The Collaborators (Premiere): Review

The Collaborators premieres as part of The Great Northern Creative Festival 2015.

Waiting in a hall, brimming with excitement were the cast and crew members of The Collaborators as they patiently waited for the film that they’ve worked extremely hard on. Speaking to various crew members I quickly figured out that everyone had put their heart into the production and are proud of their achievements in the space of a short amount of time. The overall atmosphere made me anticipate what was about to come and I was surely not disappointed.

The concept of the narrative being about two students who, after leaving university because of a bust-up with their teacher, accidentaly commit murder. The story then follows them trying to escape what they’ve done by heading to Newcastle where they will leave the country.

With low budget films, I seem to think that the problem usually is finding actors who can play the role convincingly. I was pleasantly surprised with the female duo who were the main characters – Crista Bell (Roisin Mccusker) and Suze (Kerry Carroll). They meshed well on screen, it felt like a real friendship and the dominant and oppressive roles suited well to each character. I could see a future career for both actresses. Worth a mention as well would be the lecturer (Johnny Vivash) at the beginning of the film, for his realistic approach which was convincingly with the comedic element added!

A variety of camera shots were used that maintained a high-quality standard, the stand-out moment for me was when Suze was crying in the car after an incident. The shot reminded me of a scene which featured Heath Ledger’s Joker in Dark Knight, the silence whilst she’s crying gives the effect of an eerie nature. Without giving away too many spoilers, another memorable scene was etched into everyone’s mind – but you’ll have to watch the film for that!

The film was well produced and directed, the different locations used in and around Preston were used convincingly in order for the audience to think that they were in-fact travelling across the country! It was a very clean cut film, in the fact that the editing was crisp, visually and sound. The film worked well flowing from one scene to another which takes a lot of organisation. To add to this, there were uses of a number of special effects that were convincing to the audience and didn’t look out of place at any one point.

For me, it reminded me of a number of films but the idea itself was unique and worked excelent! The script was well written and the actor/actresses were able to adapt the script and play their characters with a realistic touch. The film was made with the British Cinema touch – a dark and dreary concept but the comedy beckons throughout!

Obviously by watching the film, we see that talent beams on screen and off-screen and to create what has been done and to such a high standard had me excited. I felt like after I watched the film, I wanted to just speak about it! I would love to see the talent go forth and make other films because I’d definitely be watching their progress as they carry on!

I want to thank all the members of crew who spoke to me and ultimately the invite to the premiere! I want to wish them all the best of luck in the future.

Words by Caitlin Mclaren

Student wins award for radio documentary exploring his own eye condition

Mohammed Salim Patel with his award from The Great Northern Creative Festival

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student has been recognised for his journalistic talents after winning an award for a radio documentary he made about a degenerative eye condition that he himself suffers from.

Mohammed Salim Patel, a 21-year-old final year journalism student from Blackburn, was handed the Excellence in Journalism Award at the first ever Great Northern Creative Festival which is hosted by UCLan and sponsored by Northern Rail.

Known as blogger TheBlindJournalist, Salim produced a 23 minute piece called An Insight into Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) for his final year project. The documentary explores how the condition, which causes a deterioration of the retina, affects sufferers as well as looking at what causes it, the research that’s being done to find a cure and the support available for people with RP.

The former Blackburn College student said: “This documentary has allowed me to raise awareness of an eye condition that affects 3.5 million people across the world and show what I’m capable of at the same time. I am ecstatic about winning this award and feel like all of my hard work has paid off.”

Senior broadcast journalism lecturer Deborah Robinson nominated Salim for the award. She said: “Salim is an exceptionally talented person. It is remarkable that he has managed to secure interviews with such powerful contributors to create a documentary that is both informative and moving.

“Salim has completed several industrial placements and I’m sure that in the future we will hear him broadcast professionally.”

