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Pupils at West Suffolk College, in Bury St Edmunds, celebrate after 'Maximus' film wins prestigious HollyShort award

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Pupils from West Suffolk College, in Bury St Edmunds, were celebrating after a film they were involved in making received a prestigious award.

The film, 'Maximus', directed by Richard Prendergast and made with production company SubMotion, won a HollyShort award in the Best Action category.

The award was presented at a glitzy ceremony in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on October 1.

One of the scenes being shot for Maximus.
One of the scenes being shot for Maximus.

Among some of the other winners on the night was film The Long Goodbye, directed by Aneil Karia and starring Riz Ahmed.

Although no representatives from the college could attend the award ceremony, Ben Pryke, course director of Media, who came up with the concept for the film, said he was ‘delighted’ it had won an award.

He also hailed his students who had thrown themselves into the challenge of making the film.

Ben Pryke, course director of Media at West Suffolk College. Picture: Ben Pryke.
Ben Pryke, course director of Media at West Suffolk College. Picture: Ben Pryke.

One of those was Connor Crowley, 18, of Sudbury.

He started off working on the pyrotechnics team on the crew, and by the end of filming was third assistant director.

"It was definitely a step up to what I was used to," Connor said of the whole experience.

"Being in college at the time, I was used to holding a little DSLR (camera), but to see everyone work so well and work together to get everything done it was definitely an incredible time."

He added: "Stepping on set knowing only Ben and no other students, it was quite scary at first, but spending those long hours together it soon gets to a point where you are taking the mick out of each other."

Around 40 students from the college were involved in making the film, which chronicles the strength and courage of a boy who recovers from cancer.

The film, which was funded by Andrew Wheeler, was shot over nine days and Ben said everyone went through 'thick and thin' together.

"Getting on set at 3pm and getting home around 9am, it was a crash course in film making and everybody rose to the occasion," he said.

Richard Prendergast, director, said it was 'wonderful' to be recognised with the HollyShort award.

"It's a testament to the tremendous team effort between the students and staff at West Suffolk College and as well as the industry professionals who, in the middle of a pandemic, brought this ambitious film to fruition," he said.

"Next month we're screening at Birmingham and Norwich Film Festival, where we're nominated for awards at both, so fingers crossed."

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