Loan funds a shot at film fame

August 12, 2005

In what may prove to be the best investment of his life, Edward Jeffreys decided to spend his student loan on making a film about fate rather than spending it on food, books and beer.

Now the Napier University student could be looking at a career in the movie business after his short film premieres at the forthcoming Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Mr Jeffreys is billed as part of "an explosive mix of hot new film-making talent from across the UK" whose low-budget short films will be screened at the festival later this month.

Although most of the festival's short films are by professional film-makers, Scottish higher education is making a mark. Alongside Mr Jeffreys, the sole Napier student at the festival, are one student and two graduates from Edinburgh College of Art.

Mr Jeffreys wrote, produced, directed and edited the five-minute film, Suicide Angel , a few months ago for a third-year module in his four-year BA in photography, film and imaging.

"A boy in my class organised a film showing, and he invited the film festival guy in charge of shorts," he said.

"He came along and chose mine. I was very pleased, but I hadn't really taken in at the time how much it meant. I now realise it's quite an achievement."

Mr Jeffreys financed the film, which cost £870 to shoot, through his student loan. "I'm overdrawn at the minute, but pleased I did it," he said.

The film, which explores whether people have any power to change their path in life, features a young woman who decides the only way she can feel alive is to experience death, and so commits suicide. But Mr Jeffreys's voiceover explains that she has gone to an afterlife. The film ends with the "positive" image of a male character who has witnessed the suicide sitting down and relaxing.

Mr Jeffreys, who co-opted two friends - Caroline Budge and Dean Gartland - to be his actors, showed no sign of Hollywood director-style tantrums. "Basically, I just asked them to do it as confidently as they could," he said.

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