With the Lowestoft Film Festival returning for 2023, co-founder Joshua Freemantle explains how the aim is to develop the platform that supports young aspiring filmmakers and local students – plus two award winners from last year’s inaugural festival sum up their experience
Following the success of 2022’s inaugural Lowestoft Film Festival, which saw 86 screenings held across three community venues and over 2000 attendees, the festival is set to return, featuring a wide selection of short films from filmmakers locally and nationally that are yet to be discovered or picked up by the bigger film festival circuit. The celebration of film, featuring 11 award categories, saw nearing 400 entries submitted last year, including best British short, animation, documentary, experimental and East Anglian student film.
All officially selected entries will get the chance to have their film debut as part of the festival programme, with shortlisted entries going on to be judged for the chance to win a prestigious award. Judges for last year’s categories included Ella Glendining, the writer/director dedicated to telling authentic disabled stories.
Abi Miller Sutton entered her first film Disastrous, starring Olivia Evans. Abi, who grew up in East Africa and is now living in Suffolk, says: ‘It was such an amazing festival, with lovely people and brilliant films to watch! I’m so grateful to have been nominated and involved in Lowestoft Film Festival.’
New director Jack Heydon entered his film, Practice, about a man trying to pluck up the courage to get into the dating game. The film was shot while his girlfriend had Covid in the flat, so he had to shoot, write, act, edit and sound record everything on his own. He says: ‘It was an excellent festival run by some passionate people, it’s exciting to have a festival like this in Suffolk and I’m excited to see it grow in the future!’
LFF features two new categories for 2023, including ‘short film made by under 16s’, a completely free category open to individuals or groups aged under 16, and ‘break the stigma’, supported by regional charity Access Community Trust, which is for progressive films that focus on the subject of mental health or homelessness. The winner of this category will receive the opportunity to co-produce a thought-provoking Christmas campaign with Sunrise Studios, for the charity that supports some of the most vulnerable across the region.
Joshua Freemantle, Development Producer of Sunrise Studios that delivers the festival, says: ‘We are passionate about continuing to grow this celebration of undiscovered talent and independent film held in the heart of Lowestoft. By continuing to actively support and champion filmmaking in the town, the wider southeast region and nationally. Allowing filmmakers to showcase their work within the coastal town on the big screen for audiences to enjoy.’
The festival wouldn’t be possible without the support of Access Community Trust, Film Hub South East and the local authorities and business sponsorship which last year included Lowestoft Town Council and East Suffolk Council as well as the community venue partners that assisted the LFF team in bringing independent films in front of audiences that they otherwise wouldn’t engage with.
Filmmakers can submit any short films less than 30 minutes to the festival via the FilmFreeway website, with submission fees starting at £3 or less. Full details about fees, rules and all of our entry categories can be found here: Submissions – Lowestoft Film Festival.
Featured image of LFF co-founder Joshua Freemantle, during the 2022 award ceremony, by Charlotte McGuinness