About this Scheme
Selected from hundreds of entries this year, each shortlisted project will receive an investment of €6,000 to develop their script with a mentor and the three finalists will be chosen and awarded €30,000 to bring their script to life on screen with the production of a 10-minute short film. The final production will be broadcast on Virgin Media Television and Virgin Media on Demand.
With well over 70 years of script writing experience combined, mentors include storytellers such as Bláthnaid de Róiste (Ros na Rún, Fair City, and Holby City), Eilish Kent (Foreign Exchange, Raw, and Fade St), Gavin Burke (lecturer in screenwriting at IADT), Aileen Docherty (Holby, Waterloo Road, and The Clinic) and Nadine Flynn (Fair City and EastEnders).
Now in its third year, the competition continues to showcase outstanding original creativity and a diverse collection of voices and engaging stories with star judges for this year’s competition including Lenny Abrahamson (Conversations with Friends, Normal People) and rising Irish actress, writer and star of hit crime drama, Kin, Clare Dunne.
One of last year’s winning films, Punch Line, which tells the story of how a transgender female stand-up comedian reframes a transphobic attack she experiences during the day in her routine that evening, has gone on to win several international awards, including Best Direction at the LGBTQ+ Los Angeles Film Festival.
“We’re delighted to be able to offer this level of funding, mentorship and a platform to some of Ireland’s most promising film makers that have such unique voices and new stories to tell,” said Bill Malone, Director of Content at Virgin Media Television. “For our applicants this is not just about building their careers, it is also a chance to raise awareness of the issues at the heart of their films, and I am thrilled that we can help them to have their voices heard.”
Andrew Byrne, Head of Television, Screen Ireland said: “We are thrilled once again to be able to further support this short film initiative, growing a broad range of exciting new talent and giving mentorship and first screen opportunities to a range of creative voices and diverse themes which deserve further recognition. We look forward to seeing the final developed projects and shining a light on the stars of the future both in front of and behind the screen.”
With a prize fund of €200,000, 10 filmmakers will be awarded €6,000 to realise the full potential of their scripts through professional development. Three of these projects will then be awarded €30,000 to produce their 10-minute short film, which will be broadcast on Virgin Media Television in 2023. €50,000 will go towards supporting the projects through script editing, mentorship, PR, advertising, and marketing support.
The Judging Panel:
Star judges include award-winning director and screenwriter Lenny Abrahamson (Adam & Paul, Normal People, What Richard Did and Room), rising Irish actress, writer and star of hit crime drama, Kin, Clare Dunne; Clinton Liberty who played Kiernan in global hit drama Normal People and Linus in drama Holding; screenwriter and executive producer Ursula Rani Sarma (Delicious and Red Rock), as well as representatives from Virgin Media Television, Screen Ireland, and the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.
The 10 shortlisted projects are:
Always Find Him in the Kitchen At Parties (Drama)
Writer/Director: Zoë Gibney
Fake it ’til you make it, that’s what Sean keeps telling himself. But how far will he go to cover his shame?
Writer/Director: Gerard Walsh and Fabu-D
David has recently moved to Ireland to create a better life for his daughter as a paediatrician. He soon finds out it’s not that simple.
Writer/Director: Jamie O’Rourke
A near fatal farm accident leaves teenager Cáit with a terrible decision to make in order to do what she must to protect her family.
Writer/Director: Jason Forde and Jody O’Neill
A dark film about the final week of 8-year-old autistic boy Casper’s life. Utilising straight to camera address, visuals and sound inspired by the autistic experience to mesh avant-garde documentary style with narrative.
Location: Wicklow & Cork
Writer/Director: Orla Sanders & Joanne Fitzgerald
Following a series of unsuccessful rounds of IVF, Sinead runs and Peter gardens; creating life can destroy you.
Writer/Director: Eilís Doherty and Olivia McLaughlin
A dramedy about what happens when your feelings are strong, but your vodka is stronger. Emma battles with ‘the fear’ when she overshares about her crush on a night out.
Location: Dublin, Donegal & Kildare
Good Chips (Drama)
Writer/Director: Nell Hensey and Brigid Leahy
Dublin 1989. A family of Vietnamese immigrants struggle to keep their takeaway business afloat while their 12 year old daughter befriends one of the customers, a local Irish boy. When he disappears, she sets out to find him.
Location: Clare & Dublin
Home Safe (Neo-Noir / Thriller)
Writer/Director: Jaro Waldeck and Grace Sexton
In a normal world, walking home may seem like a straight-forward thing to do. But in the world of a sketchy man, hooded and hard to read, this task proves to be quite the undertaking. What dangers can he encounter on his way home?
Writer/Director: Mary Kirwan and Zoë Brennan-Whitmore
After discovering the love of her life and colleague on Tinder, a self-deprecating fat millennial must find the confidence to swipe right before his leaving party, all while navigating a fatphobic workplace.
Location: Wicklow & Cork
Why the Sun & Moon Live in the Sky (Fantasy)
Writer/Director: Aisha Bolaji and Alfonso Films
Living in the mundane suburbia of Farraig-Mor, two teens plan to escape by building a spacecraft and living in the sky.
Location: Dublin, Meath & Wicklow