Student's film entered into prestigious American festival

Richard Stephenson (right) behind the scenes of Amicus.

THE SPOTLIGHT is on a Staffordshire University film student after his short drama production was selected for a prestigious festival in the USA.

Richard Stephenson, 20, a BA(Hons) Media (Film) Production student, was contacted by festival organisers through online video sharing website Vimeo.

The organisers of the Seattle-based National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), which is attended by 10,000 people annually, contacted Richard to request he enter his film, Amicus.

It is a story of a young woman stuck in a dead end job, desperate to follow her friends’ adventurous spirits and move away. A kind elderly gentleman, who she has known for two years, helps make her dreams come true.

Richard, from Leeds, said: “When I started making the film I had the idea that I wanted to send it to festivals. I never for a minute thought it would be screening in Seattle though.

“It was through Vimeo that I got a message from one of the festival coordinators – I didn’t contact them. It was quite a surprise.”

He added: “This is the first festival Amicus will be shown at, but my aim is to enter it into as many festivals as possible, and I’ll keep pushing it around the country and abroad.”

The film, made on a £400 budget, was shot entirely in Stoke-on-Trent in December last year. The inspiration for the story came from Richard’s own life, working in a job he didn’t enjoy.

He said: “The film came from my own experiences of being in a dead end job – stacking shelves at a local supermarket – where I felt unappreciated and undervalued, and from having a grandparent needing meals on wheels.

“Amicus was a joy to write and create, as it was so easy to draw on personal experience. The best part of the production was seeing my script go from the page to the big screen.”

Richard is now looking for jobs and is also working on his next production.

He said: “My course at Staffordshire University and being encouraged to submit my film to festivals has been a big confidence booster. It is very practical and the technical side is second to none.

“I’m now searching for positions in film production houses and working on a scifi film for my final project.”

Daniel Hopkins, senior lecturer for Media (Film) Production, said: “This is a great opportunity for Richard and really shows the power of websites like Vimeo.

“We encourage our students to submit their films to as many film festivals as possible, so it’s great when the festivals pick up on a film like Richard’s for inclusion.

“This continues the long list of film festival successes that our students on Media (Film) Production have had.”

The National Film Festival for Talented Youth is a three day festival and runs from April 28 to May 1 in Seattle, Washington.


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