2023 Sussex Film Festival

Well, what a show! The 53rd Sussex Film Festival was held on Sunday 8th October 2023 at Ferring Village Hall, near Worthing. Previously the event had taken place at Wivelsfield Village Hall, but when South Downs Film Makers offered to take on the organisation and running of the event, following the sad death of Keith Sayers, it was felt that SDFM’s home venue would be more than suitable. And so it was with 29 people turning out for the event.

The screening of all of the 21 films entered, was split into 3 parts, with teas and coffees and then sandwich and cake refreshments between them. It was a shame that some attendees had to leave early due to not wanting to drive home in the dark. As a result there was plenty of food for those who stayed to the end. But those who left early also missed some of the film screenings and the awards presentation. Future festivals will have to take this aspect into account, and the timing of the event may have to be reconsidered.

The attendance of SERIAC chairman Rita Hayes FACI and also Mike Whyman FACI, was much appreciated, especially considering the distances they had to travel to get to Ferring. Rita kindly agreed to present the category winners with their certificates and the 2 trophies, the Mike Coad trophy for the favourite film Audience vote and the Sussex Challenge Cup for best film in festival.

Thanks go to Circle 8 Films who took on the onerous task of judging the films for us and providing constructive feedback on each of the films, for the benefit of the entrants. And thanks must also go to Pauline Reymond, Lucy, Julia and Jane of SDFM, for organising and providing the refreshments, Jim Anderson on the door collecting the monies and issuing programmes, in addition to Roy Powell for all his hard work as Festival Organiser and Competition Officer. All SDFM committee members and others contributed to the Festival’s success.

There have been some very complimentary comments paid to SDFM on the way they organised and ran the event. Let’s hope that the Festival will continue to thrive in future years!

All the results by category and entrant are listed below. Congratulations to Alan Cross for winning both the Audience vote, and the Best film Challenge Cup for his film ‘Tripwire’. Photo shows Alan being presented with certificates by Rita Hayes, also for Best Drama and Best Photography with ‘Tripwire’. (Photo: Bob Summers)


Sussex Challenge Cup                   Trip Wire                                Alan Cross
Mike Coad Audience Awards         Sussex on Line                      Rod Willerton
                                                       Trip Wire                                Alan Cross
Editing Award                                 Sussex on Line                      Rod Willerton
Best Club Entry                              Seeds for Life                        Haywards Heath Movie Makers
Best Drama                                    Trip Wire                                Alan Cross
Best Acting Performance               Debs Bligh in These are the Days
                                                                                                     East Sussex Movie Makers
Best One Minute Movie                  High Flyers                            David Fenn
Animation Award                            Flight of the Robin                 Norman Lilley
Sound Award                                  Sussex on Line                     Rod Willerton
Best Documentary                          Sussex on Line                     Rod Willerton
Best Comedy                                  Are you there Mum?             Haywards Heath Movie Makers
Best Holiday Movie                         The Krimml Waterfall            Mike Spanton
Best Photography                           Trip Wire                               Alan Cross
Certificates of Merit                         Oh George!                          Mike Spanton
                                                        Movies on the Move             Rod Willerton