A GWENT film director, who was mentored by screen legend Sir Kenneth Branagh, has had his film nominated for a Welsh Bafta.

Keri Collins’ short film Funday is one of three to be shortlisted in the short form and animation category for the British Academy Cymru Awards.

The director, who was bought up in Portskewett, where he still lives with his wife and two sons, said the nomination was “amazing”.

Mr Collins, who trained at Newport University’s Film School in 2008, filmed Funday in June last year.

The film-maker also received a message of congratulations from Branagh for his debut feature film Convenience, which he has just finished filming in Swansea.

Convenience stars Bafta winner Vicky McClure, Ray Panthaki, Adeel Akhtar and Austin Powers’ Verne Troyer.

It even has a guest appearance by Mr Collin’s youngest son Charlie, when he was six weeks old.

The film is due to be finished by the end of the month and Mr Collins said he hopes his mentor will be able to make the premiere.

Written by Nicholas Horwood, Funday is a comedy drama about a clown called Alan.

The £500 self-funded short film had its premier last September at the Raindance Film Festival.

Mr Collins, 33, said: “That was a huge achievement and now a year later it’s up for a Bafta. It’s so nice for such a little film.”

He said he was inspired by actor and film director Sir Kenneth Branagh, who became his mentor though the Guiding Lights scheme in 2008.

“I didn’t see him alot but I had a lot of e-mail contact with him.

“He read a lot of my scripts and gave me feedback,” he said.

Mr Collins was also invited to America to the set of the film Thor, which Sir Kenneth was directing.

He said: “Being on the set of Thor, seeing how he directs actors, was really incredible.

That was what I took most from him.

“It got me to do things with more ambition. Even though we hadn’t got the money of Thor, there were ways of doing Funday ambitiously and giving more layers and style.”

Actor leads the way in prize hunt

NOMINATIONS also include Maesycwmmer’s Craig Roberts for best actor for his role in Submarine. Submarine is also up for best feature/television film.

The film Resistance, whose screenplay was cowritten by Abergavenny’s Owen Sheers, is up for best production design, make-up and hair and Sharon Morgan has been nominated for best actress for her role in the film.

The tattoo artist episode of Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience, which features Blackwood tattoo artist Dave Fleet, has been nominated for the presenter category.

The winners will be announced on September 30.