Film company's prestige award

A north film company has won a prestigious international award for its touching story of a premature baby's fragile life.

A north film company has won a prestigious international award for its touching story of a premature baby's fragile life.

Newcastle-based Common Features walked off with the Best Made For Television Movie prize at the 25th Banff Television Festival in Canada for This Little Life.

Based on the real-life experiences of author Rosemary Kay, whose son Saul was born almost four months premature, the film was shown on BBC2 last March and has already won a string of accolades.

It won Best Single Drama, Best Actress and Best Network Newcomer Behind The Screen at the Royal Television Society Awards and was nominated for a Bafta.

Producer Stewart Mackinnon, of Common Features, said the film's latest award gave it true international recognition.

Speaking from Canada, he said: "Banff is the biggest TV festival in the world and 900 programmes entered the awards from 40 countries around the world. Only 15 awards are made so to win this award means that This Little Life has been voted the best single TV film in the world. It's the most prestigious international award in TV so there was a great celebration for everyone and we are very pleased. It's a huge boost to the company."

The success of the film, which received financial support from regional screen industries help body Northern Film and Media (NFM), is helping Mr Mackinnon's efforts to establish a studio-style movie business in the North-East which can produce batches of films and then sell them around the world.

The company, which also numbers Mark Lavender of Tyneside-based RS Productions in its founding team, aims to officially launch within the next two months.

It has already secured contracts to make two films, including one with BBC Films, and hopes to land a third deal with ITV.

Mr Mackinnon said: "Winning the Banff award is just a fantastic launch for the company and it has opened a lot of doors for us."

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