THE fantastic local filmmaking community has yet another success to shout about.

Many congratulations are due to Oakridge actor Paul Anthony Kelly, who was recently nominated as Best Actor in the IAC BIAFF (British International Amateur Film Festival) 2013 awards.

And it’s all because of his performance in local director Geoff Harmer’s short film Addict, which was written by Mark Brennan from Pork Chop Pictures and James Webber.

Paul didn’t win, but his director is incredibly proud of him nonetheless. Geoff said: “I’m thrilled to bits with Paul’s nomination for all the hard work he put in. He really gave me his heart and soul during the making of the film, so he deserves all the accolades that come his way.

“I am gutted he didn’t win, but just to get nominated is recognition enough of his fine work and he should be really, really proud.”

Paul added: “I was surprised to say the least! I didn’t know that BIAFF did that sort of thing. I hoped to win, obviously, but I just did my job, which was to bring the character to life as Geoff perceived him. The film is more a testament to Geoff’s vision and perseverance.”

50 year-old Paul, who has lived in Basingstoke for 42 years, has, over the decades, worked with many, many names which will be familiar to readers.

After training as a musician, he went on to play keyboard and guitar in a number of local bands in the 1980s and 1990s, in addition to some Dj-ing.

But his acting career began at QMC, where he studied theatre arts. He joined Tadley’s Boundary Players, learning his stagecraft from the late Peter Todd of the Berkshire Shakespeare Company.

Paul, who currently plays the organ and piano in a local church, has also been a member of the Silchester Players, the Mortimer Players and the St Michael’s Players, which gave him the opportunity to act, direct and write the music for a show, “on more than one occasion all at the same time”, he recalls!

He continued: “In the 1990s and 2000s, I appeared in a number of productions for BATS and BAOS, honing my craft under the private tutelage of Ray Jeffrey (no stranger to the theatregoing public), with whom I performed my first opera in Madeira.

“I gave up acting for a while, until I was cast in the lead for Rob Moir and Harriet Brown’s feature film A Darker Shade of Red, also a Basingstoke-born venture, which was shot in Basingstoke and premiered at Seb Hall’s Red Carpet Screenings in Central Studio.

“It was while making that film that Geoff (whose company is Fraught Productions), who was brought in to shoot some of the final scenes, approached me with the idea of making a five minute short film called Addict.”

Geoff recalled that he “was captivated by the way Paul threw himself into the role. I wrote the original idea for Addict completely with Paul in mind for the lead. He really worked hard in getting the character and the situations he finds himself in just right.”

The initial planned “short” rapidly turned into a feature, as more scenes and characters were added. Carl Austin, also from Pork Chop Pictures, came on board as second camera, Seb Hall acted as one of the sound engineers and Paul collaborated with what he calls, “a very professional cast of actors and very beautiful actresses.”

Even if Addict wins no awards, he’ll surely always remember the memorable moments he had during filming. 

Paul concluded: “Just a few of many notable filming days included those in a pole-dancing club in Andover, filming an adult scene with Kayleigh Chant trying our best not to laugh and performing a choreographed knife fight with Ellis Crewe-Candy with a very vicious, very sharp, blade.

“One slip and I would have been bleeding buckets!”

Take a look at the work of Fraught Productions via Paul can be contacted by tweeting @Paul_A_Kelly.