Arts & Culture

Altrincham student’s harrowing short film wins first prize at US film festival

By David Prior at

A harrowing short film created by an Altrincham Grammar School student has claimed first prize at an Oscar/BAFTA qualifying film festival in the United States.

Lifeline, a 10-minute short written and directed by Sam Jones when he was just 17, has played at film festivals around the world including the Rhode Island International Film Festival – an Oscar qualifying event – and also featuring at the recent BAFTA qualifying London Short Film Festival 2017.

Funded by the British Film Institute – Sam received a grant from the BFI for the ‘most promising filmmaker with the most raw talent under 25’ when he was only 16 – Lifeline has attracted rave reviews from UK Film Review, calling it “one of the best shorts of the year”.

Sam, who has always lived in Altrincham, said: “Without giving away any plot spoilers, Lifeline follows a woman who finds herself in a desperate situation and is forced to do something drastic to provide her son with one final lifeline.

Watch Sam’s award-winning Lifeline here:

“Inspired by a conversation I had with my mum, it took six months to write Lifeline alongside studying for my A Levels. It was all filmed in Manchester, in the restored Victorian swimming pool, Victoria Baths, which was more recently used in the BBC’s Peaky Blinders.

“The film was possibly my biggest challenge yet. There was a fantastic cast and crew of 40 people who all helped make the film possible. I loved seeing it all come together on set – from writing the script at home to seeing it become a reality on set – it was so surreal for me.

“I really admire the work of Danny Boyle – I think the way he crafts his stories is fantastic, utilising the power of film at every moment.”

Lifeline premiered in front of more than 400 people at the NFT1 BFI Southbank cinema last year, before playing at film festivals in the USA, Belgium and the UK.

On winning the first prize at the Rhode Island International Film Festival, Sam said: “I’m so happy to screen at such a respected film festival for filmmakers.
Thousands of short films are made every year – they are the starting point for filmmakers. Many filmmakers create short films with the aim of progressing into the world of feature films. This is my ultimate goal really. It is my hope that recognition from such festivals will help push me further in this direction!”

To see more of Sam’s work, visit his website.

Writer and director Sam Jones on the set of Lifeline

Writer and director Sam Jones on the set of Lifeline