One of the things I most enjoy about being a creative is to support others in their creative endeavours. That’s why, just over two years ago, I launched the Hellfire Film Festival.

The Hellfire Film Festival is a multi-event organisation that showcases the very best (and occasionally the worst) of independent filmmaking. Our flagship event is the Hellfire Short Film Festival. Over 3000 submissions from 141 countries, twelve rounds (plus three semi finals), 163 films screened and we’re now at the Grand Final stage. This takes place at The Brewery Tap UCA Project Space in Folkestone on May 23rd.

I had the day off from my day job yesterday (I work in the box office of a Folkestone theatre) so I spent most of it shopping. More specifically trophy shopping. What use would a Grand Final of a film festival be without prizes? I was torn between a few different types of trophy so I recruited the help of my wife to narrow down that selection to two trophies. Both are a firebrand style, which reflects the name of the festival, so I bought one of one type and five of the other. The awards are for: Best Director; Best Actor; Best Screenplay; Best Editing; Best Sound; and the big one Best Film. The latter’s winner will be decided by audience vote while the other five will be decided by a judging panel.

I enquired about getting a celebrity to host the night but we were looking at a fee of around £4,500 so I made the executive decision to host it myself. I had hosted all the previous rounds so it wasn’t a major issue to decide to host the big one although I’ve only ever spoken publicly to a large crowd once before and that was 26 years ago when I stood in front of my entire school and deliver a 30-minute speech dressed as Julius Caesar complete with toga, sandals, scroll and a wreath made from green paper.

“Friends, Romans, Classmates, lend me your National Curriculums.”

Yes, that was my opening line. You can thank my teacher, Mr Robert Beal at Great Coates Primary School, Grimsby, for the genius script that included obvious references to Life of Brian “What have the Romans ever done for us?”. As a ten-year-old impressionable child I just had to investigate the story of the man mistaken for Christ. The Monty Python masterpiece would go on to become one of my most favourite films of all time.

Coincidentally Life of Brian is being screened at my workplace, the Folkestone Quarterhouse, on Thursday 19th April. If I’m not on location shooting a scene for the No Glory short film (and I suspect I may be) I will definitely be sat in the audience enjoying Graham Chapman and John Cleese in their most iconic roles.

On a final note, if you’re an avid bookworm and also enjoy reading blogs (well, you’re reading this aren’t you…) be sure to check out Zooloo’s Book Blog and vote for her in the Annual Bloggers Bash in the Best Newcomer category. And while we’re on the subject of books, I’ve just completed the three Eddie Dawson novels written by Max Adams. If you enjoy a good WW2-themed story I can’t recommend these three novels any higher.

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