Three weeks ago I saw news on Twitter of a short film competition from Virgin Media.
Virgin Media Shorts is unique in its challenge and its promise. The challenge: the film you enter must be no longer than 2 minutes 20 seconds; the promise: 12 shortlisted films will be shown in 211 UK cinemas for a year.
Most short films play only in film festivals; they cannot be seen by the cinema-going public. People pay to see full length movies, not those trying to get there by making career calling card films.
So, although Happy Birthday remains my goal, I realised the Virgin competition was too good an opportunity to pass up. Exposure in cinemas - and therefore among film producers - is not to be sniffed at. And one winner receives £30,000 funding towards their short film.
It’s a tall order. When the closing date fell last week, there were around 1000 entries. That means a little over 1% (12 films) will be chosen for the 12-month cinema run. Add to that the difficulty of telling a story in two minutes or so with no budget and very little time, and you can see the odds are tough.
So, I wrote a script and called on many from the Happy Birthday team to see if they were up for the mad dash necessary to make
Gary and Gail - our two-minute entry to the competition. To my delight, they threw their full weight behind it, relishing, like me, a fantastic opportunity!
Here’s the film, its paint still drying (click on the image or the link below). We finished it just in time for the deadline.
Take a look, see what you think.
Please click the Like button, top right of the blog. And if you’re not on Facebook, leave a comment on the Virgin site.
These Likes are not a desperate desire for back slapping; they really do help expose the film to a wider audience, some of whom are involved in commissioning films and looking for directors, scripts, ideas and talent.
Crank up the sound! (there’s a great music score) Enjoy the film.
And the winner is...
The 12 shortlisted films are selected in September for UK Cinema screenings, and Virgin TV & online outings. Then the public vote for the runner up, before the big winner is chosen by the judges in November.
The judges include actor, John Hurt; Director, Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93, Green Zone) and new British Director, Mat Whitecross (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll). Click on a judge to see more.
And for the record, please be assured that not a penny of your money was spent on Gary and Gail - that is firmly held in the
Happy Birthday pot!
On that note, apologies to any whose cheques have still not been banked. I’ve been head down on the Virgin film and I hate queues! But I will bank them soon.
THANK YOU if you’ve recently sent your pledge in. The fund is slowly accumulating in readiness for production. We are getting back to Happy Birthday planning, now that the Gary and Gail dust has settled. We just had to have a go. It could give Happy Birthday a huge push!
Don’t forget to visit the Gary and Gail Facebook page to Like and Comment!
Thank you for your interest in this fantastically exciting journey to see a movie made.
It’s great you’re coming with us!
writer and director
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