By Duarte Garrido, Entertainment Reporter
A Scottish student’s short film has been picked to compete for an emerging talent prize at the Cannes International Film Festival.
Rory Alexander Stewart, a 27-year-old graduate from the National Film And Television School, told Sky News he was still coming to grips with the “unlikely” news.
“I was very surprised. It was unbelievable to be honest. It’s only really hitting me now, it’s just so unlikely,” he said.
Wild Horses, a 26 minute film about a teenage girl struggling with a largely unknown disease, has been picked out of 2,600 others for the festival’s Cinefondation category.
“The first thing that attracted me to this in the first place is that this disease is very hard to externalise, and I think that is an interesting challenge,” Stewart said.
“How do you put that on screen? How do you make people feel the same things that the character is feeling?”
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a disease which causes persistent fatigue and affects everyday life irrespective of sleep or rest.
Stewart, who has a close friend who suffers from ME, wrote and directed the short film about a girl who, housebound by the disease and writing a school paper about wild horses, decides to run away from home in search of one.
“She is a very silly character. This is a comedy in some degree,” Stewart told Sky News.
“She is a very literal person, she feels like the way to get to the root of this story she’s trying to write in the film is just to go and meet a horse, like that is just going to open up the world to her, which is obviously a little bit simplistic.”
Wild Horses was made by a group of students, but stars professional actors Emma Curtis and Emma Cater.
“We did casting with a great agent called Leanne Flinn and we saw a lot of young women and a lot of women for the role of the mother but they were just standouts.
“And they have a real chemistry with each other which is very important,” he explained.
The Cinefondation prize is now in its 20th year, and celebrates emerging talent from film school around the world.
Stewart has previously won a BAFTA New Talent Writer Award for another short titled Liar.
He has also been awarded the documentary prizes at the Smalls Film Festival and London Short Film Festival for The Port.
But Wild Horses has catapulted his career abroad, and will see the Scottish student walk the red carpet at the Croisette in May.
“I think you have to wear a tuxedo,” Stewart said.
“So I suppose I’ll be renting one soon enough, hopefully.”
The Cannes International Film Festival runs from the 17-28 May.