HUNDREDS of professional and amateur filmmakers have entered this year’s Swindon Independent Film Festival as the event returns bigger and better than ever.

Swindon will be hosting its second festival to recognise the work of local and international filmmakers.

More than 450 films have been submitted for the 23 awards and anyone interested will have until tomorrow to send their work.

Doug Kirby, an award-winning producer and director from Swindon, launched the new film festival last year to spotlight new talents. “Compared to last year we got more films and an extra day,” he said. “It was very successful last year with filmmakers visiting from New York, Spain, France, Israel and more and we hope to do even better this year. This festival can really help new filmmakers to share their work.

“We were initially part of the Swindon Fringe but they didn’t really have space for us, so we decided to set up our own festival. We are still working with them and two of our judges are from the Fringe.

“We are running our festival after theirs because we don’t want to compete.”

Running from April 15 to April 18, this year’s event features screenings and talks. The Pauline Quirke Academy of performing Arts has sponsored the best youth film award for under 18s.

“On Monday, there will be a long session for youth films and in the evening, we will screen films from Swindon’s filmmakers,” said Doug. “Over the next few days, we will show international films.”

“Our awards are not gendered like the Oscars, there is not need to divide awards into gendered when it’s all about quality. This is a festival for filmmakers by filmmakers. But we are also inviting every film fan.”

Alex Secker, an award-winning writer and director from Old Town, said: “I wanted to take part in the festival because I wanted to support what Doug and the guys are doing and taking part is the best way. Swindon has such an incredible talented community of filmmakers and it’s great to finally have something towards celebrating independent film in the town.

“It was an honour to win last year, especially since I really didn’t think I was going to. I’m really grateful for it though, it’s awesome to have something you’ve created recognised in that way.”

Adam Spinks, 31, from Surrey said: “I am a filmmaker and I’ve been doing it for several years now. This is the second year I’ve been selected in the festival and this time we entered Like Glass for the best drama award.

“But what is amazing is that my students at PQA are also in the festival with their own film, Supernova. It’s a fantastic event, run by fantastic people and it’s such a welcoming festival. I didn’t win an award last year, but it was fantastic to be considered among the best.”