Five films made in Northamptonshire were awarded prizes at the 2013 Film Northants festival.
The theme of love and monsters was a recurring one in the winning line-up of the sixth consecutive annual competition held at Cineworld in Northampton.
Challenging drama The Boy with the Thorn in His Side made by Alex Motlhabane and Lewis Levis won the judges’ choice award.
The film depicts the monsters among us and the notion of hate breeding hate.
Romance Paper Chase by David Easton and Helen Crevel picked up the most votes winning the public vote trophy.
Public vote runner-up was The Break Up, a twisted zombie romance by James Millar.
The under 16s award – sponsored by Northampton Rotary Club – was won by monster mash The Demon Dinner lady and the second prize was awarded to cuddly horror Night of the Living Ted.
Double BAFTA-nominated director David Morris, who presented the public vote award, said: “I thought The Boy With a Thorn in his Side was absolutely staggeringly good.
“I thought I was watching a documentary at the start, the acting was so good.
“They didn’t over-gangster it which they could easily have done, it was just superb.
“Having now been to my first awards night I was really surprised with how high the quality was.
“When you raise the bar it encourages people to go over it and I think that’s what Film Northants does.”
Ash Williams, father of Maddie, who made Night of the Living Ted, said: “The night was so emotional for me.
“I knew it was good and that it had a chance but I didn’t know if it would win. I’m very proud.”
Maddie said: “The worst bit was having the goo go on the teddies.
“I wouldn’t let my brother put it on my teddies so we had to get some more from the charity shop.”
Sally Williams, mother of Finn Williams, who made Demon Dinner Lady, said: “We have been preparing them all week by saying they might not win anything, so don’t be disappointed, but for them both to win was a brilliant feeling.”
Asked what he will do next, Finn said: “Come back next year and hopefully win again.”
Vintage-chic romance Paperchase scooped first place in the public vote.
The film starred Helen Crevel, 30, who grew up in Irchester and now lives in Northampton.
Helen has been announced in the cast of Alice in Wonderland at The Stables in Milton Keynes from December 17 to January 4.
She said: “We wanted a bit of a twist on a boy chasing a girl and it was a case of taking something familiar and making it unfamiliar.
“When it was announced we had won, I think it was the longest walk down to the front – I didn’t plan that.”
The Breakup, a tale of a bittersweet fuelled relationship breakdown with a twist, won second place in the public vote category.
Director James Millar, of Northampton, said the idea came about after he witnessed a couple arguing on the London Underground.
He said: “It’s exactly the same prize as we won last year, second in the public vote, and obviously it would have been nice if we had won but at the end of the day it’s getting our film on a cinema screen – getting to see yourself on the big screen.
“This year our focus was on making a fun film, not as dark as last year, but a little bit dark.”
Top prize in the judges choice was a controversial feature unafraid to tackle race issues head-on.
The Boy with the Thorn in His Side was based on community tensions following the killing of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.
Alex Motlhabane, 23, and Lewis Levi, 19, both of Northampton, wrote and directed the film.
The pair grew up together and took the HND Digital Filmmaking course at the University of Northampton.
Alex said: “After the murder there were a lot of tensions with immigrants and Muslims and I think we all know people in our lives who are abusive and hateful and it looked at how we deal with that.
“This town is great for filmmakers, with things such as the Film Lab.
“I was surprised to win, it was refreshing that our film didn’t have to fit the Hollywood genre.
“Hopefully we will make a feature film some time soon.”
The red carpet event screened 15 shortlisted films (six over 16s and nine under 16s) which has all been shot in the county.
Prizes included £150, film industry mentoring and a private screening at Errol Flynn Filmhouse.