Award: A still from In the Hour of Victory. *Photo supplied
Award: A still from In the Hour of Victory. *Photo supplied

A Bermuda documentary has won a top award at the oldest independent film festival in the world, the Bermuda Sun can reveal.

In the Hour of Victory, the story of Major Toby Smith’s life and death in action in World War II, picked up a Platinum Remi Award at WorldFest in Houston, Texas – where world-famous director Stephen Spielberg got his first big break.

The film, created by Afflare Films’ Lucinda Spurling from the book written by former Police Commissioner Jonathan Smith using letters home from his grandfather to wife Faith, came first in category.

Now it is likely to be picked up by other prestige film festivals in the US and elsewhere — and increased its chances of being broadcast on a major network.

Festival organizer Kathleen Haney said: “It’s a very competitive category. Hundreds of entries were submitted but only roughly 11 to 12 per cent placed and even fewer receive Official Selection status.”

Mr Smith said last night: “We’re over the moon.

“We won first in category for feature documentaries in a very, very competitive international festival, which is wonderful.”

Ms Spurling, who co-directed the film with Andrew Kirkpatrick, said: “Jonathan and I are so pleased by the interest in the film in Houston and after a long Q&A session, we felt our USA and international premiere was a huge success.

“For it to be topped off with a Platinum Remi award, which will hopefully propel international interest in the film, is fabulous.” She added: “Ultimately a festival is a platform to seek broadcast and we hope that the film will eventually find a home on a US TV network.”

Mr Smith said: “It has been a truly stimulating experience working on the book and film project.

“To bring a soldier’s words to life on the big screen some 70 years later is magical.

“This has always been a love story and a war story and now we’ve seen, first hand, an American audience become spellbound by the documentary. This is great news for our film, for Lucinda and for Bermuda’s film industry.”

The documentary features Ben Beasley, a real-life former RAF officer and Bermuda Regiment Major, as Toby Smith and Catherine Hay as Faith.

Steve Gallant, a former Bermuda resident, composed the original musical score for the film and the original book is published by TenTen Publications. n