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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 May, 2005, 13:13 GMT 14:13 UK
400 UK film on Cannes shortlist
The Man Who Met Himself
The Man Who Met Himself stars the film-maker's brother
A civil servant with no formal training has had his 400 short film selected for competition at the prestigious Cannes film festival.

The Man Who Met Himself, about a private detective investigating a suicide, is the only British movie to make it into the short films category.

Ben Crowe, 27, and his friends, made the film starring Crowe's brother Daniel, who makes his screen debut.

The film is one of nine selected from more than 3,000 entries.

It was shot this year during weekends in London's Covent Garden and will be screened during the festival which runs from 11 to 22 May.

James Brown, Preti Taneja and Ben Crowe
James Brown, Preti Taneja and Ben Crowe made the film

Crowe, a former rail worker who works at the Department for Constitutional Affairs, wrote, directed, produced and shot the film, before editing it on his computer at home.

His girlfriend, charity worker Preti Taneja, 28, was co-writer and producer of the 10-minute short.

They and their producer, James Brown, 29, made the film using their own money.

Taneja said: "This is just a fairytale for us. None of us have ever been to film school. We just decided to make it when Ben sold his mandolin to raise money to buy his camera.

"It's about the doppelganger myth, what happens when a person comes across their own doppelganger."

Cannes attracts film makers from around the globe

She added that they wrote the film in their spare time and came up with a "massive spread sheet" of all the film festivals they wanted the film to be shown at.

"We wouldn't have been getting up on cold, wet weekend mornings to make the film if we didn't believe in it.

"But it has still come as a wonderful surprise."

Ben Crowe's first experience of directing came when his idea for a three-minute documentary film, called What would Jesus do?, was broadcast after being chosen by a Channel 4 scheme.

Crowe said: "When I got the call [about the film being selected for Cannes] I was at work and thought it was my producer, James, playing a trick on me.

"This is amazing recognition for any film-maker, but for a small independent team, it is a dream come true."

Film London spokesman Andy Cole added: "It's amazing that a film shot on such a tight budget has done so well.

"A great film comes out of a great idea, and with today's technology, anyone can make a good film for hundreds of pounds.

"It is a fantastic achievement."

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