Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

NI film-maker's a Sundance kid

Connor Clements
Connor Clements wrote and directed 'James'

A short film by a County Down man is to be screened at Robert Redford's famous Sundance Film Festival in Utah later this month.

Connor Clements from Scarva, wrote and directed 'James' as part of his masters degree course at Queen's University in Belfast.

The film follows a teenage boy as he struggles to come to terms with his sexuality.

It was also chosen for the Short Film Corner at Cannes last year.

The film features 'Mickeybo and me' star Niall Wright in the title role.

'James' is one of just 22 short films selected for the International Dramatic Competition, out of an overall festival entry of 6,000.

It has also been selected for the Sundance 10/10 - an exclusive selection of 10 short films available to download from iTunes during the festival which runs from 15-25 January.

I found the most nerve-wracking screenings were at the QFT, with an audience of people you know or you're sort of acquainted with
Connor Clements

Connor, who has travelled to Utah to present his film, said: I had hoped that maybe some festivals would take it, but i didn't expect Sundance.

"I didn't expect half of the festivals that I submitted to and won awards would be interested in it."

'James' won a series of awards in 2008, including Best Northern Irish Short at the Belfast Film Festival, The Iris Prize for Best UK Short, and Best International Short at the St Louis International Film Festival.

It will feature several other film festivals around the world in the coming months, with screenings planned in San Francisco, San Jose, Honolulu, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Sydney and Miami.

Despite the international recognition, Connor said nerves got to him more in Northern Ireland than at any of the international screenings.

"I found the most nerve-wracking screenings were at the QFT (Queen's Fim Theatre), with an audience of people you know or you're sort of acquainted with.

"When you're out in Sundance nobody knows you and there's no real expectations," he said

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