Lights, Camera, Virgin Media Action

It all began 8 months ago when Blur bassist (and cheese-extraordinary) Alex James declared Virgin Media Shorts open for entry! Over 700 entries later it finally ended at a glitzy award ceremony at the BFI IMAX earlier this month. With Danny Wallace on hosting duties and the one and only Jarvis Cocker taking care of the after party, only the best PrettyGreen dance moves were on show.

Created to help uncover some of the best up and coming British filmmaking talent, the UK’s biggest short film competition has been a real labour of love for the team here at PrettyGreen. To say we live and breathe film would be an understatement, so working on a campaign to discover some of the best up and coming film Directors in the UK is something you don’t often get to be part of.

From the start, we wanted to inspire people to pick up a camera and make a short film. From launching the competition by convincing Alex James to make his first ever-short film for us to working with Shane Meadows (as our head judge) inspiring filmmakers has been at the center of everything we’ve done.

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So as 800 guests gathered to watch the 13 shortlisted finalists on the (HUGE) BFI IMAX screen earlier this month, we were bursting with pride (maybe even ahem shed a little tear) as the Grand Prize winner of £30,000 funding and BFI mentoring was announced.

Nimer Rashed was a deserving winner of the Grand Prize (voted for by our lovely judges) with his suitably emotional film Touch, which, costing nothing to make, is a poignant reflection on the relationship and love between two people over the course of a life time (told you we enjoy films).

Both the Nikon People’s Choice Award Winner, and The TiVo® Award Winner, as voted for by the public, was awarded to the hilarious Just Say Hi, directed by John McPhail on a budget of just £200. We’ve all been there but John managed to strike a cord with everyone who watched.

The stars of the night were of course the film-makers, but, to add a little extra glamour alongside our lead judge Shane Meadows (who made sure he spoke to every single finalist and is officially the nicest guy on the planet) an array of stars including Katherine Kelly (Mr Selfridge), Catherine Steadman (Fresh Meat), Olivia Halinan (Sugar Rush), Shelley Conn (By Any Means, Marchlands), Sienna Guillory (Luther, Love Actually) also attended.

After the awards came the after party and with some carefully placed Limoncello our awful dance moves soon made an appearance. Thankfully there is no photo evidence of that.

There’s nothing quite like working on a project for 11 months then watching as the final 13 up and coming film-makers get to see their film at the BFI IMAX in front of friends, family and their filmmaking hero’s. It’s actually quite hard to put into words, but the coverage (just from the event and winner announcement) speaks for itself: The Sunday Times Culture, Mail Online, Closer, Screen Daily, Telegraph, Yahoo, MSN is just some of what the team converted.

Links to winners:

Touch – by Nimer Rashad (GRAND PRIZE)
Just Say Hi – by John McPhail (NIKON PEOPLE”S CHOICE / TIVO)