Search for National Lottery Award nominees gets underway
What a difference a documentary can make. Bradford Movie Makers, the struggling film society portrayed in the acclaimed documentary A Bunch of Amateurs, is enjoying a new lease of life.
The film, which was made with the support of National Lottery funding, has earned its director, Kim Hopkins, a nomination for a National Lottery Award in the Arts, Culture and Film category.
Formed in 1932, the society was once just one of hundreds of thriving film clubs in the UK. Inspired by Hollywood, its members made their own ambitious films on shoestring budgets.
But A Bunch of Amateurs – a film made by director Kim Hopkins (pictured) with the support of National Lottery funding – shows the once thriving society fighting for its life. Its members – a dwindling band of mostly elderly men – are unable to pay the rent owed on their ramshackle headquarters and quarrel over how to attract new members.
Despite the challenges, the bond between the film-makers is powerful. A Bunch of Amateurs has “some unexpectedly deep things to say about camaraderie, community and male friendship,” according to a review in The Guardian.
Phil Wainman, a member of the society who makes frequent appearances in A Bunch of Amateurs, said he was eager to take part in the documentary. He added, “When Kim contacted us I thought ‘brilliant’ – I wanted to jump all over it. I’m a filmmaker myself and I’ve acted in a lot of films, so I'm not shy of being in front of the camera. We had nothing to lose – we were running out of money.”
Publicity generated by A Bunch of Amateurs has given Bradford Movie Makers a shot in the arm. Phil said, “We have had new members join – people who didn’t know we existed before the film came out. It’s increased our membership which increases the amount of money we have.
“I would definitely say the club's future is more secure. The membership was elderly and dwindling and although I wouldn’t say we have a lot of young members now, we have people in their late 20s and early 30s. And more women which is great.”
Kim believes her film would not have been made without the support of National Lottery funding. She said, “It was absolutely critical. Our relationship with the BFI Doc Society [an organisation investing National Lottery funding in British documentaries] was and is fantastic. We’ve had nothing but great support from them. We work in a risk averse industry and it was the support of the BFI Doc Society that really got this film made.”
Now, she has a National Lottery Award nomination to add to a BAFTA nomination and the award for best documentary at The Santa Barbara Film Festival. The National Lottery Awards are a chance to celebrate the inspirational work of ordinary people and projects who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.
Kim said, “It’s one thing to be nominated for a film award. But for a documentary maker the content is paramount and for it to be recognised with a National Lottery Award nomination is wonderful for the film – it’s the cherry on the cake.”
To make your nomination for this year’s National Lottery Awards, go to www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards
11th April 2023
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