Norman’s film named the best in Britain

C140993-1 Bog Nov6 Norman  phot kate'Film maker Norman Lilley.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C140993-1 SUS-140411-170910001
C140993-1 Bog Nov6 Norman phot kate'Film maker Norman Lilley.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C140993-1 SUS-140411-170910001
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ANIMATOR Norman Lilley has seen one of the films created at his Aldwick home named ‘best in Britain’.

The six-minute long The Boatman scooped the award for the best feature seen by members of the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers.

This accolade has earned Norman the prestigious Mermaid trophy awarded by the institute.

Norman, 80, of Fernhurst Gardens, said: “It’s the biggest boost you can get – to receive an award from film people for film people.”

The Boatman tells the story of a not-particularly-loved little wooden toy sailor in a wonky boat who gets the chance to run away and seek new pastures.

It took Norman and his son, Christopher, 47, of Fareham, ten months to make. Norman devised the story, drew the pictures and set the scene for the animation, as well as devising the music. Christopher added some technical expertise to finish off the project.

The Boatman’s route to the top began when it won the animation category of this year’s Sussex Film Festival. Its next stop was the regional competition where it also did well. Its latest success means it will be entered for the British International Film Festival next April.

Norman was eight when Disney’s Bambi was released and he fell in love with the idea of animation.

He had been yearning to have a go while he worked but waited until his retirement from his job as the pensions manager with pharmaceutical firm Glaxo.

The advent of accessible computers has also spurred him on to several successes in the amateur film world. “In animation, you start from nothing what you create is totally yours,” he said.

“It’s the opposite of other films in one way where you have people pretending to be characters. In animation, you have characters pretending to be people.”

The Boatman will not be Norman’s only entry in the film festival. His latest animation, The Picture Book, will be part of Circle Eight Film Group’s entry about the first world war. His contribution tells the story of the Zeppelin attack on Guildford.