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Wednesday 18 September 2019

'Everyone is looking for the next Phoebe Waller-Bridge' - Dublin International Film Festival director Grainne Humphreys

Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Matt Crossick/PA)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Matt Crossick/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Virgin Media Discovers judge Grainne Humphreys has urged all who have been inspired by Phoebe Waller-Bridge to 'seize the opportunity' as the deadline approaches in the search to find Ireland's next great short filmmaker.

Waller-Bridge shot to international fame thanks to the success of her shows Fleabag and Killing Eve, with the runaway success of the British actress and writer providing compelling evidence of how quickly your star can rise if you hit the right buttons and attract a huge audience.

Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival director Humphreys is part of a star-studded judging panel that also includes IFTA and BAFTA award-winning Irish director Neasa Hardiman and Line Of Duty star Adrian Dunbar and she hopes the Virgin Media Discovers competition provides a platform for a new star of Irish film to emerge.

"Everyone is looking for the next Phoebe Waller-Bridge and if you have an idea that you have been storing up and wondering where you can put it, this is the competition for you," begins Humphreys.

"The snobbery on being a TV actor as opposed to a movie actor has certainly gone in recent years, as the way we consume TV has changed so dramatically with streaming services. The idea that you are not a real actor unless you are on the big screen has been banished and that means TV and short films have become so significant in our industry.

"You can reach a nice audience if your film is given good distribution, but there is a significant leap in the number of people who will view your work when you are on television. Television has a much more broad appeal and that is why drama and short films have been getting so much attention in recent years.

"All of the elements that film makers struggle with are overcome in this Virgin Media Discovers competition. Sometimes making the film is the easiest part, but there is a struggle to put the finance together or getting a crew together and then they don't know what happens when the film is made. Will it be left under their bed, or will it get the exposure they want?

"What we have with the Virgin Media Discovers competition is a golden opportunity because they appreciate that this prize includes a guaranteed screening in next year’s Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, there will be media attention around their film and a significant budget of €35,000 in place to help to make the best short film possible.

"When you add in the judges and organisations that are involved in this competition, it's clear that the elements everything a top international filmmaker would put at the top of their wanted list when they start a project will be assured for the winner.

"We have a great track record of award-winning short films being made in Ireland, so this fits nicely into that, a strand of cinema that we are already good at and giving it an extra twist."

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Grainne Humphreys

Humphreys will be joined on judging panel by Birch Hamilton, Executive Director of the Screen Directors Guild and Bill Malone, Director of Content at Virgin Media Television, and she has clear advice for all hopefuls.

"There is not enough happiness in this world, so I would defiantly be enticed by a short film proposal that makes me smile. I would say a film of around 10 minutes would be apt and aim as high as you can," she added.

"People are always interested in working with young filmmakers at the start of their careers, so push to casting the net out far and wide and see who you can get.

"Don't try and remake Goodfellas in a 10-minute short film. All the things you don't want to see as an audience member, please don't present them to us for this competition and the final piece of advice from me would be to make sure that opening shot is memorable.

"I pretty much decide whether I like something from that first impression and a young filmmaker needs to keep that in mind. It's hard to correct a bad impression from that opening shot, so make it intoxicating from the first moment. This is not the time to come up with a slow-burning film. We want something impactful and exciting to catch the eye of a judging panel who have read a lot of scripts collectively."

Entrants are invited to submit scripts by Friday 26th July for a proposed 10-minute short film.  The ultimate winner will win €35,000 worth of investment to fund the production of a 10 minute short film, which will then be broadcast on Virgin Media Television, Virgin Media On Demand and screened at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2020.

For more information visit www.virginmedia.ie/discovers

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