Debut short first world war drama film wins judging plaudits
A film director and former BA (Hons) Theatre student from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has won multiple international film awards from countries across the globe with his debut short drama film The Fronts of War.
Thomas Gardner, 25, from Windermere Cumbria, directed the film in Maidstone, Kent as well as shooting scenes in Keswick at the scenic tourist attraction Frair's Cragg.
And on the festival circuit the film has achieved a major impact with the UCLan alumnus winning 13 accolades to date including the Jury Award for Best Director at the Europe Film Festival, Best International Short Film at three festivals in India and Best Short Film in London, Italy and Japan.
The film was additionally selected to be screened, out of competition, at festivals in America, Brazil and Hungary.
The award-winning director said: “Ever since graduation I have been looking for a project which is close to my heart and this is definitely a passion project. The cast and crew were absolutely incredible throughout and it's as much of their success as it is mine. This was a collaborative effort and I am overjoyed that I could work alongside such talent. I am incredibly grateful for everyone's support throughout the making of this film and the response from people has been overwhelming.”
"Studying theatre at UCLan taught me artistic discipline, to always strive for excellence and to never settle for second best. My tutors gave me so much guidance and, if anything, they are the ones to thank for my success. "— UCLan alumnus Thomas Gardner
UCLan’s Mike Pacey, Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Study and Performance, School of Arts and Media, added: “I supervised Tom's final year theatre production entitled The Grindley Brothers which was loosely based on Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter as well as owing a debt to a few gangster movies such as Reservoir Dogs and the Krays. He was clearly greatly inspired by cinema even then.
“He showed a great talent for directing and had a keen visual sensibility which he used to good effect in his performance work which often employed aspects of multimedia.”
The film was co-written with screenwriter Olivia Lewis-Brown and starred actors Adam Grindley and Aaron Fraiser. Aaron was also nominated for Best Actor at the Golden Short Film Festival in Italy for his portrayal as Private William Mawlbury. All three are UCLan alumni, with Adam studying on the same course as Tom.
Commenting on his time at UCLan Tom added: “I studied at UCLan between 2015-2018 and nearly had to resit my first year after a perforated duodenal ulcer forced me into having emergency surgery.
“Fortunately I managed to pass and overall my memories of UCLan were amazing. My sister had studied on the nursing programme so I knew about the University before I enrolled. It was such an eye-opener to meet so many different people from different backgrounds. Studying an arts course provided me with many contacts whom I still keep in touch with today. My first time in anything film-related was when I played a supporting role in Bastion, a film made in 2016 by the UCLan film production course. It fascinated me how the film was made, and I wanted to explore that further.
“Studying theatre at UCLan taught me artistic discipline, to always strive for excellence and to never settle for second best. My tutors gave me so much guidance and, if anything, they are the ones to thank for my success. Without Krissi Musiol, Mike McKrell, Chris Gilligan and Mike Pacey and their incredible insight into the arts, their techniques to craft theatre and its many different strands of performance, then I highly doubt I would be where I am today.”
The Fronts of War will be released onto YouTube on 1 April at 12 noon here.