Film-maker hoping for short accolade in national awards

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THE road to Belgrade is not a path well trodden, but one aspiring film-maker from Halifax is hoping his Serbian short will win him a national accolade.

Matt Maude has been shortlisted for the Virgin Media Short Award, the UK’s largest annual short film competition, for The Dreamers – a story of “lost opportunities and first loves” conceived, shot and edited in Belgrade in just three days.

In a powerful 140 seconds, the short shows couples of all ages sleepwalking from all corners of the Serbian capital to come together and re-enact their first, innocent kiss. It’s a tale of roads not taken and which might have been.

Mr Maude, 26, is hoping his work will impress an esteemed panel of judges – including Paul Greengrass, director of The Bourne Ultimatum, John Hurt, the British actor, and Mat Whitecross, director of Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll – to land the first prize of £30,000 film funding.

The Dreamers was shot at the European Summer Film School in Belgrade, where Mr Maude and seven other directors from across Europe were challenged to write, produce and edit a film within three days.

“I felt like I was in a dream being in Belgrade during that crazy week of film-making,” said Mr Maude. “I’m a big believer that you should just throw away the map in a place like that and just get lost. That’s how I found most of my locations, by sleepwalking into them.

“On the first day, I wrote the idea, looked at locations and cast the actors. The second day was all production, working right through the night into the morning. It was pure adrenaline filmmaking.”

To watch The Dreamers and vote visit www.virginmediashorts.co.uk.