Pontefract film-maker recognised at international festival

A film-maker, who is celebrating after being recognised at an international festival, is encouraging others to pursue careers in cinematograpy.

Ben Brown

Ben Brown won the Yorkshire Short Film Award at Leeds International Film Festival last month for a short documentary he shot and directed with girlfriend Lia Hayes.

Entitled STAN, the film told the story of a man who runs a fish and chip shop in Harehills, Leeds. The pair stumbled across him whilst they were filming for another project in the area.

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Mr Brown, 28, who grew up in Pontefract, said: "The message of the film is about hidden talent and the idea that people that you pass by without thinking about it each day, they have all got these talents and these passions and this creativity that they don't necessarily get to express.

STAN the documentary.

"We thought it was fascinating that Stan was interested in poetry and the more we talked to him, the more we discovered he was a really decent and really interesting human being. It was great to be able to tell his story."

Mr Brown plans to enter the documentary into other festivals across the world, and hopes its message and success inspires others to get into film-making.

"When I was growing up in Pontefract, I didn't particularly hear about a lot of creative things that were going on," he said.

"It wasn't until I moved away for university that I released what I could do and what opportunities were out there.

STAN the documentary.

"That may have changed now but people still might think they aren't able to go and make films, that it is something unreachable but it is not.

"If you work hard and put yourself in the right places, you can do anything really."

Mr Brown's passion for film-making was first ignited at Pontefract New College, where he studied media.

After receiving praise for his camera work, he went on to study a degree in media production at Newcastle University.

He then returned to the area to work for several arts companies, before completing a master's degree in film-making and cinematography in Leeds.

Now he works on a freelance basis, doing camera work for local organisations as well the BBC and ITV, and is currently a camera assistant on Emmderdale.

He makes short films in his spare time with his film editor girlfriend.

Mr Brown said: "We were very surprised that STAN got recognition. We were just chuffed.

"We don't like to get ahead of ourselves but it was nice to spend the night with family and friends and celebrate winning something against the odds. We didn't have a budget or a film crew like some of the other films that won awards.

"When you're proud to be from a certain place it is nice when you can show where you have come from and what you've achieved.

"Now I hope to spread the word about film-making in our local communities."