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BFI Film Academy graduate wins major film festival prize

Sam Jones, 16, who took part in our BFI Film Academy last October, has just won the prestigious fiction award at the Future Film Festival on London’s South Bank.

His film, O2, an eight-minute thriller set on an isolated moor in the middle of Saddleworth Moor at some unspecified time in the future, features a desperate battle for survival between two teenage murderers (Alfie Robinson & Henry Barlow) who find themselves on the bleak moor with only ten minutes in which to terminate each other before their oxygen runs out.

Sam, who goes to Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, first started making films using the webcam on his laptop, before graduating to using more sophisticated equipment and setting up his own filmmaking company, Gorilla Filmmaking Productions. Sam and his actors and crew spent a day on the moors last September and shot around six hours of footage.

“I have been making films for around six years,” says Sam, “and I hope to continue doing so for many more. I love the fact that what started as a hobby could become my future career.”

You’ll be hearing a lot more of Sam, because he’s just been selected to take part in a two-week residential filmmaking course at the prestigious National Television and Film School in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, which takes place this Easter.

“I know that the film industry is incredibly competitive,” Sam adds, “but I’m sure that courses like the BFI Film Academy at Cornerhouse, and the course at the National Television and Film School, will help push me towards my aim of becoming a director.”