West Norfolk Council’s licensing department has used rarely-exercised film certificaton powers to allow a local film-maker’ work to be shown.
All films screened at public presentations have to be given a certificate of classification.
Usually this is done by the British Board or Film Censors (BBFC), but local authorities have the powers to create licences of certification or amend BBFC licences where they feel it appropriate.
Kit Lewis, who is curating the Fear in the Fens Film Festival, opened part of the festival programme to short films in the horror genre made by local film makers.
He received a number of entries, but was unable to show them because they were uncertificated.
He said: “For some independent film makers working on small budgets, a festival screening may be the only cinematic release their work will receive, and the costs of getting BBFC certification can be a real problem for small film makers trying to get their work shown.
“These locally made films are terrific pieces of work, showing high levels of creativity, innovation and professionalism, and they have been shot all over East Anglia, including the King’s Lynn area
“It would have been a tragedy if we could not have shown these films as part of our festival. I approached the borough council and explained the situation, and after viewing the films, they issued an (18) certificate to all the shorts in that section of our programme.
“I believe that this is the first time that they’ve used their powers of film certification, so we are very grateful to the staff at the borough council for finding a way to let this part of our festival go ahead.”
The Bloody Cuts film collective, is showing their film The Birch at Fear in the Fens.
Ben Franklin the Lynn-based producer/director who co-directed the film with Anthony Melton said: “Short films are very much the way into the business for independent creatives, and while we would love to have our films certified, we only really use online platforms as it’s difficult to get short films shown in the theatre at all, let alone with expensive certification attached.
“While the online platform is amazing, it would be great for young filmmakers to have the opportunity to experience their films within a cinema environment.
“We’d really support anything that the BBFC could do to afford short films more of a platform within the theatre.”
Fear in the Fens is a one-day festival of classic horror taking place on Saturday November 5 this year at Downham Market Town Hall.
In addition to the feature films and locally made shorts, there will be talks from local and national experts on subjects such as Witchcraft in East Anglia and Vlad the Impaler.
Tickets are available from just £6 and day tickets are only £18.
Further information about the programme can be obtained from www.fearinthefens.com