Short film makers compete this weekend to win a nationwide screening

Leeds film makers
Leeds film makers
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if you are reading this over your breakfast cereal on Friday morning, then right now there are 150 film-makers in Leeds champing at the bit to get started with a challenge that will physically and emotionally drain them.

Over the weekend, 150 people, 35 teams of film-makers, will be racing around Leeds making short films for a new competition, 2.8 Days Later, which could see their mini-masterpieces screened in cinemas across the country.The only stipulation is that the film must be on the theme of... well, we can’t reveal the theme because the film-makers won’t discover it until 12.05pm today when they gather at the Leeds production offices of film company Left Eye Blind before heading off to create their movies at breakneck speed. Matt Maude, director of Left Eye Blind, says: “Film-makers are living in a time where there is so little support and so little money. With the UK Film Council disappearing, in about 18 months we’re going to really see the effect of that and there just won’t be British films in cinemas. “A film challenge like this gives film-makers a chance to just make something. There is plenty of talent and enthusiasm out there. People who want to make films, just want to make films and this is a great opportunity for them.”

The experience of the people making films as part of 2.8 Days Later varies enormously, from those who simply want to give film-making a try, to those who are taking the competition very seriously. It is little surprise that seasoned film-makers have been tempted, with a first prize which will see the winning film being shown at selected Everyman cinemas in London in 2012.

The project is being funded by Trinity Leeds, a new Leeds city shopping centre opening in Spring 2013, which will have an Everyman cinema as part of the complex – the first Everyman outside of London.Maude says: “With public funding being cut, companies stepping in to provide the resources for schemes like this are more important than ever.

“This weekend someone could make their first short film that sets them on a path where, ten years down the line, they are winning a BAFTA. For some people, they might end up with something that hasn’t quite worked, but this kind of scheme is the perfect place to practise. If you make a film and it doesn’t quite turn out to be what you had hoped, then all you’ve lost is a weekend.”

The teams, after being given their theme this lunchtime, will have until Monday at 10am to hand in their completed films, which must have a running time of less than five minutes.

The films will then be judged by industry experts, including Barry Ryan of Warp Films, the studio behind the critically acclaimed This is England, and Four Lions, influential film producer Howard Dawson, formerly of Film Lab North, and Everyman Media Group CEO Andrew Myers. A people’s choice award will also be selected.

The winning film will be showcased at Everyman cinemas across London as a trailer at the start of a major movie. The winners will be announced at a public screening event in Leeds during spring 2012.

Maude says: “Apart from anything else, it is fantastic to have 150 people in Leeds, this weekend, all making films.”