A documentary film about the decline of Portsmouth as a traditional seaside resort has won first prize for three student film-makers who graduate this week.
The University of Portsmouth students won the award for ‘best documentary’ at the Inspire Film Festival for their graduate film ‘The Last Resort’ which received critical acclaim from the judging panel including legendary film critic, Barry Norman. The film explores the decline of the Southsea as a traditional seaside resort told from the perspective of an elderly sea-swimmers group, a sea-front cafe manager and the owner of a model village.
The 16 minute film made by Russell Oastler, David Kinnaird and Lucas Way has since been picked up by the Sunday Times Short Film Community, an online showcase for the work of new film-makers which goes live in August.
The film explores the declining fortunes of The Big Wheel Cafe at Clarence Pier and Southsea’s model village, run by Mike Armet, who owns the attraction on Southsea Esplanade.
The film also introduces a group of Southsea die-hard swimmers who take a dip in the Solent’s chilly water 365 days a year. Some have been swimming there for over 30 years and even swim on Christmas Day. Sadly one of their group, 86 year old Dorothy Browning, passed away during the making of the documentary and the film has been dedicated to her memory.
Russell, who has just returned from work-experience on a professional short film, said it was never his plan to be a documentary film-maker but enjoys the unplanned nature of the medium.
“I like the idea that you don’t really know what might happen in a documentary – it could be something totally unexpected,” he said.