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Thread: Virgin Media short film contest: win £30k & have your film screened in 214 cinemas

  1. #1

    Default Virgin Media short film contest: win £30k & have your film screened in 214 cinemas

    Hi there,

    I hope you don't mind me posting a link on behalf of Virgin Media to their short film contest. I figured some of you would be interested to know that this year's competition prize involves the winning 12 films getting screened in 214 cinemas across the UK before EVERY film screening for 12 months! And if that wasn't enough, the overall winner can win up £30,000 to put toward their next project.

    The judges will include Kevin Spacey, Daniel Barber (BAFTA winner and Oscar nominated short film maker) and Gemma Artterton (best known for her role as a Bond Girl in Quantum of Solace).

    Entry is open now; for more details visit the website: Virgin Media Shorts If you've got any questions or want to discuss the contest further I'll be on hand to respond to questions etc on this thread.

    (working on behalf of Virgin Media)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
    Blog Entries


    The screenings is a great hook - that would rule.

    Is it free to enter ?

  3. #3


    Yes, it's free to enter!

    The screenings hook IS amazing! I reckon its a bigger prize than the £30k as your film can be seen by literally thousands of people!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
    Blog Entries


    I am glad it's free and I agree - that screening thing rules.

  5. #5


    Just a reminder that the final submission date for Virgin Media Shorts is 22nd June!
    If you want any inspiration or to check out the competition, head to and don't forget to keep up to date on the blog:

    Good luck!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Huntington, West Virginia USA


    Quote Originally Posted by mattrebeiro View Post
    Just a reminder that the final submission date for Virgin Media Shorts is 22nd June!
    If you want any inspiration or to check out the competition, head to and don't forget to keep up to date on the blog:

    Good luck!!
    Length of film limit of 2:20 and restricted to UK folks only? Does America count? (we used to be a British Colony - smile)

  7. #7


    Sorry worddigger, it's only open to UK citizens. You never know - they might expand it for next year!

  8. #8

    Default Ask last year's winners a question!

    Are you interested in what 2008's Virgin Media Shorts' winners have been up to since winning £30,000 and the help of The Uk Film Council and Virgin Media to create their next film? Now's your chance!

    Have a read of the following message from Olly and Phil (VMS winners) documenting what they've been up to this past year and if you've got a question for the two of them post it to this thread - I'll then collect up all your questions and pass them on to Olly and Phil to respond to before posting them back here for your reading convenience! -You might be interested to know how they've spent their £30,000, what help The UK Film Council and Virgin Media have provided, what lessons they've learned - anything! I look forward to recieving your questions!

    Since winning last years Virgin Media Shorts Competition, we have been busy working on our next film. Supported by the UK Film Council and Virgin Media we have been developing numerous ideas and discussing the best type of film to try and achieve second time round. The Black Hole was pretty much a silent movie so this time we really wanted to tackle some dialogue.

    Initially we spent some time just thinking about what kind of films we actually enjoy and the kind of movies we would eventually want to make as features. Its harder than you think to try and decipher all the influences, themes and interests that inform the work you do, but eventually we knew it would have to involve something surreal and dark that allows deeper character / relationship exploration with a slightly twisted sense of humour in it.

    After preliminarily drafting seven different ideas as short, single paragraph synopses, we slimmed the list down to three that everyone liked and from there spent a few more weeks in a coffee shop hammering out the finer points, eventually settling on one. It’s hard to develop several ideas at once, as you become deeply involved in every detail of the plot and characters in order to keep the action believable and the story watertight.

    We found we naturally began to gravitate towards one film in particular and have let that become the focus of our attention over the last couple of weeks. We have written the first draft of our script and will be picking through it with the Film Council and Virgin over the next week or so. Getting other peoples point of view is an important part of the process, especially as we have never written dialogue before.

    Although £30k is a lot of money, we still need to have a tight rein on the purse strings as crew, cast and location costs can mount up pretty quickly and we need to be clever about maximising the production value. . 1 location, only a couple of characters, that kind of thing – we find that setting limits on what you are working with often forces you to focus more on the quality of what’s on screen as opposed to how much.

    We never really imagined The Black Hole would do so well, or notch up quite so many hits on youtube - it was our first ever film attempt and it was all done so quickly. It’s great this time to know we have time and money sorted, so the focus is really on the writing. It’s a great opportunity so thank you to all of you who voted for us, we hope you’ll enjoy our next offering.

  9. #9


    Hey, I figured some of you might be interested to read the final Q&A with Virgin Media Shorts winners, 2008, Phil and Olly:

    Making a film can be equally a challenging and enjoyable. Although this was your first film, excluding the benefits £30k can have on your next production, what other tangible benefits do you feel winning this award offers filmmakers? (question asked by Nicola at 100prints)

    I guess other benefits are that you feel encouraged by the fact that people have enjoyed your work, in itself this spurs you on to challenge yourself even further in your next project. The support of the film council is also a great way to work through new ideas, they have so much experience with writing and short film production that the input they can offer to a first time writer is invaluable.

    …and if you were to mentor another filmmaker, what would be the key piece of advice you would provide?

    Don’t rush things, enjoy it, and keep questioning yourself, so that you are constantly challenging what you are making and why.

