“But I didn’t know what to do with it when I’d finished – I’d never made a film by myself before. I saw news of the competition via CVP as I’m on their mailing list. It was free to enter, and I thought if I got anywhere with it, I could reward my friends for helping me – as the award would probably mean free drinks and quite a nice evening.” A focus on the future As one might expect, taking top honours in both his entered category and winning overall has lifted Simpkins’ morale. “I’m going to continue making films on my own, which I wouldn’t have done without this confidence boost from Canon and CVP. When you battle with anxiety, you’re often your own worst enemy.” Suitably emboldened, the filmmaker’s next project is grander in scale and involves filming the ’Carbis Bay Crew’ – Cornwall-based hobbyists who explore underground mines. “It’s a unique hobby involving unique people,” he enthuses. Envisaging an end result that is between ten and 20 minutes in length, the hope is
BEING A PERFECTIONIST, YOU NEVER FEEL you’re good enough ”
that the finished film can eventually be submitted to Sheffield DocFest. Another breakthrough is the Canon EOS C70 grand prize, which Simpkins notes is portable, despite being “built like a brick. In fact, the way it’s built makes the EOS C70 the perfect documentary camera; it’s small enough to hide away when I’m caving, and the autofocus is responsive enough to be adaptable in unique situations. Until now, I could never afford my own camera, so this is making it all possible. I feel very fortunate.” In terms of advice to filmmakers who are tempted to enter Stories in Motion 2024, Simpkins says: “Find the story around you. You don’t need a huge budget or something on an epic scale.
Normal life can be just as interesting as fiction. There’s always a film to made.” Canon UK and Ireland marketing director Neale Conroy concludes: “We’re passionate about supporting the next generation of filmmakers, and Stories in Motion is a great platform for storytellers to showcase their work to an industry- leading panel. With the chance for a day’s mentorship from one of the judges, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those looking to make their way into the industry, while also providing the chance to learn and grow. We can’t wait to see all the entries.”
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