Shanil’s Top Tips to Win

Shanil Kawol was the winner of the 19-25 age category in the National Cut Films Awards 2015. In this special blog, he discusses how he came up with the idea for his winning film.


‘The theme of Cut Films is to produce an anti-smoking advert in 2 minutes or less targeted at youths 11-25 years old. As an aspiring film maker I wanted to showcase my ability to deliver a powerful message about a challenging topic and express my view in a captivating style.


I watched many anti-smoking adverts online from around the world including UK, Thailand, and Australia. I researched many articles online and discovered new and interesting facts and figures.


anti-smoking lesson plans


I found out most people start smoking under the age of 18! I was overwhelmed with information and decided to take a break and go to the park.


I sat down on the bench and a lady walking her dog was approaching me. When the dog came near to me it licked a cigarette butt on the ground. I thought to myself, what if a human licked the ground? This moment sparked the idea for ‘Road To Hell.’


I wanted a long empty road and barren landscape to shoot the short film. I picked Eastbourne, Beachy Head, a 100 miles away from London. The only equipment I used was a Canon 550D, 18-55mm Kit Lens, and a Tripod. I took advantage of the glorious light at sunrise and wrapped up the shoot within 75 minutes.


The Cut Films awards ceremony was held at BAFTA HQ in Piccadilly. My team was presented the National award by David Yates, the director of Harry Potter and comedian Jack Whitehall.


It was an incredible experience to be amongst many talented film-makers and watch a screening of ‘Road To Hell’ in the BAFTA theatre. The award was sponsored by Moving Pictures Company (MPC), a global leader in special effects.


I won a week’s worth of work experience at MPC which gave me valuable insight into how special effects are produced in film and advertising. I learnt about some simple special effects I can apply in my own short films. ‘Road To Hell’ also made a television debut on the Islam Channel.


The support from Cut Films has been truly amazing, the success of ‘Road To Hell’ could not have happened without them. They are active on social media giving young people a voice and providing a platform for creativity. The Cut Films experience has motivated me to continue making bigger and better films.’