'The Astronaut' is October's Film of the Month

23 Nov 2016 in Film of the Month

10 mins
'The Astronaut' is October's Film of the Month

We're delighted to announce that our Film of the Month winner for October 2016 is The Astronaut, a film that was made by a large of group of young filmmakers, with the initial idea stemming from a small group that met taking part in a BFI Film Academy Craft Skills Residential, delivered by the National Film and Television School (NFTS).

Suitable for those aged 7+ (for emotional theme and risky behaviour), this touching film sees a young boy absorbed in his fascination for space travel attempt to use his knowledge to escape trouble at home. With a poignant central performance from the young actor that highlights his characters' vulnerability in the harsh surroundings of the real world, The Astronaut makes for moving viewing.

An outstanding short film, both creatively and technically.

Film of the Month Judge on 'The Astronaut'

The Astronaut was an incredible three-years in the making, and was part-funded by online donations. We caught up with the film's director Abbie, who was 19 at the time the film was shot, and is now studying English and Film at King's College London.

We were inspired to enter Film of the Month as Into Film is a great platform for young filmmakers to get exposure and we wanted to share our film with a wider audience. Mahalia [Director of Photography] was on the judging panel for last year's Into Film Awards, so it was amazing to be on the receiving end this time and to be recognised for our hard work. This was a really rewarding and enjoyable film to make and we couldn't have made it happen without all the hard work from the crew and actors, and those who helped fund it via Indigogo.

I've been making films since I was 17. I was accepted onto the NFTS Residential as a screenwriter and this is where I met Mahalia. Since then I have written and directed my own film, 'All the Dead Deer' which Mahalia shot last summer. We worked with six young actors on that film and after this experience, Mahalia approached me to direct 'The Astronaut'. We are now currently in the process of writing a feature film centred around female skateboarders which we plan to shoot next summer.

My love of literature inspired me to start writing scripts, and after my experience at the NFTS I knew I wanted to write and direct. Film has always been influential for me and after studying it in depth at A-Level I was inspired to start making films of my own. 

Winning Film of the Month will hopefully have a great impact on both Mahalia and myself. We kind of come as a team now, so this is a great chance for us to show what we can do. It has also boosted our confidence as filmmakers and made us more determined to pursue festival submissions for 'The Astronaut'. It will also hopefully open doors for us when we start applying for funding for our feature.

In an already tough business, opportunities like this give us the unique chance to break through into the industry and learn the skills needed to excel in it early on.

Abbie Loosemore, Director 'The Astronaut'

Being part of the BFI Film Academy has been intrinsically important to my journey into film making. The experience and knowledge I gained at both the regional academy and the NFTS has shaped the way I approach filmmaking. It also allowed me to meet so many talented, likeminded and inspirational young filmmakers who are now my go-to crew. Also, having the chance to meet and talk to professionals inspired me to pursue a career as a writer/director and I'm not sure I would be on this path without the experience the BFI provided.

I think the best advice I can give to any young people wanting to make films is to be inspired - go to the cinema, talk about your ideas with each other, try out different roles and don't be afraid to put your ideas into practice. Surround yourself with likeminded creative people and if you have a vision, you can all work together to make it a reality. Also, try and get involved with as many projects as you can. Mahalia and I met the screenwriter for 'The Astronaut' while working as runners, so sometimes it's not what you know, it's who you know! 

Opportunities like the BFI Academy and Into Film Awards are really important for young filmmakers. Young people are the future of the screen, they have stories to tell that deserve to be heard, therefore it is important that opportunities like this exist and are accessible to all. 

Abbie and Mahalia's film will now be showcased to over 300,000 film club members online and on the Into Film YouTube channel, and the pair have also secured a £100 Amazon voucher plus an Into Film goodie bag with which to help further develop their future films. If you've been inspired by October's winner, find out more about how you can enter our ongoing Film of the Month competition.

If you liked The Astronaut, why not try these related films:

  • Explorers (U) Two friends decide to build their own spacecraft in the garage in an attempt to discover if alien life really exists.
  • Valentin (PG) In this 1960s-set Argentinian comedy, a young boy fantasisesabout becoming an astronaut as a distraction from his longing to find hismother.
  • Contact (PG) Dr. Ellie Arroway is obsessed with space from a young age, and herquest to find extraterrestrial life makes her an outsider in the scientificcommunity - until the day she receives an otherworldly signal…
  • Interstellar (12) When the Earth's resources become dangerouslydepleted, humankind must find another planet to inhabit. A father goes on an interstellar exploration mission, battling the knowledge that he is leaving his family inthe present in an attempt to secure their future. 

If watching The Astronaut and hearing from Abbie has inspired you to make your own short films around the topic of space exploration, why not enter our Into Film: Into Space & Home competition as part of this year's Into Film Awards? Find further details below.

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