    In your film, a man gets access to a lot of money through something quite special and simple - but as a result ends up in a box. Does recognition for a short film box you into a category - or is it the portal to bigger and better things? (question asked by Josh at Chew TV)

    The game is to always move on from what we have already done. All of the projects we do and learning experiences, and each one is different. Our first short was 2:30mins long and silent. Our next film will be 10-15mins and a written dialogue script. These are stepping stones, not pigeon holes.

    Did the money change how you felt about making the film or even the style it was made in? (question asked by Natalie at Chew TV)

    You can do a lot more with 30k than with nothing. We really wanted the chance to make a bigger short so we definitely thought about what kind of idea and shooting style would give us the best chance of winning the prize money. The PG rating was the hardest challenge.

    Although you say you hadn’t made a film before Black Hole, what experience(s) helped you create your short? – which experience(s) have proved most useful?

    Music videos have been our film school trying out ideas and techniques, our jobs art directing and editing inform our work massively. We have been on film shoots since we left art school in one guise or another, nothing beats on set experience.

    How long did it take you to make Black Hole? How long do you envisage your new project taking you?

    We made The Black Hole from concept to finished film in 2 weeks. 1 day shoot in a friends unused office, a week in the edit, a touch of post production and a few hours in a grade. The next film will take much longer and has been developing since Christmas. Working through ideas, then fleshing them out, picking one to run with, then scripting, re-drafting, casting, location scouting and so on. We are shooting for 3 days with 2 days in rehearsal and a days prep on location then edit, post, grade, print etc. We have had to take 2 months off from earning any money to do it properly. We should be finished by the beginning – middle of September all things going well.

    Do you consider it more worthwhile to make one really complex (in production terms) short film a year, or create 5 -10 simpler films per year when you’re starting out?

    It’s good to have practice, but important be considered. Short films are not something we have ever wanted to make lots of. We see these as an exercise in film-making and place more importance on them being of quality than quantity. Music videos are throw away things for someone else, short films are much more personal and hopefully mean something, so we would suggest only making films you really believe in and practise your art in another format.

    You say that you will be ‘picking over it [the script]’ with the UK Film Council and Virgin Media; who specifically have you received support from, what format has that taken and how useful have you found their input?

    We have been working with a team from virgin who have been making sure we are spending their money in the right way, and Rebecca from the UK Film Council who’s advice during the development of our script has been great – offering a wealth of experience to aid us in the process. We have also had friends, family and people in the industry read things through and offer up some often-insightful suggestions.

    Working as a 2 man team seems to have worked really well. Did either Olly or Phil have specific roles e.g. writing, photography, etc whereby their respective skill sets complimented the other’s or do they have similar skills that are enhanced by the other?

    We have a pool of experience in the industry which allows us the privilege to know what the other one means when we are taking things through. Both of us have a history in art directing and making, and building things - Phil is a freelance editor and Olly an art director. Our skills definitely compliment each other, allowing us to get involved in every aspect of the production. We both write together and have done for years on other projects, its good to have someone to throw things against and bounce ideas around with, no matter how silly. We collaborate on most things in our productions and with the team around us. Other peoples skills are very important when it comes to using your own to their fullest.

    Roughly what time and budget, as a percentage, will you put against the various aspects of making your film from concept and pre-production right through to filming, editing and post-production?

    3-4 months script development, 2 months pre-production, 1 week rehearsals and 3 day shoot, 2 months for edit, post, sound, delivery.
    Time wise that’s:
    50% script development
    24% pre-produstion
    2% shoot
    24% edit, sound, post
    Money wise:
    5% pre-production
    75% shoot
    20% post production
    Most of the money will go on the actual shoot itself, next biggest cost is the edit and post production.

    Phil and Olly’s new short film, Diamond Dogs, will be out this autumn

  10. #10


    Just an update to this Q&A, as I thought some of you might be interested to see how Phil and Olly are getting on spending their £30,000 prize money. They've begun shooting on their new project and below is a few diary extracts. You can also click here to view some pictures of them shooting on location.

    21st JULY (Day 1)
    We shot the discovery of the man in the woods - Gus was incredible,
    buried naked in the mud and leaves. We also shot the opening scene
    including worm chopping. We shot the Viking and captured everthing for
    the making of too. We used a mixture of steadycam, crane and hand held.
    We shot 8 rolls of 35mm.
    Tomorrow is all interior with Shaun and Gus.

    22nd JULY (Day 2)
    Just wrapped on day two of filming... Very intense scenes between Shaun
    and Gus. Swords, whiskey, rain and a lot of mud smeared over a very
    willing Gus. Luckily nothing caught fire or blew up (after yesterdays
    explosive smoke machine).. Currently prepping costumes for anna for
    tomorrows shoot, and planning what to go through with the fight
    So it's been an intense 2 days. Lots of great shots, it's been
    interesting seeing all the scenes come to life. We have dug trenches big
    enough to fit a small car in and burried Gus in a shallow grave!
    Shaun has been great to work with and has brought so much to the
    charater. Looking forward to the scenes with anna tomorrow. Speak soon.
    23 JULY (Day 3)
    We shot 11 rolls of 35mm, all interior between Noah and the man. All
    very dark, the man is very twisted and the chemistry between the two men
    is dynamic. Tomorrow we add the sexual tension by introducing the drop
    dead beauty, Anna Brewster in the mix.

    Matt Rebeiro
    (on behalf of VM Shorts)

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