Film directed by Kesgrave 21-year-old and shot in Suffolk wins three awards

Jimmy Dean and Ellie Gocher with Mike Leigh and the Greenhorn Film Festival team.

Jimmy Dean and Ellie Gocher with Mike Leigh and the Greenhorn Film Festival team. - Credit: Archant

A talented young director’s short film has put Ipswich and Felixstowe in the spotlight as it receives international praise.

Screen grab from Charity.

Screen grab from Charity. - Credit: Archant

The 11-minute feature, Charity, which was shot in Suffolk, was this month named the Best of the Fest by acclaimed film director Mike Leigh at London’s Greenhorn Film Festival, which aims to recognise new and emerging talent.

Charity has also picked up the Prix du Rouen-Norwich Club award from the French festival This is England and was given the Best Fiction award at the South West London International Film Festival last year.

Director and former Kesgrave High School pupil Jimmy Dean said: “It was a bit insane to win the award, especially because it was presented to us by Mike Leigh, whose films have had such a huge influence on me.

“I’d like to think I’d always be quite calm when meeting people I really admire, but I was a bit starstruck by him, even though he was incredibly friendly.”

The film, which was shot over four days in Ipswich, Felixstowe and Kesgrave, tells the story of a 16-year-old traveller struggling to cope in a remote coastal town with her dysfunctional family who is forced to accept her estranged brother’s return as he is released from prison.

Charity features Broadchurch star Charlotte Beaumont, former EastEnders actress Amanda Drew and Sherlock heartthrob Ed Birch.

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The film also stars Ipswich-sourced talent including stage regular Linda Wooldridge and local girl Amelie Whatling.

Jimmy, who grew up in Kesgrave and now lives in London, has been creating amateur films since he was at school and was listed in the Ipswich Star’s celebration of 25 Young Stars when he was 13 years old.

The 21-year-old credits his former media teacher at Kesgrave, Matt Wheatley, for getting him into filmmaking.

Charity, which was written and produced by Ellie Gocher, was made at Westminster University, and features members of Jimmy’s family as extras. He said: “I’m very lucky, we couldn’t have made the film without my family, because we all came down from London to shoot it in Ipswich. There was nine of us in my mum’s flat, for example.

“I have an amazing and supportive family, who always allowed me to pursue this career.”

Jimmy and Ellie have also created another short film, Offside, which Jimmy is currently representing at Poitiers Film Festival in France.

Offside is about a young girl who learns she will soon lose her place on the boy’s football team, and struggles to come to terms with her evolving identity as young woman.

It recently won the XX Award for Best Female Representation at Underwire Film Festival.

The pair plan to take Offside to a number of film festivals.

Jimmy graduated with a degree in Film & TV Production from The University of Westminster in July.

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