Bristol Cathedral School hopes former student Martin Desmond Roe will win Oscar film success
A BRISTOL school is hoping a former pupil will win a coveted Oscar this weekend.
Proud Bristol boy Martin Desmond Roe has had his short film Buzkashi Boys nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the 85th Academy Awards next month.
The 30-minute film is a coming- of-age story of two best friends growing up in the war-torn streets of Afghanistan dreaming of winning a popular and fierce polo match.
Martin, 34, who was raised in a Gloucester Road pub, attended Bristol Cathedral School where his love of drama and performance can be traced.
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Discussing his years at the school in the 1990s Martin, who now lives in Los Angeles, said: "I was super-involved in drama there.
"There were pantos in the school gym; I remember playing a girl in Bugsy Malone, and I was Bernardo, the captain of the Sharks, in West Side Story – the pastiest Puerto Rican ever."
While he was at school a science teacher called Bryan Murphy, who is still at the school, told him he thought MI5 would approach him when he studied at Oxford University.
"I remember Mr Murphy telling me 'You are going to be a spy: somebody from MI5 will approach you at Oxford'," Martin said.
"Nobody ever did – one of life's disappointments."
Mr Murphy himself remembers Martin well.
He said: "He was a very amiable pupil, keen to get involved in most things the school had to offer. Not particularly fabulous at physics, but more than made up for it in personality."
Bristol Cathedral Choir School Principal Neil Blundell said: "Martin was a pupil here long before I arrived, but I've been fascinated to hear of his success and would like to wish him all the very best for the Oscars."
Discussing his film Martin said he had written it three-and-a-half years ago when he visited Afghanistan to see his friend, Sam French, who had moved to the country in pursuit of a beautiful woman – "for love".
Although the pair had initially been planning a $100m science fiction epic – a project which remains on the backburner – Martin persuaded Sam to direct the short film instead.
Filmed in Kabul with a mostly Afghan crew, it involved the Afghan Film Project, a non-profit organisation which aims to rebuild the Afghan film industry.
"Afghanistan at one time had a thriving film industry," Martin said.
"We wanted to do something to help these smart, intelligent people and aid the development of the country – something we could all be proud of. We cannot build roads or dig wells, but this was what we could do."
Martin and his younger brother, Matthew, 29, another old boy of Bristol Cathedral School, now work together in LA at the film production company Dirty Robber.
His mother, Karen Forchione, who he credits for not allowing him to quit on his dreams of working in film, also now lives in LA with her two sons.
Martin plans to return to visit his home city this summer and is aiming to call in at Bristol Cathedral Choir School.