Salim was one of 15 winners at the inaugural Great Northern Creative Festival awards ceremony which recognises the outstanding creative talents of UCLan students in media, film, photography and journalism. It is sponsored by Northern Rail, which has a longstanding reputation of promoting UCLan talent through an annual rail safety film script writing competition. More recently, Northern Rail commissioned an Instagram residency art project for UCLan student Riley Arthur to showcase her journeys through Northern Rail’s Northwestern routes for a month on the social network site.

For more information on Salim’s work follow TheBlindJournalist blog at or follow him on Twitter. To learn more about Riley’s project follow her on Instagram.

Famous author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce opened Great Northern Creative Festival

A leading author and screenwriter has told a group of University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) students that they are the future of the industry.

Frank Cottrell Boyce was the guest of honour at the Great Northern Creative Festival where he spoke to budding writers in a question and answer session. He officially opened the festival before a screening of his classic 2002 film 24 Hour Party People.

He is one of the most respected screenwriters working in the English film industry. His career has seen him work alongside the likes of Danny Boyle on the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. He has been the screenwriter on films and has written for some of the most classic shows on our screens today, in the likes of Doctor Who and Coronation Street.

“The students here are ‘tomorrow’; this is the hatchery and the nursery where talent is born, hatched and nurtured. Coming here and meeting them is like looking into the future.”

Speaking to the audience Frank said: “The reason I am excited to be here at UCLan is that the students here are ‘tomorrow’; this is the hatchery and the nursery where talent is born, hatched and nurtured. Coming here and meeting them is like looking into the future, it’s a fantastic privilege to be here. If they can gain anything from me, from this old scarred body, then that’s fine with me.”

His visit kick-started the free four day media extravaganza. The event brought together some of the biggest creative talents in the north and from across the UK, while showcasing the outstanding creative talents of UCLan students in media, film, photography and journalism.

Over the four days students and members of the public attended a mixture of workshops, pitching sessions, industry talks and specialist lectures.

GREAT NORTHERN CREATIVE EXTRAVAGANZA

A free four-day media extravaganza is taking place at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to showcase creative talent.

The Great Northern Creative Festival, which runs from 22 to 25 April, will bring together some of the biggest creative talents in the north and from across the UK, as well as showcasing the outstanding creative talents of UCLan students in media, film, photography and journalism.

Over the four days students can attend a mixture of workshops, pitching sessions, industry talks and specialist lectures. Most of the events are also open to members of the general public.

Opening the festival is renowned author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, who will do a Q&A with the audience in Darwin Lecture Theatre, before a screening of his classic 2002 film 24 Hour Party People. He is one of the most respected screenwriters working in the English film industry. His career has seen him work alongside the likes of Danny Boyle on the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. He has been the screenwriter on films and has written for some of the most classic shows on our screens today, in the likes of Doctor Who and Coronation Street.

He said: “I’m delighted to support this year’s UCLan Student Creative Festival to offer support and advice to its creative students. Events like this are absolutely vital to help young creative people have a voice and motivate them to get out there and have a future in the creative industry.”

Also passing on her invaluable experience is Red Production’s Emily Feller. Emily has script edited and worked in development on dramas such as Bodies, Emmerdale, Scott and Bailey, and The Driver. She has recently been promoted to in-house Producer at Red Production Company having overseen Russell T Davies’ new E4 drama, Banana. Emily will talk about her career from script development to producing and will offer career advice. Tying into Emily’s event is ‘Mediating the North’ with Dr Peter Atkinson and Professor Ewa Mazierska. The academic symposium will analyse the huge BBC hits Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax.

A student only event, CJAM 2015, will see industry professionals from across the board visit, with undergraduates getting the chance to pitch their ideas and network.

Andrew Ireland, Executive Dean of Journalism and Media at UCLan, said: “This is a really exciting time to be involved in the creative industries at UCLan. Events such as the Great Northern Creative Festival give our students amazing access to top industry professionals and engage in debates and career planning. It’s a great opportunity to showcase our talented students and their work.”