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Film inspired by boy's cancer battle and produced with help of West Suffolk College students to be shown at Cannes Film Festival



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The strength and courage of a boy who recovered from cancer has inspired the making of a short film with help from students at a Bury St Edmunds college.

Max Rowlandson, of Saffron Walden, Essex, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in 2010, but luckily fully recovered, and Ben Pryke, film media course director at West Suffolk College, upon discovering about Max’s plight came up with the idea for a film called Maximus five years ago.

Ben approached writer and director Richard Prendergast of SubMotion Productions, who then put the idea into a film script.

Forty students, including some from West Suffolk College, 20 staff and 30 film professionals were involved in the making of the film which was shot last July. Picture: Misha Panovs
Forty students, including some from West Suffolk College, 20 staff and 30 film professionals were involved in the making of the film which was shot last July. Picture: Misha Panovs

The film has been selected to screen at The American Pavilion Emerging Filmmakers Competition at the Cannes Film Festival in July.

In total 40 students, including some from West Suffolk College, 20 staff and 30 film professionals were involved in the making of the film which was shot last July.

Proceeds from the film will be going to Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, where Max received care.

The Rowlandson family with Max (right). Picture: Jodie Rowlandson
The Rowlandson family with Max (right). Picture: Jodie Rowlandson

Ben said: “Max is a true ‘gladiator’, therefore we wanted to create an epic film, to make everyone proud and also a film that makes money for the hospital that helped save Max’s life.

“We wanted to bring as many areas of the college together to work on this and create an ambitious fantasy film to send out a message of hope to other families in a similar situation.”

He added: “Most impressively, our learners turned up as students - and they finished up as essential crew members working alongside professionals.”

Hana Al-Aride, 18, of Stowmarket, is a level three media student at West Suffolk College who was involved in the making of the film.

Ben Pryke, film media course director at West Suffolk College
Ben Pryke, film media course director at West Suffolk College

She said: “I helped out with the storyboard and the highlight was being on set. I was able to absorb so much information just watching people work.

She added: “This experience has inspired me to work in the film industry even more. I can’t see myself doing anything else. More importantly, this amazing project is raising money for a good cause.”

For more details on the premiere of Maximus, and the money raised from it, visit www.facebook.com/TeamMaxFundraising

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