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Lucinda Spurling’s ‘In The Hour of Victory’ wins at Houston film festival

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Former Police Commissioner Jonathan Smith's book 'In The Hour of Victory' about his grandfather Major Anthony (Toby) Smith has been turned into a film.

Bermudian director Lucinda Spurling’s film, ‘In the Hour of Victory’ took top honours this week at the World Fest Houston Film Festival.Confirmation of the platinum award win in the Independent Theatrical Feature category came on Monday.The film was the end result of a book published by former Police Commissioner Jonathan Smith who compiled letters his grandfather, Major Toby Smith sent to his family during the Second World War.Both Mr Smith and Ms Spurling travelled to Houston last week for the premiere showing, but neither of them were able to stay for the awards presentation.When contacted, they were both elated to hear the news and plans are underway to show the film at another film festival later this year.Ms Spurling had posted news of the win on her Facebook page and thanked everyone who helped with the film which was produced with co-director Andrew Kirkpatrick.“You’re always pleasantly surprised when you get recognition like this,” said Ms Spurling. “The festival is a platform to launch the film to get a wider audience and we’ve already been invited to the Orlando Film Festival in October and hopefully others, so we’re really happy about that.”Maj Smith was a member of the first contingent of Bermudian troops to travel to the UK in 1940. He was killed in Holland in October, 1944.Ms Spurling noted that they had a “really good turnout” for the screening in Houston which was followed by a lengthy question and answer session with the audience. There was a woman there who recently discovered letters from her own parents that were exchanged during the war, so there was a lot of interest,” she said.Mr Smith described the experience as “magical”. “This is the oldest independent film festival in the world and I’m told the win was made in an extremely competitive category and for Lucinda I think it’s just fabulous,” he said.“To have participated in a project where I took 70-year-old letters that she developed into a film was magical and there were several members of the audience in tears by the end of the film because it’s a really compelling story.“It’s really rewarding and it has gone way beyond any expectations that I had,” he added. “I’m particularly pleased for Lucinda because it’s recognition of her hard work and for me it has been a magical experience.”Mr Kirkpatrick who co-directed the film said he was ecstatic when he heard the news.“It’s great to be recognised on an outside stage, you get a lot of support from family and friends but this was very rewarding.“This is one of the first documentaries that was feature length that I got to work on from start to finish and being able to sculpt the final product and then have it do well is great,” he said.As for their next production he said: “We have great future projects in the works but there’s always the need for funding.”On that note he urged potential sponsors to e-mail afflarefilms@mac.com.

Film director Lucinda Spurling