Ealing, home of the oldest film studios in the world, finally got its own film festival.

Ealing Film Festival nominations are available to watch online, with winners being announced on December 31st, featuring entries from 20 countries.

James Peaty has two films nominated in the Narrative/Drama category, Maureen, filmed in 2018, and Strings, which was filmed in February 2020.

Peaty said: “You’d love to have an in-person showing. The reality of short films is that most films will see them on some sort of device. It is very rare that it will be seen on some sort of screen.

“Why not put them both out there and see what happens? I was very happy to hear I was selected.

“Because of the current situation you are kind of reluctant to take the plunge with some places because you don’t know what the situation was going to be.”

The director of photography for both films is Alfie Biddle, who worked on projects like V for Vendetta, and the lenses used were the same ones used for Kubrick’s The Shining, Peaty revealed.

Despite the final cut taking longer remotely, Peaty said that the experience was not hugely different, except that the slower process gave them more time to make decisions.

Peaty added: “I think the performances drag you in, and hopefully all the other elements support that.

“In a scene between two actors you kind of have to follow the actors, whereas if it is a scene with one person directorially you have more control. So you have to try and take a Zen approach to it, and not over-complicate it.”

Alan Granley founded the festival with Annemarie Flanagan and Peter Gould, and the team met with Ealing MP Rupa Huq.

Granley said: “We thought it’d be a really good opportunity for filmmakers who are struggling at home to be able to send in films, and the same thing for people who have to isolate who can watch these films online.

“The challenge has been to engage people in a time in which it has very difficult to engage. Especially in film, it is a very interactive industry.”

The festival has a People’s Choice Awards section, where anyone can vote for their favourite film of each of the 11 categories, including a smartphone category.

Granley said: “We’ve tried to keep the reputation of Ealing at the forefront of this.

“The smartphone category gives an opportunity to people. You don’t have to be a professional, you can just film and tell a story with your phone.”

Andrew Sumner, film journalist and EVP of the international Titan Entertainment Group, is one of the judges for the Animation, Experimental and Sci-Fi categories.

Sumner said: “What I look for is a perfectly expressed idea that recognizes the forum in which is being told, but most importantly that connects to me emotionally.

“Ealing has made a supreme contribution to global cinema, and it is massively overdue for Ealing to get its own festival.

“Filmmakers have embraced this claustrophobic world in which we have existed for the past year.

“The narrative possibilities, and the emotional resonance of the world we live in now, there is a trememdous amount of fear, concern and existential dread that didn’t really exist for everybody on a day-to-day basis."

You can check out the Ealing Film Festival here.