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Penn Pauline Quirke Academy hope zombie film will win short film comp
A GROUP of aspiring actors and film-makers are celebrating after their short film about zombies has been selected from hundreds entries nationwide to be shown at the Empire cinema in Leicester Square.
The students from the Penn Pauline Quirke Academy, which meets at the Sir William Ramsay School in Hazlemere, receive training every Saturday in film and television alongside modules in musical theatre and comedy and drama.
They wrote, staged and produced the short film which they have named Zom, which focuses on an outbreak of a virus in a school. Student Adam Marshall was at the helm with help from their TV and film teacher, Anna Brook.
Three of the team, Amy Malone (director), Bethany Craker (producer) and Hannah Kennedy (writer) spoke about the trials and tribulations of putting the film together.
Hannah, 14, said: "When we started filming we got to the point where we thought can it go on any longer?"
They involved everyone in the academy and had to make everyone wore the same clothes for the filming each week.
It was scripted in the Easter holidays and they came up with the idea two to three weeks later.
Luckily a week before filming they had a zombie make-up masterclass.
But Hannah laughed: "My person didn't look like a zombie. She just looked like a clown. I kinda gave up."
Amy, 16, said: "I took a step back and thought 'Oh God, what have I done?'"
But they all managed to learn how to do the make up better and soon they were feeling more positive.
Bethany, 16, said: "When we saw it in the cinema we were like 'Wow.'"
Hannah added: "Everyone was walking in and we thought, 'This is going to be embarrassing.' Afterwards we all just looked at each other and said 'That was a lot better than we thought it was going to be.'"
And they all worked well together to put together the final piece.
Hannah said: "It worked best because we are all such good friends. If we weren't I think I would have killed them, all by now."
And they all realised how different filming was to theatre, with Amy prefering the immediacy of the stage.
Bethany would like to go into Drama Therapy and also act, and she said the academy has given her the confidence she needs.
She said: "I was totally different when I first started."
She added she had a rough time before and didn't really want to talk to anyone but the school helped her: "I realised I needed to come out of my shell a bit. Now I love it here. I don't want to leave."
And Hannah who wouldn't sing in front of anyone is now able to do a solo.
Amy added: "My mum dragged me here as a grumpy 13-year-old. I wanted to act but didn't want to go up in front of people- I don't quite know how I thought that would work. "But when I came here it became a realistic dream. It is possible."
She said it is not competitive and has a nice atmosphere with Hannah adding: "We know who the better dancers are who and the better actors are."
They are all ready for the London event with Hannah adding: "We haven't seen the other ones yet. Hopefully ours will be a bit of light relief."
Toby Ross-Bryant, principal of PQA Penn said, "I’m incredibly proud of what the students here have achieved. Everyone had enormous fun making the short films and for their hard work to be recognized and shown at the best and most famous cinema in the country is simply amazing."
The competition final is at the Empire in Leicester Square on November 11.