A low-budget horror flick created by two Ealing film-makers has won a prestigious film award.
Unhallowed Ground is directed by Russell England and written by Paul Raschid, both local residents, and picked up Best Horror Film at the 12th London Independent Film Festival.
The 11-day annual festival, hosted at the Shortwave and Genesis cinemas in London, showcased over 60 of the best of low and micro-budget films from the UK and abroad.
Russell and Paul’s film is a supernatural-thriller set in a boarding school where a group of bright young students grapple paranormal forces and burglars.
It was filmed on location at Mill Hill school, in north-west London, and has received industry praise.
Russell, who made his feature directorial debut, said: “This weekend proved to be so exciting for us with the screening of Unhallowed Ground at the London Independent Film Festival and the British Independent Film Festival.
“The film was watched by a lively and enthusiastic audience, and to hear that it had then been judged Best Horror Film there was fantastic.”
When asked about Ealing being an influence on his work, he added: “I haven’t left the borough since first coming down to London in 1982, fresh out of film school. I’d never want to live anywhere else now.
"Ealing is constantly changing.
“I joined the BBC as a trainee assistant film editor in 1982 and found myself working in a cutting room in the historic Ealing Film Studios.
“Working at Ealing Studios inspired me to want to direct. I finally got the chance to direct my own documentary, and left Ealing Studios in 1985.
“Since then I’ve used Ealing as a location when I’ve been directing documentaries and commercials. The borough has a tremendous range of locations to offer, which is why you see filming vehicles and lighting trucks all over the place.”
Writer Paul, from Ealing Broadway, is just 22 and making his screen-writing debut as well as playing a key role in the film.
He said: “I am born and bred in Ealing. I spent a couple of years at the Questors’ Youth Theatre and it’s generally been a wonderful place to grow up.
"Also many of the cast, crew and suppliers that worked on Unhallowed Ground and our earlier films are or were Ealing residents too – so the project is truly local.
“As a British Asian, the ability not only to access London, but that Southall is a stone’s throw away gives me a chance to stay connected with the vibrancy of South Asian culture, which has always really inspired me.”