IT has not been the best year for the film festival circuit due to the pandemic.

But a new director has had the chance to shine after her debut feature – rooted in Warrington – was added to BBC iPlayer.

Alice Cornelia’s talent was recognised by ‘New Creatives’ when she was encouraged to apply for the scheme by her former Priestley College tutor Gary Jones.

New Creatives is a project from Arts Council England and the BBC, which champions emerging talent and provides funding.

That has led to the creation of ‘So Perfect It Frightens Me’ – a short film that was shot in Cornwall Street in Padgate where Alice grew up.

The former St Gregory’s student said: “It’s just mad that this film shot in Warrington is on the BBC. It’s a bit surreal. I don’t think I’ve processed it properly yet.

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“It’s been nearly a year since we shot it so there’s been a big build up to this. It’s my first film so to have it on iPlayer is such a good opportunity.

“I’m hoping to use this as a stepping-stone to get more work and start conversations with other filmmakers.

“It’s really good to see it up there as I’ve had to keep this quiet for so long.”

The five-minute film was shot around Padgate and in friend of the family Betty Cooper’s home.

Alice said: “My parents lived a couple of doors down on that same street and I grew up around Betty.

“She used to look after me when I was very young so it’s mad to see that house on BBC iPlayer.

“It was important to me to have that Warrington connection. I saw it as a layer to build upon and that’s why I wanted the house to be lived in.”

Alice applied for the New Creatives commission in April 2019 and found she had been successful in June 2019.

Due to budget restrictions, the film was then shot in one day in November 2019 with a team of 20.

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Alice, who graduated from Glasgow School of Art and now splits her time between Glasgow and Warrington, added: “It had to be under five minutes and we had to edit it all in just a day as well so it was very challenging.

“For the soundscape I used some old tapes with these strange noises on that my granddad George had. He got them at a market stall in Warrington in the 70s.”

So Perfect It Frightens Me is about a young boy’s obsession with a wind turbine that becomes a metaphor for his psychological state.

Alice went through a casting director and auditioned 20 boys from around the north west before Michael Davies got the lead part.

He has previously been in the Netflix drama, Free Rein.

Alice said: “Mikey really stood out. I was particularly interested in how the young actors interacted with things so in the audition I asked them to draw and I had a few objects for them to react to.

“It was a long shoot but he handled it really well.”

Alice wanted to give the film a cyclical quality which is where the wind turbine comes in.

“They can appear quite alien and eerie sometimes when you see them,” the 24-year-old added.

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“I was interested in juxtaposing that with a child-like view – that these turbines are perceived as monstrous and intimidating.

“I’ve always been interested in childhood and that age of 10 or 11 where you’re trying to work stuff out and find where you fit in. It’s quite a vulnerable age.”

Alice also wants viewers to bring their own interpretations to the film as they piece together the open-ended story and look for clues.

She said: “You can bring your own interpretations to it and it’s something anyone can relate to because we’ve all had a childhood and we’ve been obsessed with something intensely.

“I’m from a fine art background so I wanted to challenge traditional narrative in film.”

Alice was also influenced by Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsay, the director behind Morvern Callar, We Need to Talk About Kevin and You Were Never Really Here.

“She’s also interested in exploring childhood and how you develop these beliefs in the world and how that influences you as you get older,” added Alice.

“She does really interesting work and her directing style is something that inspires me.”

You can see So Perfect It Frightens Me by just searching for it on BBC iPlayer and a ‘director’s cut’ version of it is currently being featured at the newly launched Contemporary Arts Festival at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery.

Meanwhile, Alice is set to start work on her next script and explore funding opportunities for a 10 to 15-minute film.

The former Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School pupil said: “I’d like to work more with children and maybe have a bigger cast.

“The festival circuit is in a shambles so I feel really lucky that I can present this work digitally and it can viewed on a massive UK platform.

“The New Creatives scheme has been excellent. Even after we all finished our films they were still giving us workshops on film festivals, digital distribution and how to put together a press kit.

“I’d never done anything like that before. I’d recommend it to any budding filmmaker.”

You can watch So Perfect It Frightens Me here or simply search for it on BBC iPlayer