Film graduate Chris Chalton has won Best First Time Director (short) at the July Los Angeles Film Awards (LAFA) for his film Next of Kin.
LAFA is a monthly competition for filmmakers worldwide.
On winning Chris said:
I was incredibly surprised when Next of Kin was accepted into LAFA, even more so when we reached the finals. Never had I expected to win the award, but to have your work recognised across continents as a winning film is a feeling that can't be easily beaten. We are awaiting word from many other festivals due to release selections this year and next."
Next of Kin is a film about family, farming and female empowerment. It was inspired by BBC Documentary, Snowdonia Shepherdess, which follows Teleri Fielden, who is given an opportunity to run a National Trust farm after winning a scholarship.
Chris explained: "After watching the documentary I decided to do some research, and discovered that the number of female farmers within the agricultural industry was considerably lower compared to males - and even lower number in executive positions or running their own farms. This spurred me on to create a story, bringing to light females within the agricultural industry and the success that follows."
Chris graduated this summer and has already been working in the industry: "I've just come off a micro-budget-feature shoot as second AC and the crew and cast were a dream to work with. I have also been working with London-based production company Windfall Films on some Channel 4 documentaries."
Next of Kin official synopsis:
A farmer's life isn't easy one, you are either born with or you are brought up in it. Next of Kin follows the story of Evie Draper who left her family farm when she was an adolescent to pursue bigger things. However, things are about to change, when Malcolm, Evie's father, finds out he is diagnosed with a life debilitating illness. We witness Evie adapt to farm life, from long hours keeping cattle safe in the freezing cold Cornish countryside to driving a tractor for the first time.