BLACKBURN'S first home-grown feature film has made it to the silver screen - despite being produced on a budget of zero.

Diary of a Bad Lad was made by Pleased Sheep Productions, a film production company founded several years ago by Michael Booth, from Knuzden.

It is the first feature length Pleased Sheep film but its success is set to put Blackburn on the film-making map - not least because of its unconventional complete lack of funding.

The film, a dark comedy which follows a group of film-makers as they attempt to make a documentary about a dangerous criminal, was largely shot in Blackburn, Great Harwood and Darwen, in 2005.

It was submitted as a British entrant for the Cannes Film Festival the same year, but was not selected.

But this month, it was chosen as the closing film at the Cornish Film Festival, one of the largest regional film festivals in the country.

Director Michael, now 30, and writer/producer Jon Williams were flown down to Cornwall on November 11, as guests of honour.

As Michael's media studies tutor at Blackburn College, Jon's encouragement helped get Michael established as bright new talent.

In 1996 he entered one of his short films to an acclaimed Czech film festival where it got a special mention.

Michael now works part time in the evenings at Blackburn College to spend his days working on Pleased Sheep.

Jon agreed to write and produce Diary of a Bad Lad as a "one-off", as he is now retired.

He also agreed to take on one of the main roles of the film.

Jon, from Parsonage Road, Blackburn, said: "Michael had had success with his short films but it's basically impossible to get a feature film made outside of London.

"I suggested making a film in the style of a documentary, that would work best if there was truly no money involved so that it looked realistic - the plot is about film-makers who have no money."

The ambitious project has taken three years to complete, although it was shot in 35 days in the same camcorder style as The Blair Witch Project.

The cast of around 35 includes some of the North West's best up-and-coming talent, all of whom gave up their spare time to make the film, in return for a slice of the profits.

They may soon see some dividends, as the cult film is due to be released on December 31.

Jon, 59, added: "When you're a tiny outfit making films on no money in the North of England you get used to last minute setbacks and delays - but this time the film is definitely going to start rolling out in selected cinemas, on DVD and on the internet from the start of next year."