Kettering film director wins top gong with first feature movie

His film beat blockbusters such as 1917 and Fighting with my Family

By Sam Wildman
Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 3:18 pm
Darren (right) and Neill Phillips, Director of Photography
Darren (right) and Neill Phillips, Director of Photography

A Kettering director's years of dedication paid off after he beat major movies to win a national award with his first feature film.

Darren S. Cook, who lives on the Caitlands estate, took home the title of 'Best Feature Film' at the National Film Awards on July 1 with his 2019 movie Lucas and Albert.

The film beat the likes of Bafta-winning wartime epic 1917 as well as Fighting with my Family, which was directed by Stephen Merchant, into first place.

L-R: Darren S Cook (Director), AG Longhurst (Lucas/Producer/Writer), James Osborne (Albert), Robert Putt (Producer/Writer), John Altman (Charlie Boy)

Darren, who has been working in the industry for 27 years, said: "It still hasn’t sunk in to be honest.

"Receiving recognition on this level is just overwhelming and I couldn’t be more proud.

"To be nominated against some huge names and titles was already an honour, and to take the overall title of 'Best Feature Film' is just incredible.

“Working in this industry involves committing months and years of painstaking time and dedication to create something that tells a story and really strikes a chord with the people who are watching it, and that’s what we achieved through Lucas and Albert."

Albert (James Osborne) on a stakeout with Lucas (AG Longhurst).

Back in 2018 we reported on Darren's high hopes for the film, which was shot in Clacton-on-Sea and the Tendring area of Essex.

It involved local businesses and residents, was written by AG Longhurst and Robert Putt, and is based on the play ‘The Babysitters’.

The film tells the story of two ageing hitmen who are sent to clean up a bank robbery gone wrong some twenty years ago.

As the director Darren edited the entire film, which was shot over several months, and led on some of the camera work.

He also makes a cameo appearance as a body in a bedroom towards the end of the film, which is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

When he was first told the film had been nominated last year, before the Covid pandemic forced the awards' postponement, he originally thought it was a nasty prank.

Darren, 50, added: “I’d like to thank everyone who played a part in bringing the film to life and to all those who have supported me in the months of hard work to make it a reality.”

The director, who also received the Couple de Cour in Cannes in 2010 for his short film Broken Silence, lives with his partner Sarah and has two daughters, three step-daughters and three grandchildren.

He is currently working on a number of projects including a documentary following the story of Team BRIT which aims to be the first ever all-disabled team to compete in the Le Mans 24 hour race.