Production News April 2016


by Brian Meetens, Film-making Co-ordinator

April 2016



  1. ‘An Exciting Holiday’ is a comedy, due to commence production during May. Story is by Irina Pitman with Alan Cross directing. A number of members have already joined the crew, but there may be one or two more required. If you’re interested, please contact Alan.


  1. ‘Big Brother’ is the title of a new screenplay by Howard Johnson and we are seeking a director for this production. If you’d like to consider taking on the task, please contact Howard for a script.


  1. Post production for the 1250 Anniversary project, featuring many Ferring clubs and groups, is nearing completion. The finished film is expected to be screened to the public at Ferring Village Hall at a date to be announced.


  1. John Guile is busy completing a script, originally started by Chris Hodson, for a new drama ‘The Picture’ which is being prepared for filming during this year.


John Lovell, back from his winter sojourn in Tenerife, is in the process of arranging locations for his new comedy, ‘I Spy’ and has pencilled in a May start date for filming.


We’re looking for directors. If you would like to direct a film, please contact Brian and we’ll offer you scripts to read as they become available.           


Please keep Production News informed if you would like to direct your own story of any genre including Hot Shorts, or if you would like assistance, crew or acting members. Also, if you have any ideas, stories or scripts you would like to offer to the Film Making sub-committee, we’ll be delighted to receive them. Please hand them to Brian.

Some previous images of Tea and Toast production from January Production News

T&T 5 - IMG_20151216_095601T&T 2 - IMG_20151216_095954IMG_1341T&T 4 - IMG_20151216_095624IMG_1346T&T 7 - IMG_20151216_095534IMG_1343T&T 3 - IMG_20151216_095803IMG_1352IMG_1345IMG_1351T&T 6 - IMG_20151216_095523IMG_1350IMG_1347IMG_1342


May 2016 Bobs Banter

Bobs Banter May 2016

Many congratulations to Ted, David, Bryan and Jim for their highly successful film, Are You Sitting Comfortably? First, we received the amazing news that this had won the prestigious Denham Gold Cup, awarded for Best IAC Affiliated Club Film at BIAFF in Harrogate.

Although nobody from SDFM was available to receive the Cup and certificate in person, we sent a 30 sec clip to be screened during the award ceremony. I filmed Ted, David and Bryan on the pier. Also in the photo above is Nadia, who did the voiceover on the film.

Then, at the SERIAC Film Festival at Tonbridge on 9th April, with the same film, we won not only the Kent Cup for Best Affiliated Club Film but also the splendid Southern Sound Trophy for Best Use of Sound. This is a remarkable achievement for a film which started life as an entry into last year’s Summer Shoot competition.

As part of Worthing’s annual WOW (World of Words) Festival, 120 Years of Film in Sussex is being celebrated this year. It was on 31st August 1896 that the first films in Worthing were shown at the Pier Pavilion. Also, Shoreham holds a special position in the history of film-making as it was the location of one of the earliest film studios, chosen due the purity of its air and long hours of sunshine.

To mark these historic connections, a number of screen shows are being held during May and June as part of the WOW Festival, including a competition for short local films. SDFM will be submitting films for this competition, including Are You Sitting Comfortably?

The competition is being held on Thursday 9 June at The Denton Lounge between 5.00pm and 7.30pm. Admission is free.

For further details see


Bob Summers


BIAFF Award April 2016

South Downs Film Makers enjoy success


Local film-makers, South Downs Film Makers have enjoyed great success with a recent film entitled Are You Sitting Comfortably?


A documentary featuring local craftsman, Brendon Devitt-Spooner, it shows the making of a hand-crafted dining chair from beginning to end. In March, the film won a major award at the British International Amateur Film Festival held at Harrogate and in April, a further two awards – Best IAC Affiliated Club Film and Best Use of Sound at the SERIAC Film Festival held at Tonbridge, Kent.


The photo shows proud film makers Ted Forman, Jim Anderson, Bryan Cox and David Allen with Brendon Devitt-Spooner.

Serial film festival

SERIAC Film Festival

The annual SERIAC film festival was held this year at the Oast Theatre, Tonbridge on 9th April. Seven SDFM members went along to enjoy the event. The festival was very well supported with 61 films entered for the various categories.

It would not have been possible to show all the films but a great many were screened. These varied from the 48 minute “The man who walked to far”, a modern ghost story with a twist, to 90 seconds “It happened here” the excellent SDFM film by Eileen and Richard about the havoc left after a visit from the grandchildren.

Many films featured animation with some more realistic than others, Seriacone with a particularly gruesome storyline, a young women’s victims end up in a bath of acid!

We were also treated to films about: –

A three legged dog; A church that was demolished and moved; An incompetent professional man cooking various recipes; A holiday film shot on the Galapagos islands; A fascinating and informative film all about strange optical illusions, and so many more.

SDFM entered five films including “Are you sitting comfortably” the documentary featuring local craftsman Brendan Devitt-Spooner, who creates unique hand made furniture. This film was awarded the silver Kent Cup in the category best film from an IAC affiliated club, and also the Southern Sound trophy awarded for the most creative use of sound. It was nice that most of the production crew from last years summer shoot Ted, Bryan, David and Jim were there in person to collect these two prestigious awards.

