Her story was a familiar one.
The struggling artist.
Two years into a three-film project and she was broke.
Camille-Hollett French, was going to have to go cap in hand – again – to the bank to try and realise her dream.
Not anymore. Now Her Story can become reality.
Winning the inaugural £20,000 Craghoppers Film Prize means the actor, writer and director can pay her cast and crew and finish her trilogy of films called Her Story.
Camille Hollett-French won first prize for No.2: Hush Little Baby which she acted in and directed. It’s the first of the three films to look at the shame associated with sex, sexuality and assault and the silence which often surrounds these things – all told from a female perspective.
She said: “The Craghoppers Film Prize not only rewards filmmakers it announces to the world short film is important. It encourages people to raise their game and rewards those that do. I hope other companies follow suit and start supporting this exciting and growing format and that all filmmakers rise to the challenge.”
Camille was in Los Angeles when the life changing news came through and was relying on her partner Paul, who she works with, to relay the information back from the awards ceremony in London.
“We set up family and friends on a chat group just in case we won and were all waiting anxiously by our phones. Paul was texting us throughout the evening while I just kept my fingers crossed.
“When the main award was about to be announced he went quiet and stayed quiet. Suddenly the phone rang and it was Paul on facetime – when I answered I was greeted by a wall of noise – the audience was going crazy. Paul was shaking and in tears and it slowly dawned on me what was happening.
“I tried my best to give a speech but wasn’t at all prepared and was really in shock. It’s totally amazing especially given the standard of the competition. Days later and I’m still pinching myself.”
Jaine Green, chair of the judges said:
“Without a doubt a stunning debut film.
“It’s wonderful to see a female filmmaker confront serious female issues. A number of the jury stated that they were excited to see what Camille does next and to watch her career path which they believe will be stratospheric – she’s a relevant, strong, contemporary, female voice.”
Craghoppers proudly work with The Discover Film Awards, to support a new generation of content creators and recognise both student and established filmmakers, by awarding significant cash prizes. A total of £34,000 was awarded to the prize winners this year.
Joanne Black, Director of Craghoppers says: “Supporting projects that give something back is an intrinsic part of Craghoppers CSR programme – the Honesty Project. From funding a school in Bangladesh, supporting the rangers at the Dian Fossey International Gorilla Foundation and now rewarding independent short filmmakers from around the world. We see this initiative growing year-on-year and over time, we hope that the Craghoppers Film Prize will be one of the most coveted prizes to be won within International Film Award programmes.”
Camille’s dream is to live and work in London, and she has already got her eyes on next year’s competition.
“I will finish the third film and be back at the Film Awards next year to show my support for fellow filmmakers and hopefully to snap up another Craghoppers Film Prize – is that greedy? Nah. The challenge is on!”