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Young Kirkby director wins top British Film Industry award

2 months ago

Young Kirkby director wins top British Film Industry award

A 25-year-old film director from Kirkby has won a major award from the British Film Industry.

Jack McLoughlin was named Best Writer at the Future Film Festival, held at the BFI’s Southbank headquarters in London.

It’s a huge achievement for the film maker, not least, he says, because he’s just an ‘ordinary working-class lad from Liverpool’.

Jack says:

“It’s a massive award and a huge achievement. When they called my name out, it was like I was in a whirlwind.

“But it felt important because I am a working-class lad from Kirkby and I was standing on the stage of the BFI which is at the heart of British film making, and the festival is the biggest event for emerging young film makers and directors like me.

“Accepting the award was incredible.

“I grew up listening to people say kids from Kirkby schools never achieve anything, and the more I’ve reflected on it it’s such a proud moment in my life and something that I hope will inspire not just young people from Kirkby and Liverpool, but those in other working-class areas across the country.”

The former Kirkby High school pupil adds:

“Interestingly, the BAFTAs were going on at the same time next door and friends and family have said who knows, I might be nominated for one of those one day. Fingers crossed – I hope so.”

Jack, who went to Liverpool Media Academy, won the award for a film he both wrote and directed called ‘Are You Okay?’, about a brother and sister.

“The sister is taking the brother to get help for mental health issues, and on the way the car breaks down,” he explains.

“They start to talk about things, and his mental health is like the elephant in the room but, because they’re stranded and going nowhere, they’re forced to address it. It can be the hardest thing to do.

“The idea for the film started in my head when I imagined siblings stranded in a car, asking myself questions about what situation they are in. Mental health has been a big part of the lives of a few people who I love and while at the moment more people are talking about mental health, there are many more conversations to be had.

“Men especially don’t talk enough or open up, that’s a fact. That’s why the number of male suicides is so high.

“I think so much more needs to be done and so the film was helping to highlight the issue and raise awareness and start more conversations – and action. I’ve already had people who’ve seen the film message me to say how much it resonated with them and moved them.”

As part of the award, Jack will receive mentoring from Future Film Festival judge and film maker Chee Keong Cheung ‘which will be amazing’.

“The hope too is that the award will support my work and help me to further myself in the industry. The credibility it gives me, and the recognition on such a high level, will hopefully turn heads and open a few doors when I’m looking to get projects made.

“I’d like to think people will take me more seriously.”

Jack is already working on a new coming of age film, following a group of teenagers over one night, and it’s set in Liverpool.

He is also training to be a Foley artist (a person who recreates sounds, post-production) with Kirkdale-based LA Productions where, he says, founder, and drama and film producer Colin McKeown and its general manager Sharon Ruddock have been really helpful and supportive.

“They are very nurturing, within what I’m doing with them, and outside of that,” 

His goal remains to make films that people can relate to, and he has another secret desire: “I’d love to work with Liverpool actor Ian Hart and Paul Mescal (who was nominated in this year’s BAFTAs for his supporting role in All of Us Strangers).”

The Best Writer award might just help him to do that: “It’s a massive boost.

“I can’t put into words what it means to me that do it justice, other than to say it’s special. Really special.”

Find more information about the award here.

Find all the latest Liverpool news here.

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