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Durham University

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Durham graduate launches new film set in the city.

(24 March 2021)

Recent History graduate Ed Whelan, 23, is celebrating the release of his first feature film – ‘Audition’ set in Durham. 

Ed, a member of Collingwood College, has thrown himself into the world of film-making, not only writing the screenplay for his film, but also leading the production and a 26-person crew from the university community. The result is a fast-paced 75-minute feature film with a 15-track original score by fellow student Samuel Read. 

‘Audition’ is the story of a wide-eyed, ambitious student who auditions for a role that could change his life. However, to succeed, he must impress two draconian judges, at any cost. 

A passion for film 

Ed first got into film making in his second year, producing film trailers for university societies, adverts, a music video and gaining experience working as a film production intern within the University’s Marketing department. 

Taking his passion for film one step further, he set up his own production company, Keylight Studios, with friend and fellow student Cameron Pulham. 

With support from Joe Elliot, Principal of Collingwood College, Ed was advised to share the framework of a script for ‘Auditions’, with professional scriptwriter Jordan Hawley. Mr Hawley encouraged Ed to continue writing and aim for at least a 70-minute runtime. Taking advantage of a break in his studies, Ed completed the script during the Easter holidays, writing two scenes a day for 35 days. 

Directing and producing 

Within a month, and after around 50 auditions, a final production team was selected of eight actors and four producers. This cast and crew, made up entirely of students, fitted the project in around their studies. 

Pre-production took place during a busy ten-week period that saw the production team finalising the script, securing funding, arranging rehearsals and completing an intense 24 day filming schedule.

Durham location 

Shot almost entirely in Durham in September 2019, Ed was inspired by the city’s unique atmosphere, history and energetic cinematic backdrop. The students filmed several scenes in the Mark Hillery Theatre at Collingwood College and used the college's dance studio as a base; “I’m particularly excited to show the atmosphere of Durham through a cinematic lens. Durham is such a visually engaging place and a rich backdrop for a film." 

‘Audition’ will be available to watch on Amazon Prime from Friday 26 March.

To enjoy a sneak preview of ‘Audition’ watch the trailer for the film online at

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