An eye surgeon turned filmmaker has recently released a short film that won an award at the Madrid International Film Festival and has been selected for the prestigious Golden Door Festival in Jersey City in September this year.

Alex Sultoon, 39, from Woodford Green, also had another film premiered at the British Film Institute (BFI) recently, as part of the world renowned Straight 8 competition.

I spoke to him to find out more…

What inspired your interest in film making?

It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, but it’s not the kind of thing you can walk into.

I did the ‘sensible’ thing and got a regular job and career first, but now’s the time to pursue the passion and the dream.

What was the process to create the first film?

I did a part time course at the Met Film School in London, based in Ealing Studios. We covered a lot of ground in a short space of time, all of which led to the shooting of our first film.

The shoot took place over one weekend, which must have been my most intense 48 hours ever, with months of preparation beforehand and months of post-production after. It was a lot of hard work, but hugely enjoyable and so rewarding when you see the end result.

Tell me about the first film?

It’s called Blind as Love and is a thriller about an American photographer in London who meets a mysterious man in a nightclub, but witnesses a horrific incident which draws her into a tangled web of desire, music and darkness. One of the main themes is acid attacks, which are such a severe problem in the UK at the moment. It features a band, a child singer, police cars, more than a dozen extras and a dog - so you can imagine it was quite a stressful shoot for a first film in two days, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Tell me about the film that followed?

This was called Swings & Roundabouts, which I made for the Straight 8 competition.

This is a unique challenge, as you have to shoot the movie on one reel of Super 8 cine film, which lasts three minutes and 20 seconds.

What makes it really tricky is that you can’t edit the film afterwards as you have to send the reel straight to the lab to be developed.

This means you have to shoot each shot in the sequence they appear in the story, with no retakes, no restarts and not even any synchronised sound. You send in a separate soundtrack afterwards and you don’t even get to see the finished film unless it is selected for the premiere. Happily, I got to see my film for the first time last weekend at the NFT on London’s South Bank.

How did it feel to start getting recognition?

As a filmmaker you pour your whole heart and soul into a project along with a massive effort from yourself and a big team of talented people to create something that you hope people will enjoy and appreciate.

If nobody gets to see it or it doesn’t garner any response, it might not as well exist. So it’s the greatest joy to get it out into the world in festivals and screenings and have all the hard work pay off.

Awards are extra special as they validate what you’re doing and that you’re on the right path.

What do you intend to do next?

I’m taking a year out from my day job to focus on film full time. I plan to write a feature film and hopefully make some more short films. I’ll also be following my existing films around the world on the festival circuit and I’ve got my US debut next month at the Golden Door Festival in Jersey City.

What would you say to aspiring writers or filmmakers?

Don’t give up. If the time’s not right, wait and it will come. Do some courses, study the craft. Above all, you’re the only one that can make it happen, so go and make it happen.

You can keep up with what Alex is up to via his Twitter: @alexsultoonfilm