A teenage film fan who won a youth award for his role in a vampire-themed cinematic epic wants to encourage other creative young people to follow in his footsteps.

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Matthew Neave, 18, won the Cultural Achiever prize at last year’s Bernard Matthews Youth Awards as the driving force behind a two-and-a-half-year school film project.

Students from North Walsham High School teamed up with partner schools in Germany and Romania to film V+ on location in Wallachia, birthplace of Vlad the Impaler.

Now the 2012 edition of the awards, in association with the Eastern Daily Press is looking for more inspirational young people aged 11 to 18 who deserve recognition for the work they are doing.

The winner of each of the nine categories – listed right – will receive £1,000 and put themselves in contention for the overall winners of winners award.

Matthew last year won over the judging panel with his drive and passion for the project, to which he dedicated months of his time in filming, editing and post-production.

The self-confessed film buff said the prize had been a boost to his hopes of a future career in film and television production, and the £1,000 prize had enabled him to buy a new video camera.

“I’d definitely recommend other people to enter the awards.

“Just do it. You’re not going to lose anything by applying.

“Whatever your project is, if it’s worth your while doing it, then it’s worth entering the awards.”

V+ follows five English teachers on an exchange trip to Romania.

“Slowly, they get picked off one by one by a weird host, who is more or less Dracula,” said Matthew.

“By the end, there is only one person left, but he is insane and no one believes him.”

The film was written and storyboarded by a teacher at North Walsham High School, but Matthew was given freedom once it came to filming.

“Once we got on set, the storyboard became just a basic guideline.

“It was brilliant because you can put your own take on it, and give it your own style.

“It makes you express yourself through someone else’s ideas.

“I’m a big fan of weird films like The Evil Dead and Donnie Darko, which use a lot of genre-specific angles, and it was really good to be able to try some of them out.”

V+ was shown at The Curve in Norwich as well as in Germany and Romania, and is available on DVD.

Since V+ came to an end, Matthew has been juggling his A-level work at Paston College with other short film projects.

“I spent the £1,000 prize money on a new camera, the kind that a lot of guerrilla filmmakers use, and have been using it for short films.”

He now hopes to go on to study film and television production at university.

Each of the Bernard Matthews Youth Awards 2011 winners will be featured in the EDP in the coming weeks.

For information on the awards, see www.bmyouthawards.com

mark.shields@archant.co.uk

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