Collingwood graduate’s first film set in Durham

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A recent graduate of Durham University is celebrating the release of his first feature film – ‘Audition’, which is set in Durham.

Ed Whelan, an alumnus of Durham’s Collingwood College, led the production and a 26-person crew of Durham students, while also writing the screenplay itself. The final product runs for 75 minutes, with a original score composed by fellow student, Samuel Read. 

‘Audition’ is the story of a wide-eyed, ambitious student who auditions for a role that could change his life. However, to succeed, he must impress two draconian judges, at any cost. The entire film was shot in 24 days during September 2019, using locations such as the Elvet Riverside rooms and the Durham Union debating chamber.

“I’m particularly excited to show the atmosphere of Durham through a cinematic lens. Durham is such a visually engaging place and a rich backdrop for a film.” 

-Ed whelan

Ed first got into film making in his second undergraduate year, producing film trailers for University societies, adverts, a music video and gaining experience working as a film production intern within the University’s Marketing and Communications Department.  

Taking his passion for film one step further, he set up his own production company, Keylight Studios, with friend and fellow student Cameron Pulham. 

With support from the University, Ed was advised to share the framework of a script for ‘Audition’ with professional scriptwriter Jordan Hawley. Mr Hawley encouraged Ed to continue writing and aim for at least a 70-minute runtime. Taking advantage of a break in his studies, Ed completed the script during the Easter holidays last year, writing two scenes a day for 35 days.  

After around 50 auditions, a final production team was selected of eight actors and four producers. This cast and crew, made up entirely of students, fitted the project in around their studies. 

Commenting on why he decided to film in Durham, Whelan said “I’m particularly excited to show the atmosphere of Durham through a cinematic lens. Durham is such a visually engaging place and a rich backdrop for a film.” 

‘Audition’ will be available to watch on Amazon Prime on Friday 26 March.

Image: Keylight Studios

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