LJMU student wins BBC commission

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‘Buddha Boy’ production by BBC Wales

LJMU student Gerry Linford is celebrating having had his script ‘Buddha Boy’ filmed, after it was commissioned by BBC Wales.

The 50-year-old MA Screenwriting student has had his script filmed as part of the ‘Made In Wales’ scheme and the film will premiere at the Cardiff Millenium Centre this week at a gala and awards ceremony, before being broadcast on BBC2 in November.

Linford is hopeful his film can follow in the footsteps of ‘Sweet Sixteen’, one of the Made In Wales films from last year, which went on to win a BAFTA for best short film.

The decision to write the script came following an advertisement from a company called ‘It’s My Shout’ on a BBC Writers’ Room page, asking for scripts from people with Welsh connections.

Linford said: “I lived in Caernarfon at the time so I sent them a rough outline of Buddha Boy with a few sample pages. A few months later I got a call saying it had been selected as one of the six short films being developed under the ‘Made In Wales’ banner for broadcast on BBC Wales in the autumn. It was even more special because it was the 10th anniversary of ‘It’s My Shout’.

“The inspiration for Buddha Boy bizarrely came from the title. The phrase ‘Buddha Boy of Bangor’ just came into my head from nowhere, I really can’t explain it, but I thought let’s see what I can do with this.”

The story follows Gwyn, a 16-year-old boy from Carmarthenshire, who lives an isolated life with an eccentric Zen master grandfather. The film highlights the difficulties Gwyn encounters when faced with the modern world and in particular a love interest, Morag.

Buddha Boy poster

The film was produced over the summer and Linford had an opportunity to visit the set: “It was a surreal experience. Seeing characters who had previously only lived in my head physically walking about and speaking the words I had given them was bizarre. Writing is a solitary activity, this script was conceived and produced in a tiny bedroom at home and here I was on a vast beach with about 30 people rushing around bringing it to life. It was magical.”

Linford was also keen to express how his MA course at LJMU had helped him through the process: “The MA course has been fantastic for me. Although Buddha Boy wasn’t written as part of the course I used the advice and expertise I’d been given when constructing and redrafting it.

“I worked with a script editor and then the director and between us we reached a draft that everyone was happy with. This mirrors the workshop process that takes place on the MA course at JMU.”

Details of the exact date and time of the film’s television broadcast have yet to be released.

 

About Joshua Killner, JMU Journalism