Movie magic £50 short film is an in­ter­net smash

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - By CONOR GOGARTY

AFILMMAKER says he “can’t be­lieve what’s hap­pen­ing” af­ter more than 8.6 mil­lion peo­ple watched his Christ­mas short.

Phil Beast­all, from Wal­ton Cardiff, shot the video in one day on a £50 bud­get in 2014.

He posted it on Face­book again on a whim last week and watched in dis­be­lief as 183,000 peo­ple shared it in the fol­low­ing days.

The video, which shows how a man re­mem­bers his late mum at Christ­mas, was called “quite breath­tak­ing” by TV pre­sen­ter Ben Shep­hard.

Mr Beast­all, who trained as a film­maker at the Univer­sity of Gloucestershire, said: “I am blown away by the re­ac­tion, I can’t be­lieve what’s hap­pen­ing.

“In 2014 I posted it on the Face­book group Tewkes­bury No­tice­board and peo­ple re­sponded re­ally well to it in that group, but it stopped there.

“I posted it in the group again this year and for some rea­son this time round it’s re­ally hit home to so many peo­ple.

“The thing that re­ally stands out to me is the shares.

“I love that peo­ple are tak­ing the time to share it and talk about it.”

One viewer com­mented on Face­book: “Thank you for bring­ing Mum and Dad back, even it if was just for a mo­ment.”

Mr Beast­all de­scribed the com­par­isons to the John Lewis Christ­mas ad­verts as “the ul­ti­mate com­pli­ment” and re­vealed he would love to have a go at di­rect­ing one for the firm.

He said 2011’s John Lewis ad­vert which showed a boy count­ing down the days to Christ­mas so he could give his par­ents a present - in­spired his film.

“I had been stuck in the cor­po­rate world and I wanted to make a Christ­mas film to ex­press my­self as a film­maker,” he added.

“I was run­ning on a Sun­day evening when I had the idea and I thought, ‘I re­ally want to make this film,’”

Two days later he did, with his friend Chris Il­ston - a cam­era op­er­a­tor in his day job - star­ring as the main char­ac­ter.

Mr Beast­all says the film, which was shot in Mr Il­ston’s par­ents’ Stroud home, cost less than £50 to make.

“All we had to get was fuel to get to Stroud, some lunch and a few Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions.”

Mr Beast­all, who runs with the Chel­tenham Har­ri­ers ath­let­ics club and has come close to rep­re­sent­ing Bri­tain in cross-coun­try, mostly shoots videos for the cor­po­rate sec­tor.

He has worked with firms in­clud­ing Kodi and the Co-op - but he says the kind of sto­ry­telling show­cased by his Christ­mas film is his true pas­sion.

Watch the film at gloucestershire live.co.uk [email protected]­plc.com

Phil Beast­all from Tewkes­bury who made the vi­ral short Christ­mas film Love is a Gift Pic­ture Si­mon Pizzey

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