The audience was asked to vote for their overall favourite film and chose Ron Prosser’s “Victim”, a dramatisation of how police handle the sensitive subject of rape.

The whole event, although some would say a little to long, was certainly very enjoyable including a splendid buffet supper to round of the day.

David Allen









Mike Whyman FACI, Vice Chairman of the IAC, presenting the Southern Sound trophy awarded for the most creative use of sound, to David Allen, and the Kent Cup being presented to Ted Foreman, Jim Anderson and David Allen.

Albany Competition

Albany Competition – Chichester – Sunday 3rd April

 Nine members and guests from SDFM attended the Albany Competition, held at The Newell Centre, Tozer Way, Chichester on Sunday 3 April. Last year’s winners, Surrey Border Film Makers, hosted the competition and the theme was Behind Closed Doors.

Altogether, seven films were entered: from Haywards Heath Movie Makers (2); Surrey Border Movie Makers (2); Epsom Movie Makers; Chichester Film & Video Makers and ourselves. Our entry was Tea and Toast with John Fisher.

The winners were as follows:

The Albany Trophy   – for best overall film – Three Little Words – CF&VM

Runner Up TrophyNumber 30 – HHMM

The Grenyer Trophy – Best use of sound – Three Little Words – CF&VM

The Syd Mitchell Trophy – Best Comedy – Red 7 – HHMM

The Albany Editing TrophyThree Little Words – CF&VM

So, as you can see, Chichester Film & Video Makers swept the board with their entry, Three Little Words, a film about a lady suffering from agoraphobia and her husband, who had a stroke. Based on a true story, this was a moving film, very well made and as such, it was a worthy competition winner.

 Our film, Tea & Toast was praised for its storyline and acting but was criticised for a couple of minor technical issues and because it lacked movement. Never mind, we can’t win them all.

Next year’s Albany theme is Drama Queen and for 2018, the theme will be The Elephant in the Room.

Bob Summers

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 08.16.11

LatestTV – January 2016

productionLatestTV – Interview

with Brian Meetens and Howard Johnson

January 2016


South Downs Film Makers recently appeared on LatestTV.


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be interviewed on Television facing an audience of several hundreds if not thousands and being lost for words. Well this was the prospect facing Brian Meetens and myself as we ventured into new territory as pawns thrown to the wolves as we volunteered to be interviewed by Latest TV as part of their weekly film review, which was to showcase a number of South Downs films to the wider public. This was too good an opportunity to be passed up and maybe, just maybe, a chance to recruit new members to the Club.


As it happens Latest TV is one of the newly established Regional TV companies that broadcasts along the South Coast with its operational centre and studios situated in Kempton, Brighton. For those receiving Freeview, the signal can be picked up on Channel 8 provided your aerial is pointed to the Brighton Racecourse transmitter. For Virgin Media subscribers, the Channel is 159. Latest TV can also be viewed on-line @

After many months of negotiation re-contracts and repeat showings, the arrival of a new station manager deemed this was all unnecessary and after their scrutiny of our films on YouTube they were more than happy to schedule a number of these during prime-time viewing on both Saturday and Sunday Evenings – January 17 & 23. The only criteria were that each film must be longer than 10 minutes and be in widescreen format.

We had chosen to illustrate the club by way of a selection of comedy dramas choosing the five ‘Spirit’ films as the platform to initiate our work. Although these had been completed sometime back in 2010 and earlier (2005 Rough Luck) they had nevertheless received recognition and awards at several of the County Film Festivals. Screened in order of filming they offered a serialisation of the exploits of three inept robbers who eventually wind up in heaven hoping this would be a better place to exploit their craft of safecracking. As most of these films were made pre-digital, we had to change the aspect ratio on each of them to bring them into line with a widescreen audience before uploading to YouTube in Mp4 format.

LatestTv2  On the day of the Interviews, Friday 8th January, we were met and pampered by 4 charming young ladies in a Brighton bar, which dubbed as a studio during the daytime. With Green Screen in the background and cameras poised to go we had little time to compose ourselves and were totally unprepared for the questions. Fortunately Brian, being a true professional, rose to the occasion and the interviews proceeded relatively painlessly. There was no room for second takes and any gaffs were there for all to see but hopefully we gave a good account of the club and its activities.

Unfortunately we never got to meet the station controller who I expect was busy mixing our audio microphones levels from his booth somewhere behind the bar at the rear of the building. All additional links from our glamorous interviewer Jessica Kellgren-Hayes were undertaken post-interview, and hospitality was provided in the form of a teacup.

LatestTV3With no expense spared we gave as good as we got …well sort of, although I would have preferred to have been briefed on the questions beforehand, then perhaps Brian and I could have practiced our Dodgy Irish Accents on an unsuspecting audience. Mind you I expect our replies were a mixture of Irish and Yiddish but they appeared happy with the results and we managed to wrap up three separate interviews in the allotted time. These would be used to sequel between the 5 films.

Hopefully this is the first of many encounters with Latest TV and depending on the outcome we may get asked back. Next time however I challenge someone else to rise to the occasion!


Howard Johnson

See the films here.

   Rough Luck   That’s the spirit   Brotherly Spirit   Safe and Secure   Heavenly Spirit