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Lenny Abrahamson and Lisa McGee revealed as Judges for Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition
13 Nov 2020 : Nathan Griffin
Virgin Media Discovers
The four judges for the 2020 Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition, in association with Screen Ireland have been revealed.

The panel of star judges includes award-winning director and screenwriter Lenny Abrahamson, known for directing such acclaimed independent films as Adam & Paul, Garage, What Richard Did, and Room; Derry Girls creator and screenwriter of The Deceived, Lisa McGee; Mullingar-born actor Niamh Algar who stars in Ridley Scott’s major new HBO Max series, Raised by Wolves; Screenwriter and Executive Producer Ursula Rani Sarma whose work includes Delicious and Red Rock, joined by representatives from Virgin Media Television, Screen Ireland, and the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.

Speaking about the competition, director Lenny Abrahamson said: "In the best of times it can be very tough for filmmakers to get their ideas realised and out in front of an audience. This year, as we battle through a global pandemic, the challenges are huge. This competition will encourage, acknowledge and support creative filmmakers while bringing new work to audiences and I’m so looking forward to working with this excellent group of judges as we read and discuss the submissions.”

Now in its second year, the Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition is open to new, emerging, and established filmmakers across drama, comedy, fiction, thriller, animation, and so much more.  The competition is designed to recognise the contribution and impact that the TV and film production sector creates for our economy, society, culture, and democracy.

From a total prize fund of €150,000, 10 shortlisted projects from new and established filmmakers will be given €9,000 each to invest in the development of their script. €90,000 in total will be invested in script development. Two winners will be selected from these final scripts by our judging panel and will win €30,000 worth of investment each to fund the production of a 10-minute short film.

This year’s competition is made even bigger by the additional partnership with Fís Eireann / Screen Ireland, offering filmmakers support to develop scripts and bring them to screen, which is at the heart of the prize fund this year. Writer Lisa McGee said: “I can’t wait to get my hands on the scripts.”

If shortlisted, entrants will receive funding to evolve their idea with a script editor. Two projects will be selected from the shortlist of 10 scripts for final production. The winning films will be broadcast on Virgin Media Television, Virgin Media on Demand, and as part of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2021 programme of events.

Ursula Rani Sarma added: “I’ve always believed that a country’s artistic output should reflect the full depth and breadth of its society.  As a mixed-race artist, I’m thrilled that this year’s Virgin Medias Short Film Competition is seeking to encourage, recognise, and celebrate the diverse talent of the Irish film industry. I’m honoured to be part of this wonderful project and very much look forward to being introduced to so many exciting voices.”

Actor Niamh Algar said: “Supporting filmmakers, their stories, and the crew they hire is so important now more than ever. I started my career being part of some incredible emerging filmmakers’ first short films and whose subsequent storytelling is now in full feature film format. Virgin Media’s Short Film Competition is a terrific platform to educate, advocate, entertain, and inspire a broad range of work that deserves to be recognised." 

The closing date for submissions is midnight 30th November 2020.

Click here for further information about Virgin Media Discovers.

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