SERC Graduate Secures International Film Festival Place with Beach Baby.
Matthew Killen (30), from Downpatrick, is a former South Eastern Regional College (SERC) Northern Ireland Film and Television School (NIFTS) graduate.
And he has secured a place with his film Beach Baby at the Dublin-based 11th International Underground Cinema Film Festival, 4 – 6 September 2020.
Matthew originated the concept for Beach Baby whilst studying on the HND Creative Media Production at the College’s Bangor Campus. He made a student version of the film which earned him a distinction grade. He later developed the script and secured funding to remake the film and make his media dreams come true.
Matthew said: “Beach Baby is a modern-day drama that follows Ethan and Chloe, a young couple whose relationship is tested when they find out that Ethan has lung cancer and Chloe is pregnant.
“We follow their journey together as we see them trying to deal with this sudden change in both their lives.
“The film, set in Belfast, was also shot on locations in Bangor, Downpatrick and Newcastle. It stars Dublin actors Marie Devine and Shane Brohan with Shannen Lofthouse and Jake Douglas from Northern Ireland. The film score was composed by Stephen Kavanagh, also from Dublin.
“It took a week to shoot the film and this was followed by a year-long editing process.
“I called in favours left right and centre and ran a fundraising campaign through Indiegogo which raised over £500, the majority of which was used to pay the composer for the score with the actors, all of whom I know, donating their amazing talents and skills.
“It’s fantastic to know that they had as much conviction and belief in the script as myself. I am overwhelmed with their generosity and investment of talent in making Beach Baby a reality and exactly how I wanted it to be completed.
Opportunity Knocks At The Film Festival
Matthew added: “We are thrilled that Beach Baby has been selected for the 11th International Underground Cinema Film Festival.
“It will be one of a hundred films selected for screen over the three days of the festival. You never know who will be watching your film or what connections might be made on the back of a screening.
“Beach Baby has been entered into 10 festivals from Dublin to London, Toronto to Vancouver.
“It will hopefully have a good run at festivals before we pitch it to cinemas or a social site where everyone will have the chance to see it.
“I am very proud of the work and everyone who contributed to getting it over the line – just before we went into lockdown.”
As if making your own film is not proof enough of Matthew’s talent, the young man is also a musician, playing drummer with local band Wynona Bleach.
The band are getting ready for the release of their debut album Moonsoake, this October. Recorded in rural Portugal, the band received funding from Help Musicians NI and the Arts Council NI to make the album.
Matthew said: “I originally studied music production many years ago at SERC’s Downpatrick Campus and progressed to the HND in Music Production at the Bangor Campus.
“As well as being a musician, I ended up creating all the music videos and documentaries for Wynona Bleach. This spurred me to return to SERC to further improve my knowledge in film production where I did a part time HNC Creative Media at the Ballynahinch Campus in 2016 and then went on to do my HND Creative Media Production at the Bangor Campus in 2017.
“I was also back at the College in 2019, lecturing Single Camera Techniques for TV part-time for the same course.
“The HND in Creative Media Production was a real eye-opener for me. When I first arrived, I had the attitude that I knew everything, however, that was short lived.
“I learnt so much about all the aspects of film and TV and was very lucky to have incredible lecturers Alison Cockcroft and Pete Graham, who spent so much time on ensuring that every student, was prepared as much as possible for the industry, before walking out the door.
“I’ve been lucky to have access to the courses and connections with industry at SERC that has helped shape my career to date, – it’s all right here on my door step but it has taken me further than I imagined.”
SERC Media lecturer, Alison Thompson, said: “Matty was a distinction student at SERC. He is an incredibly talented guy and very driven to succeed in the industry.
“He had the vision to develop Beach Baby and we are delighted that his determination got it over the line.
“It is unfortunate that the premiere, planned for the Annual NIFTS Showcase at the Strand Cinema, Belfast in June had to be cancelled due to Covid-19.
“We are incredibly proud of his success and are looking forward to following Beach Baby’s festival run – and hopefully picking up a few accolades along the way!”
Follow BeachBabyFilm on Facebook to keep up to date as to where and when you can watch the film.
Visit serc.ac.uk to find out more about our music and media programmes at the NIFTS.