Hollywood success

IT was a film-making hobby which started at a Sheffield high school but which has now seen a city teenager conquer Hollywood.

Seventeen-year-old Toby Wosskow - who first made a five minute movie for a French class at Birkdale School - has had a new short named best high school drama at the International Student Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Now the youngster, who moved from Vicarage Lane, Dore, to the US with his family three years ago, looks all set for a glittering career.

He has been offered a place at Chapman University, America's premier film college, and is in discussions with industry giant Miramax about a possible internship.

And the secrets of his success?

"It's all about making sure there's plenty of conflict in the script and plenty of camera movement," says Toby down a phone from Isleworth, Orlando, American twang in his Yorkshire accent.

Of course having a supportive family helps too - and Toby certainly has that.

His mum Julie, 48, takes the lead female role in the award-winning flick, Coming To Terms, while his businessman dad Lawrence stumped up the readies to fly him to Hollywood for the ceremony.

But perhaps even more important is the sheer passion Toby clearly has for movie making.

That first film, made on a home video for a French class at Birkdale, went down a storm with fellow students, and he's never stopped making them since.

"I was 13 and everyone loved it," he says. "But I think I loved seeing their reactions even more. It's just the biggest thrill seeing something you've thought in your head come alive on screen."

Soon after that success, Lawrence, a developer and restaurateur, suffered a heart attack and the family moved to sunny Orlando.

There, at his new school Toby enrolled on a video production course and has since made dozens of shorts featuring friends, family and teachers.

"Each one hopefully gets a little bit better and I've been sending them to all the festivals I can," he says. "Being shortlisted for the student film festival was pretty incredible because they get so many entries, but to win it in Hollywood was amazing - I was so pleased."

The film - about a young man involved in a hit and run accident - was also named third best student film at the Urban Mediamakers Film Festival.

Toby was the youngest person to be recognised.

Oh, and to prove he hasn't forgotten his roots there's a little tribute to Sheffield in many of his films.

In Coming To Terms, eagle-eyed Blades fans will spot a pivotal prop is a photo of none other than club captain Chris Morgan.

"I love United," Toby says. "But then wherever I am in the world, I always seem to end up thinking of Sheffield somehow - one day I'd love to make a major movie there."

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