THE beautiful backdrop of Blaenavon, twinned with a splattering of snow, helped two Welsh filmmakers scoop eight awards in an international film competition in the USA.

Mac Nixon, an award-winning BBC-credited filmmaker and graduate of Newport’s International Film School of Wales, and Andy Toovey, a BAFTA Cymru-nominated filmmaker from Pontypool, entered the 100 Hour Film Race.

The competition sets filmmakers the task of to writing, shooting and editing a short film within 100 hours.

Working to a brief of required elements of the theme of mystery, the action of washing and prop of medals, the pair started working on their entry at 12am on Friday, December 8 of last year.

An unexpected turn in the weather saw heavy drifts of snow fall across Torfaen, the pair battled sub-zero temperatures and shot the entire film within six hours.

A gruelling post-post production phase saw the pair rush to edit, score, finish the visual effects and sound design before they finally submitted the short, entitled ‘Firmament,’ in the early hours of Monday morning.

“At first, the snow totally changed and shattered our original vision for the film, but we swiftly adapted and with some last-minute alterations of costume and story,” said Mr Nixon, the film’s director.

“We moulded the film to work with the change of weather and it ironically ended up making the film better than we ever imagined.

“It was such an honour to win so many awards and it’s fantastic that the hard work and dedication from the cast and crew to create a special film hasn’t go unnoticed.”

The short film swept the boards the Film Racing awards night in Kennesaw, Georgia.

It won ‘Best Picture’ but seven other awards including ‘Best Directing’, ‘Best Cinematography’ and ‘Best Editing’.

Firmament beat off stiff completion from entries from around the globe, including Slovakia, America, Canada and Great Britain. The pair won a cash prize and are likely to score a distribution deal for the film on Amazon or Netflix.

The film seemingly follows two vastly different characters stranded on a desolate farm in the middle of nowhere that are tragically brought together by the sudden reappearance of a violent lightning storm. Exploring the themes of grief, loss and childlike wonder.

The film stars actors Abbie Hirst and Welsh newcomer Sarah Lightfoot (who won Best Supporting Actor at the US awards night.

It will be released online on Monday, March 12 and to view its trailer, go to