Musical couple on song with film festival prize

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helen's birthday
Charlie and Alan Rose

WALKFORD songwriters Charlie and Alan Rose are celebrating after winning a top award in an American film festival.

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Their song A Million Memories was awarded the prize for Best Song in a Short Film or Documentary category at the Sunny Side Up Film Festival in Oklahoma. The festival was held online this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As reported last week, the soundtrack, which is performed with their band State of Undress, was selected to appear in a documentary called Helen’s Birthday.

Charlie said: “A Million Memories was inspired by something my father said so it’s really special to us. It was amazing that it won the top award – we are thrilled!

“We’ve played it live several times recently at a number of folk and acoustic clubs and have been getting a brilliant response to it.”

The tune, which is about growing older, was chosen by London-based independent film-maker Moira Rowan to appear in her poignant documentary about 90-year-old Helen April who fled to Britain from apartheid-era South Africa in 1972.

The film sees Helen looking back on her life with the help of a photograph which she received as a birthday gift from her friend Elsa.

helen's birthday
A scene from the documentary Helen’s Birthday

Charlie said: “It is a gentle, warm, funny and revealing encounter – the story of an ordinary life made extraordinary by the courage and resilience needed to live it.

“A Million Memories is a haunting song that calls for us all to have greater respect and value for our older members of society and to recognise that inside they are the same people they always were.

“We were so honoured that Moira chose to use it to help tell the story of Helen’s Birthday. Her beautiful film and the Sunny Side Up Film Festival will bring it to a whole new audience.”

Moira said: “As soon as I heard A Million Memories I knew that it would be
perfect for our film. It’s such a beautiful song. It really helps reinforce the message behind the inspirational story of Helen’s Birthday.”

Launched in 2016, The Sunny Side Up Film Festival attracts entries from hundreds of independent filmmakers worldwide.

As well as winning the award for best song Helen’s Birthday has also received the award for best documentary, best cinematography and best wardrobe or costumes.

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