Victoria Hayford's powerful LFS graduation film Softly Softly, Catchy Monkey has been nominated for the Best Drama award at the London International Story First festival, which takes place in January 2018.
The film tells the story of Michael. For thirty years, guilt and resentment has held together his relationship with his father, Albert, with whom he still lives in the family home. When Michael starts a relationship with his boss, Valerie, and struggles with intimacy, he blurts out a secret he has not revealed to anyone outside his family in decades. Learning that Michael was sexually abused as a child, Valerie rejects him and pushes an already volatile Michael into confronting his past and the part which Albert played in it.
Victoria graduated in December 2016 and made the film with the help of fellow students Amna Levi (Associate Producer), Matthew Thomas (Camera Asst) and Dhruv Tripathi (Camera Asst). It was also screened at this year's Kinofilm14th Manchester International Short Film Festival, which took place on November 21st.
“Let's just stay I was ecstatic when I heard of the Best Drama nomination at London International Story First Film Festival as it was so unexpected”, says Victoria. “After the deluge of rejections from other festivals I wasn't even expecting to be selected, let alone receive a nomination. Quite apart from feeling somehow validated as a filmmaker, the nomination made me feel even more confident that the story was worth telling as it has connected to people - which is always my intent as a filmmaker.”
Victoria, who is based in London, is currently developing the feature version of Softly Softly Catchy Monkey, in addition to other projects. “My graduation film was intended to be a showreel, for want of a better word. I hope that it will give producers an idea of the world, story and characters and how all of that might work in the longform. Therefore, I am now rewriting the feature script and will be on the hunt for a producer in the new year with a view to realising the project in the very near future. With the nomination under my belt and a short version of the film as a taster, hopefully it should not be too hard to attract a producer.”
Good luck to Victoria and the team, and congratulations on the nomination!
Watch the trailer at: https://vimeo.com/221480470
The London International Story First Film Festival is an international festival, which will take place in January 2018, at an independent cinema in London. The festival awards fiction short films (animation and live action) up to 20 mins from anywhere in the world, in the categories of Best Comedy, Best Drama and Best Genre Film (Horror, Sci-Fi and Thriller).
The festival has a strong mission statement: “As filmmakers ourselves, we believe that great storytelling lies at the heart of good films. We think a compelling, entertaining or provoking story with original characters and ideas is far more important than the camera used on the film, or the lighting budget, or much else for that matter (except sound; good sound is vital). That's why we started the London International STORY FIRST Film Festival and Awards - to reward filmmakers for their storytelling abilities rather than their proximity to oodles of cash. We also believe film festivals needs to do more to address inequality in the industry - we have been to too many where only 10-20% of acceptances are women and there's very little ethnic diversity. We keep our submission fees low to encourage submissions from productions that may not have the backing of big production companies or a wealthy relative. We strongly encourage applications from under-represented groups, such as women and BAME filmmakers, and will judge projects on their storytelling skills and filmmaking craft, regardless of budget.”