In with a reel chance

This Is Local London: Box office hit: Cinema worker Daniel Cormack is hoping his directorial debut will earn him a prestigious award at the Raindance Film Festival Box office hit: Cinema worker Daniel Cormack is hoping his directorial debut will earn him a prestigious award at the Raindance Film Festival

A Streatham film fanatic, who works in a cinema box office by day, has directed an award-nominated film, acclaimed by Dame Judi Dench.

Daniel Cormack's film, Amelia and Michael, which stars Little Britain and Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Anthony Head, is one of five short films nominated for the Tiscali award for best debut film at the Raindance Film Festival.

The film, which has already been played at festivals in Montreal and Los Angeles, is a melodrama about an affluent couple who live secret lives.

The 27-year-old's dream of becoming a film director started as a child. He had photosensitive epilepsy and could not watch television. Instead, he became an avid cinema-goer, developing a love for the big screen.

"Growing up in the 80s there was lots of magic around the cinema," said Daniel, who lives in Gracefield Gardens with his fiancée. "I liked Hollywood blockbusters as a kid."

After graduating from Oxford University in 2002, Daniel worked for the National Film Theatre, trying to break into the industry.

He then started to work for the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill, where he still works.

He made Amelia and Michael in 2005 and shot it in Stockwell and parts of central London.

He wrote to several agents, including Dame Judi Dench's, and received a letter from the Oscar-winning actress, who described the film as "beautiful" and said Daniel was "destined for great things".

"I was stunned when I received the letter from Dame Judi Dench saying how much she enjoyed the film," he said. "It's a great accolade to be taken seriously by such a great actress."

He also won support from Anthony Head, whom Daniel said made everyone raise their game. "He didn't know us from Adam but he loved what we were doing," he added.

Since making Amelia and Michael, his documentary, Make Me a Tory, has been shown on Channel 4.

A second film, A Fitting Tribute, starring Sally Bretton, from The Office, has played at the Edinburgh Film Festival and in Palm Springs.

"Working in a cinema box office, I never thought that this sort of success happens to people like me," he said. "It's a dream come true."

Watch and vote for Daniel's film at tiscali.co.uk before October 7.

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