Film maker and multi media specialist Wayne Sables and choreographer Keira Martin have won a major prize in an international film festival.

The 12-minute film Familiar Struggle, which was choreographed and performed by Barnsley dancer Keira and directed by Doncaster-based Wayne, was named Best Experimental Film at the Montreal Independent Film Festival 2021.

The project, which was commissioned by dance company Surf the Wave, was filmed over just two days last autumn in Keira’s family home at Dodworth, near Barnsley, and in locations around the South Yorkshire community.

Strengthening the South Yorkshire link, music for the film was composed by Jamie Roberts, of contemporary folk and acoustic duo Gilmore & Robert.

“The original intention was to create a work around the idea of passion for the arts and the experience of growing up and working in the arts in South Yorkshire,” said Wayne.

“But for me it’s particularly special as the final film was not the film we intended to make and what we created is far more powerful than the original idea, which is so often what happens with film.

“Keira is new to film so it marks a real step change in her career too and opens her work to a whole new audience.”

For Wayne, the prize also means a coveted listing with IMDB, the international website that provides information about millions of films and television programmes as well as their cast and crew.

“The exciting thing for us is that dance is usually difficult to place in these sorts of competitions,” said Wayne. “But I think the rawness and honesty of what we created is what will have appealed to the judges.

“It’s gritty and I don’t see it as a dance film – to me it’s a film that uses dance in a new and challenging way.

The award success of Familiar Struggle for Wayne follows another of his films, Alone, a solo filmed dance work shot in the Peak District, which was named as a finalist in New York’s prestigious Flight Deck Film Festival.