Project’s two comedies pull in the crowds

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HUNDREDS of film fans turned out for the premiere of the latest work to be produced by Beacon Hill Arts.

More than 200 guests watched two comedy films by youngsters, focusing on the adventures of Justin – a disaster-prone bellboy at ‘Hotel Talk to the Hand’.

The evening at the Playhouse Whitley Bay also included live musical performances of the films’ soundtracks and exclusive behind the scenes presentations revealing some of the secrets of the Wallsend-based organisation’s award-winning creative workshops.

As well as receiving praise from Mark Kermode, one of the UK’s leading film critics, the new productions have already been selected for the Liberty Film Festival at the BFI in London, the Shetland Film Festival and DaDa Fest: the country’s leading disability arts festival taking place in Liverpool this month.

After the premiere, Connor Rathbone, who has a learning disability and is a young trainee at Beacon Hill Arts, said: “It is brilliant that so many people came. It is the biggest audience we have ever had. I feel very proud to be part of it.”

Project manager Will Sadler added: “People with learning disabilities are still shockingly under-represented in film and TV and our ethos is simple: that young artists with learning disabilities can make equally as entertaining work as those without.

“I think that once again our team have proved that here tonight. We are struggling to keep up with the film festival selections – to have three before we’ve even premiered is remarkable – but it’s a problem we like to have and we’ll try to get the young people to attend as many of them as we can.”

MP Alan Campbell, who attended the screening, added: “I really enjoyed attending the premiere ... and it is not surprising that this local project is receiving such high national profile.

“The young artists certainly deserve all the attention they are getting for their hard work.”

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