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25th September 2017

Marston’s Launch Beertown Film Festival

Pat McGinty, Jack Hale, John Fitch, Alice Parkerson & Jo Wyke


Marston’s Brewery has announced the launch of the first film festival in Burton Upon Trent in Staffordshire backed by Burton’s own homegrown talent: Hollywood special effects producer, Rich Yeomans and film maker and award-winning screen writer, Deborah Haywood.


Working in partnership on the film festival with Burton and South Derbyshire College, Marston’s Brewery are celebrating their 180-year association with Burton Upon Trent by creating an annual event that will draw interest in the town and celebrate its own local talent and craftsmanship.


Locally born film makers Rich Yeomans and Deborah Haywood will act as patrons and judges for the festival with other judges for each of the categories being drawn from a range of film makers, animators, photographers and experts in their judging categories.


The Beertown Film Festival will call for entries from film makers of 16 years of age over across four different film categories from now until 31st March 2018. The categories are:

  • Best fiction short
  • Best documentary short
  • Best advertising or promotional film
  • Best animated

The judges will award a fifth prize for the best film made by ‘home-grown’ talent from across all of the categories whereby the entrant must be from an area within a 20-mile radius of Burton Upon Trent, taking in local surrounding towns such as Derby, Ashbourne, Stafford, Tamworth and Ashby.


There will also be a People’s Choice award that will be chosen by Burton Mail readers selected in an online poll.


Winners in each of these six categories will win a cash prize of £500.


Finally, the judges will award an overall Beertown Festival Winner selected from the finalists in each category – the ‘Hop D’Or’ – who will collect £1,000 in prize money as well as the honour.


Judging will take place during April and May 2018 and the Beertown Film Festival will culminate in a major outdoor cinema, beer and food festival to be held at Marston’s Brewery in Burton Upon Trent on Saturday 26th May 2018. Audiences will be able to see clips of the finalists’ films and hear the winners being announced before enjoying a feature film in the surroundings of the famous Victorian brewery.


Rich Yeomans, who made his name in visual effects in the Harry Potter film franchise said: “I am honoured and excited to have been asked to be a part of this film festival, and look forward to seeing the entries and talent that Burton has to offer.”


Deborah Haywood, whose film Pin Cushion was chosen to open the Venice Critics’ Week this summer was keen to inspire women film makers to enter and said: “I think it’s important that girls feel they can succeed in the industry, too. It’s very male and we need more women involved and more women’s stories.  Plus, if I can do it, anyone can. My Mum still lives in Swadlincote and that’s where we filmed Pin Cushion.”


“It’s a great area to make films because everyone is so friendly and accommodating.”


Jo Wyke, Marketing Manager from Marston’s said: “We hope that film makers respond to our competition from all corners of the UK, whether they are already in film making or are enthusiastic amateurs looking for some recognition. A home-grown talented film maker has the chance to win up to £2,500 in prize money – as well as the recognition for their skills.”


Chris Beech from Burton and South Derbyshire College said: “We’re excited to be supporting Marston’s with the launch of their Beertown Film Festival, which will provide a platform for films and creativity in the local area. Our creative students will have the opportunity to enter the competition, allowing them to showcase their work on a national stage. We’re proud to support the local community and work with local organisations to develop and nurture the creative scene in Burton, while giving our students access to real industry experiences for success in their future careers.”


Notes for Entrants:


Anyone aged 16 years old and over can enter the Beertown Film Festival competition with an original film that must have been made after 1st January 2017.


Entries can be received from 3pm on Saturday 23rd September 2017 up until midnight on Saturday 31st March 2018.


Entries can be uploaded via –


The categories for entry are:

  • Fiction Short
  • Documentary Short
  • Promo Advertising and Music
  • Animation Short


Where ‘Short’ is deemed to be no longer than 20 minutes or less.


Entrants from within a 20-mile radius of Burton Upon Trent will also be considered for a separate Home-Grown prize category with a prize of £500.


The three finalists from each of the four categories will be put forward to a People’s Choice award to be voted by members of the public with a prize of £500.


The category winners will be put forward to an overall Beertown Film Festival Award with a prize of £1,000.


Full terms and conditions will be on the website.


Notes on the patrons:

Rich Yeomans

From Needwood to Hollywood, Rich Yeomans has agreed to cast his expert eye over film entries as a judge in the Beer Town Film Festival 2018.


He was born in Burton Upon Trent and grew up living in Stretton attending Thomas Alleynes High School in Uttoxeter. With GNVQs in Advanced Art and Design, he went on to study Visual Communications at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design where he roomed with several film production students and caught the film-making bug.


On graduation he moved to London eventually landing the role of a visual effects runner on the second Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. He went on to work on the remaining six films in the franchise and was credited as Visual Effects Production Supervisor for the last three. Since then he has worked on Wrath of the Titans, Maleficent, Fast and Furious and is currently in post-production on Andy Serkis’s Jungle Book.


Currently living in the South East, Rich still comes ‘home’ to Burton to see family and friends and is delighted to be involved in Beer Town Film Festival 2018.


Deborah Haywood

From Swadlincote, film maker and writer Deborah Haywood has filmed all her films locally and first got into writing when she attended an access course at Burton and South Derbyshire College.


Following her first short Deborah was selected for Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow, 2007. She is BIFA nominated and has won several awards including Best Short at Soho Rushes Short Film Festival with her short film Sis.

In September 2017, Pin Cushion was screened at the Venice Critics’ Week as the strand’s opening film. Starring Lily Newmark and Joanna Scanlan, the film is Pin Cushion is an all-girl gothic fairy tale set in the British working-class suburbs.


She is also co-writing and attached to direct the adaptation of prize-winning novel The Killing Jar, with author Nicola Monaghan and she recently completed her fifth short film, Twinkle, Twinkle.




For more information contact Lisa Harlow on 07917 757860 or email