cultures tell their own stories was really inspirational and has got me thinking about the kind of stories I’d tell if I was writing my own film or animation.  I do have one story in mind but I want to keep it under wraps for now as it’s quite a big project for one person to undertake.

The winner of the animation category was The Little Hero by Elena Ciolacu.  As the film is currently out on the festival circuit, you’re unlikely to see it on YouTube or anywhere else in the near future, but you can see a quick making-of and the trailer for the film on these two links.

Making of:



Congratulations to everyone who took part in the festival and to the organisers for such a successful event.  I know they have big plans for next year as well so keep an eye on their Facebook page for information about 2019.


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