SOUTH DOWNS FILM MAKERS (SDFM) is a local filmmaking club, founded in 1989, that produces drama, comedy, animation, documentaries and AV presentations.

Alan Cross, a member of the club, tells Here & Now why they are looking for new members.

SDFM has no shortage of age and experience, so the club is reaching out to share this expertise with younger filmmakers looking for help to develop their visual storytelling. While many members have their own filmmaking equipment, this is by no means essential as SDFM provide manpower and equipment. It’s true by visiting sites like Google, Wikipedia and YouTube you can sit in a room, all alone by yourself and learn almost anything from your computer screen but you can’t build relationships with real people unless you are in the room with them, talking about what you love most – filmmaking!

The fact is, filmmaking is a collaborative process and SDFM supports anybody unable to afford film school or struggling to fund a film, by providing the tools they need. SDFM are a really welcoming group and you’ll quickly discover that many members have had lives and careers working in Radio, Television, Banking, Insurance, Travel and so on – providing all the stories you need in one room! There’s even a couple of retired DJ’s with scandalous stories about fading pop stars from back in the day! Enough said.

Film is the art of Visual Storytelling. You can only get the story by getting up close and personal. Meeting people from all walks of life, whatever age, is where you learn the most – something the Internet will never replace. Movie making is a people driven art.

The club has a whole host of exciting projects and a varied program of talks, workshops, film shows and competitions on for 2017-2018. SDFM also provide external film shows to community and social groups to promote local causes.

SDFM have won many trophies and awards. Their recent film “The Bench By The Sea” was filmed entirely on location in Worthing and won Best Film, Best Drama, Audience Favourite and Best Actor at the Sussex Film Festival 2016.

It went on to win Best Drama, Best Photography and Best Film at the SERIAC Film Festival 2017 in April this year. Producer Rebecca Simmons says: “It’s an unbelievable achievement for a film that was made in just one week”!

“Are You Sitting Comfortably?” a documentary about local craftsman Brendan Devitt-Spooner picked up the Denham Gold Cup and a four star rating in the British International Amateur Film Festival (BIAFF).
Director David Allen said: “We are thrilled our work has been recognized! We encourage members to improve filming techniques and we are always looking for new people “.

The late Eileen Godfrey’s “Ferring’s 1250th Anniversary” film about the history of Ferring was an instant hit and was awarded the prestigious Chris Hodson Trophy for Best Documentary. Worthing’s evolving creative hub is right at the heart for many more South Coast filmmakers, including award winning Cinematographer Alan Stockdale (Foundlight), Mark Tew (ButtonPressed), Dick Douglas & Obie Dean of Across the Border Productions, Melody Bridges of Worthing Wow and Jonathan Brooks, a local award winning director, who is currently in pre-production for a feature length film.

In April this year, with a charity donation, SDFM supported the Worthing WOW 30th Anniversary screening of “Wish You Were Here” at the Dome Cinema to celebrate another locally made film (and launch the book, which mentions SDFM’s Brian Meetens). It is amazing after all these years how much interest the film still attracts and how it played a part in saving the Dome Cinema for future generations of film lovers to enjoy.

SDFM meet the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month from 7.30 – 10pm in Ferring Village Hall. (There’s no meeting 21 June).
Doors are open to anyone in the region with an interest in filmmaking and the first two visits are free so come along and join us for an evening of fun and film.

Alan Cross, SDFM18