Director Matt in the frame for £30k film contest prize

Halifax filmmaker Matt Maude, right, with Left Eye Blind colleague Jamie Donaghue. The pair's short film The Dreamers is one of 12 shortlisted in the Virgin Media Shorts competition, which could net them �30,000 funding
Halifax filmmaker Matt Maude, right, with Left Eye Blind colleague Jamie Donaghue. The pair's short film The Dreamers is one of 12 shortlisted in the Virgin Media Shorts competition, which could net them �30,000 funding

A FILM-MAKER from Halifax could reel in £30,000 after being shortlisted for a prestigious national prize.

Matt Maude and colleague Jamie Donoughue’s 140-second film The Dreamers is one of 12 chosen for Virgin Media Shorts, the UK’s biggest short film competition.

Their Leeds production company Left Eye Blind is in line for the coveted funding after the movie was picked from more than 2,000 entries.

Mr Maude, 26, said it was a fantastic opportunity.

“The film was shot in three and half days in Belgrade, Serbia, but it took nearly two years to get the clearance of the music by Sigur Rós within the film,” he said.

“We’re not even thinking about getting first prize. Having the work in cinemas is a big enough prize itself.”

The competition, now in its fourth year, showcases emerging British talent in cinemas across the country as well as online, on TV and on mobile phones.

The distinguished judging panel includes The Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass, British actor John Hurt and Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll director Mat Whitecross.

“Virgin are doing something that almost nobody else is doing anywhere by providing opportunities for filmmakers to showcase their work, get themselves known and move up the ladder,” said Mr Maude.

“They’re acting like a big signposting system to new undiscovered talent - one with bright flashing lights that read: ‘Invest here.’”

Left Eye Blind, based at Marshall’s Mill in Holbeck, is known for creating videos and pop promos for local bands and established artists such as Eliza Doolittle.

After signing to Academy Films in 2009, the pair have steered the company increasingly towards producing fiction films.

Their first feature-length movie Finding Lara, a road trip comedy, is in post-production and set to be released in January.

Mr Maude said The Dreamers was about “roads not taken, memories of what could have been, lost opportunities and first loves, adultery or the simple innocence of sleep, all congregating, all sleepwalking to one place, one time, one kiss”.

The winner, who will get £30,000 towards their next film plus mentoring from the British Film Institute, will be announced on November 10. The People’s Choice Award winner, voted for by viewers, will scoop film equipment.

To watch The Dreamers and cast your vote, visit www.virginmediashorts.co.uk/film/1571/the-dreamers-sanjari. The film has also been shortlisted for a Kirin First Press award. To vote for that, visit www.kirinfirstcut.co.uk/how-to-vote.php