LIGHTS, cameras – waterproofs.

 

It may not have that red-carpet ring to it – but the north west’s reputation for nurturing filmmaking talent– (think Bury’s Danny Boyle, or Paul Greengrass, ex-Granada TV) has received a major boost thanks to a company more renowned for keeping walkers, travelers and other outdoor types protected from the elements.

 

International travel and adventure clothing brand, Craghoppers, based on Trafford Park, has pledged a substantial sum of money to help the next generation of directors and producers get their lucky break in a genre of filmmaking that’s often overlooked.

 

The Craghoppers Film Prize offers £34,000 in prize money and is open to anyone making short films – those under 40 minutes in length.

 

When you think that the likes of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg cut their directing teeth in short films, the precedent is clear to see.

 

But why is a company more used to selling millions of pairs of Kiwi trousers getting into film?

 

Jim McNamara, managing director said:

 

“Why not?

 

“Our love of film stems back from the making of our film called Hope where we documented the amazing work of the Rangers protecting the endangered gorillas at the Dian Fossey Gorilla International Fund in Rwanda.

“Here we had the opportunity to support an underfunded genre of filmmaking and it was something that just struck a chord.”

 

Judging for The Craghoppers Film Prize takes place on September 25th with the winners announced at The Hospital Club in London as part of the Discover.film Awards, which take place from October 4th-7th.

 

Craghoppers is part of the Regatta Group which posted a record turnover of £214m in 2017.

But Jim McNamara insists the move into movies is not purely a commercial one.

“We have a robust CSR programme – the Honesty Project – and we work hard to give back to charities and causes we feel strongly about.

 

Maybe the MD fancies a walk on part himself? After all, Jim McNamara has been an active member of his local amateur dramatic society as well as being a long-time supporter of the local Arts.

 

In the meantime, he is more than happy to see the partnership grow.

 

Jim added: “This is as much about seeing new talent emerging in this dynamic genre of filmmaking and working with Discover.film who are leaders in their field, as exposing our brand to new audiences.”