Rayleigh Film Maker Says ‘Bonjour’ to Cannes World Film Festival

A film about the COVID-19 pandemic, which was produced, directed and edited, by a South Essex College student, has been recognised at the Cannes World Film Festival.

During the first Lockdown, from her base in Rayleigh, Alex Gulland created the documentary short film, entitled - ‘LOCK 4 TIMES’.
The 25-minute film received Nominee status in the ‘Best Health Film’ category February 2021, as well as Semi-Finalist in the ‘Best Short Film’ category.

Cannes World Film Festival is an IMDb Qualifying monthly and annual competition of all genres for international Filmmakers from all over the world.

The success follows a number of accolades where the film was recognised by film festivals around the world:

•    It was selected to be part of the Phoenix International Short Film Festival and The Cyrus International Festival both in Toronto.
•    It was also a semi-finalist in the Luleå International Film Festival in Sweden and most recently, the film made it through to the finals at the 'Beyond The Curve' Festival in Paris.
•    In addition it received an *Honorable Mention at The Hollywood International Golden Age Festival in New York. 
•    The film was selected as a finalist at ‘The Niagara Falls Festival’ and received another *Honourable Mention from The London Indie Festival.
•    During 2021, the film was selected to be part of the Paris International Film Festival. 

The catalyst for the film was due to the start of the lockdown, when her work like many others, had slowed down significantly. Around her, she saw the harsh impact the lockdown was having on both friends and business contacts. Consequently, she wanted to put her talents to good use, and 'LOCK 4 TIMES' was born.

Initially the project was meant to be a 10-minute documentary film, but as the importance of the powerful stories unfolded, it ended up being 25 minutes.

The film examines the real stories, of four disparate people behind the headlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alex has a successful career in advertising and marketing and also a passion for helping clients with mental health issues. 

She currently runs two companies – Contented Brands, a promotional film company where she makes films for companies/agencies and the other, Contented People, involves working with horses to help people with mental health issues.

Last year she returned to education to study Level 2 Counselling Skills, at the college's Southend Campus to further her knowledge within the mental health area.

Alex said she was overwhelmed at the Film Festival response to the film.

She said: "I expected the film to be selected for some festivals, but it has far exceeded my expectations and seems to have snowballed. It's great that it is far-reaching and has proved to be extremely powerful in the fact that people can identify with the interviewees' experiences."

Alex hopes the film will raise awareness of mental health and in particular, the charity Phoenix Heroes.

The charity, which provides PTSD Veteran Support, is very close to Alex and her campaigning colleague Claire Lily, who features in the film. You can find out more at www.phoenixheroes.co.uk and you can also donate at https://donorbox.org/phoenix-heroes-ptsd-veteran-support

As well as the hard-hitting nature of the film, it does offer a valuable message of hope and optimism for the future.

Alex added: "One thing that lockdown has taught us is that our surrounding community is vital for our survival, both physically and emotionally. I hope the film will emphasise to viewers and give them comfort, that they are not alone in their fears and that we really are all in this together and therefore should look to assist whenever possible, our fellow man/woman.”

For more information about courses at the college, visit www.southessex.ac.uk

For more information about the Cannes World Film Festival, visit www.cannesworldfilmfestival.com

*An "Honourable Mention" is an extra distinction of the official competition. That is to say; the Jury does not intervene; it is granted exclusively by the Festival directors. Here, the film that has distinguished itself from the others will be awarded, in its general aspect, concept, aesthetics, and/or particularly brilliant performance, in its direction, photography, acting, editing, and/or soundtrack.

Success stories

Celebrating Success 2022: Luke Lambert

Celebrating Success 2022: Luke Lambert

Course studied

Performing and Production Arts (Musical Theatre) Level 3 Extended Diploma

I have enjoyed receiving honest feedback and having the opportunity to grow as a performer. Tutors really encourage their students.

Performing Arts Student of the Year, Luke Lambert, has won his award because in every respect, his development and improvement has been outstanding.

Luke said that he feels extremely proud and grateful for the recognition. 

He said: “I chose to study at the college because I went to the open day with my parents. We were all really excited by the course and impressed by Richard and his ambition for his students.”

He added: “The course has been great for learning professional etiquette, as well as the actual training. I have enjoyed receiving honest feedback and having the opportunity to grow as a performer. Richard and Neil really encourage their students.” 

Luke’s tutor said: “Luke is an outstanding student. The development of his skills set during his time at this college is phenomenal which has been rewarded by casting him in the lead of the cohorts FMP production of ‘Spring Awakening’. As a result of his continuous diligence and want to improve, he has achieved offers from four top London Drama Schools to study Musical Theatre, Bird College, Arts Educational, Italia Conti and Guildford Conservatoire (GSA). This is far above what was expected at the beginning of his training. 

“He has demonstrated that he is highly motivated to succeed in this industry and aspires to always do his best. He is polite and well-mannered at all times to both his peers and his tutors. He is extremely well respected  by his cohort. He is always supportive of them and goes out of his way to help them. 

“He has become a very influential member of the group in so many positive ways. Behaviour, focus and attention to detail is impeccable and cannot be faulted. He has met every deadline for both practical and academic tasks. A faultless time at this college.”

Luke will be studying for a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre at ArtsEd in London from September and his ultimate ambition is to be performing leading roles in the West End. 

Celebrating Success 2022: Zoe Souto

Celebrating Success 2022: Zoe Souto

Course studied

Animal Care Level 2 Diploma

Zoe Souto, 17, from Rayleigh, studied Level 2 Animal Care at the college’s Southend campus.

She was nominated for the award for her excellent attendance and attitude to college life and for completing work before deadlines to a very high standard.

Her tutor said: “Zoe is a very calming influence on the group. She keeps up-to-date with all work and goes above and beyond what is expected.

“Zoe may be hearing impaired but she never lets that act as a barrier to her learning and does everything to a great standard. I often have to set her work from level 3 to keep her ticking over.”

Zoe said: “I feel so proud of myself and surprised as I didn’t expect to be nominated, let alone win. I enjoyed all the support that was given during my course and have always been made to feel at home at the college.”

Zoe’s ambition for the future is to run her own pet services business or run her own cattery.

Celebrating Success 2022: Sophie Peacock

Celebrating Success 2022: Sophie Peacock

Course studied

Creative Media Production (Television and Film Production) Level 3 Extended Diploma

I would definitely recommend South Essex College to those are who are looking for somewhere to be themselves and find their true passion.

Sophie Peacock, 17, from Billericay, studied the Level 3 Creative Media (Television and Film) Diploma at the college’s Southend campus.

She was nominated for the award for her good level of organisation and commitment to every task as well as being a mature, professional and articulate student. 

Her tutor said: “Sophie takes advantage of every opportunity available to her both in college and outside, as she understands the value and benefits it will provide her with, in terms of networking, communicating, professionalism and improving her knowledge and skills. She is an absolute pleasure to have in the classroom and I hope she goes on to achieve great success.”
Sophie chose to study at the college because she liked the facilities that were available for her course.

She has loved the amount of creative freedom that the course has offered and being able to create any ideas and turn them into a reality with the support of her tutors.

Sophie was really proud and a little bit overwhelmed about winning the award.

She said: “I would definitely recommend South Essex College to those are who are looking for somewhere to be themselves and find their true passion.”

Sophie’s ambition for the future is to become a producer on the set of a live entertainment program.