Ten new submissions have been shortlisted to participate in the 2021 Virgin Media Discovers & Screen Ireland Short Film Competition which has an overall fund of €150,000. The shortlisted projects, selected from over 600 entries, will each now receive €9,000 to further evolve their ideas with a script writer, with two of these projects ultimately to be chosen by a renowned judging panel for final production.
The winning films will be broadcast on Virgin Media Television and on Virgin Media on Demand as part of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2021 programme of events. This year, the competition is even bigger through a partnership with Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, offering support to develop scripts and bringing new film concepts to a wider audience, which is at the heart of the prize fund this year.
Paul Higgins, Vice President of Virgin Media Ireland said: “We’re thrilled to be supporting a remarkable group of writers and film makers at a crucial stage in the development of their work. By providing the funding, support and national broadcast platform, we hope the Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition will have a significant impact on the advancement of these ten projects. I’m uplifted by the courage of these ten filmmakers and their treatment of diversity and inclusivity in their subject matter, while they are fighting to be heard and make a change, and we’re very happy to be in a position to help broaden the awareness and appeal of their work”
Andrew Byrne, Television Project Manager, Screen Ireland said: “We are delighted to support a broad, diverse collection of film projects and filmmakers as part of this year’s Virgin Media Discovers Short Film competition in association with Screen Ireland. Investing in new and pre-existing talent, building careers and reaching new and wider audiences both locally and internationally, is at the heart of this film scheme, which is funded as part of the TV production stimulus funding announced by Screen Ireland last year.”
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 scripts from Screen Ireland. €90,000 in total will be invested in script development. Two winners will be selected from these final scripts by the judging panel in March and will win €30,000 worth of investment each to fund the production of a 10-minute short film based on their scripts, also supported by Screen Ireland.
The Judging Panel:
The judging panel for this year’s competition is made up of 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 and representatives from Virgin Media Television, Screen Ireland and the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.
The 10 shortlisted projects are:
Nannie (Drama) Writer/Director: Louise Lowe
An up close and personal meditation of those at the frontline of addiction and homelessness.
Ahmed & Ayomide (Thriller) Writers: Aoife Kelleher & Bulelani Cornelius Mfaco
A tragic love story set in a direct provision centre.
Adagio (Drama) Writer: Hana Hall, Director: Fiona Aryan
A teen violinist desperate to make an audition falls foul of a Garda whose harshness stems from his own heartache.
Superhuman (Drama) Writer/Director: Mícheál Fleming
After being rejected from professional football and diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, an African Irish Leaving Certificate student is guided towards the Paralympic games; all while learning to deal with his new identity and the discrimination that has surrounded him all his life.
Water Under the Bridge (Drama) Writer/Director: Rehan Ali
After a long journey, Bilal and his mother have come so close to tasting freedom. Now the restrictions of hostel life keep him from true liberty.
Pediment (Drama) Writer: Derek Ugochukwu
A precocious biracial boy embarks on a day’s journey to reconnect with an estranged relative, unaware of a long-existing dispute between both sides of the family.
Punch Line (Black Comedy) Writers: Allie O'Rourke & Becky Cheatle
On the night of a transphobic attack a transgender comedian processes her feelings the only way she knows how, via stand-up comedy.
Slip Away (Fantasy) Writer/Director: Mark Cantan
A girl with no gravity struggles to find her place on the world.
Goodnight Girl (Drama) Writer: Hiram Harrington
A group of queer friends reunite at the funeral of their trans friend, only to find her conservative family is burying her under her dead name and refusing her last wishes. They team up to concoct a heist to steal her ashes, and have their own funeral for her.
Headspace (Drama) Writers: Aisling Byrne & Mark Smith
As the frustrations and tensions of living in a shared community house begin to close in on him, a young man with Down Syndrome, seeks to end a nightly disturbance, by any means available.