First Light Awards celebrate young filmmakers at Odeon Leicester Square
Multitudes of photographers and journalists gathered on Tuesday at the Odeon in Leicester Square for an event that provides vital support for junior filmmakers across the UK. This was the prestigious 11th First Light Awards, a ceremony dedicated to showcasing and nurturing the crop of Britain’s young and talented film artists, as well as setting up film clubs in primary schools nationwide. The event was attended by a number of well recognised names, among them Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, Rafe Spall, and veteran and celebrated director, Sir Alan Parker.
As the press waited eagerly outside, the actors presenting the awards emerged. In the first wave was Warren Brown (The Dark Knight Rises, Luther) who hosted the Film Club of the Year award. He told The Upcoming, “Today is a prime example of congratulating developing talent. It’s frightening to think that kids here, kids this young, are coming out with fantastic stuff.”
Rafe Spall (Life of Pi, I Give it a Year) awarded the prize for Digital Innovation of the Year to short film The Perfect Storm. He opined on the immense pressures that young filmmakers face and spoke with great understanding on the need for the First Light Awards: “They’ve got no money, they’ve got nobody behind them and they’re coming from a pure place where they want to create. These guys haven’t got the same chances, so it’s great that something like this exists.” The Upcoming asked him what advice he would give to those participating in the awards and to those considering applying, to which he replied, “Be brave and be confident. Confidence will take you many miles. Encouragement is vital too – encouragement is worth its weight in gold.”
After presenting the Best Film by Over 13’s award, Sir Alan Parker explained why the award was important for both the British Film Industry and the recognition of young talent. He spoke with consideration about the potential future of the applicants: “The results speak for themselves, really. People are getting the opportunity and in the end it’s the opportunity that matters. The fact that kids are getting the chance to show their work is what it’s all about.”
It was gratifying to witness the raw creative talent coming from young and upcoming directors, actors, animators and other pivotal participants in filmmaking. Winner of the FLIC Award, Glen Leddikel commented: “This is what separates me from other people; I’ve been given the opportunity to do something remarkable.” Regardless of social standing, background or age, this was a day dedicated these gifted filmmakers. With cuts being made to the UK’s creative industry, it would be a devastating blow if funding to the First Light Award scheme failed. Long may it prevail, and may it inspire future generations of filmmakers for years to come.
Photos: Conor Nyhan
For further information about the First Light Awards and its winners visit here.