Film-makers take a top award in Chicago

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A team of local film-makers have received a top award for their film ‘A Step Too Far’.

The film has taken the Best Feature Documentary award at the prestigious Peace on Earth Film Festival in Chicago.

The thought-provoking full-length film ‘A Step Too Far?’ was created by Paul Moorehead (director) his wife Marina (presenter) and Thomas Glass (cameraman and editor) of LJHS-tv.

Paul expressed his delight at taking the award and confessed he had entered the film for the festival on the spur of the moment and “forgot about it”.

He was at work on a project in Pennsylvania when he received an email telling him it was in for an award.

One of the other nominees had been nominated for the Oscars. Paul said: “I thought I’d go over at the last minute and when the awards were announced I was shocked, flabbergasted.”

Attending the festival gave Paul the chance to view other film-makers’ work and he also sat on a panel with some other talented producers - including Oscar nominees.

The profound question of forgiveness is the central theme of the production which took the team into the heart of the Amish community in America who live their lives in tune with the 18th century Christian principles. No cars, TVs, electricity, and the simple clothes of their forebears.

The most powerful message in the film focuses on the infamous massacre of Amish schoolchildren by gunman Charles Roberts in West Nickel Mines School in October 2006. Roberts marched 10 girls of primary school age out of the single-room schoolhouse and shot them all - five survived - and then turned the gun on himself.

Forgiveness was the reaction of the Amish people of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the schoolhouse was torn down and replaced with New Hope School at another location.

Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Mike Nesbitt MLA, has congratulated the team on their award.

Mr Nesbitt said: “I was delighted to hear that Paul and his film company had won this award at the Peace on Earth Film Festival in Chicago.

“This is the top award - he beat off competition including HBO. It is critical we use all media platforms to explore the past and how we can find ethical ways of moving forward.

“LJHS TV have worked hard to survive in very trying circumstances, and it’s great to see Northern Ireland talent, such as this, gaining such a prestigious award. The Northern Ireland film industry is an important part our economy both now and in the future.”