Created to help uncover some of the best up and coming British filmmaking talent, the UK’s biggest short film competition – Virgin Media Shorts – has revealed the winner of this year’s competition.
Nimer Rashed secured the Grand Prize with his film 'Touch', after being selected by industry heavyweights including BAFTA Award winning director, Shane Meadows (This is England, Dead Man’s Shoes, Made of Stone), respected actor of stage and screen, David Tennant and director Mat Whitecross (Spike Island, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll) as their worthy winner.
Nimer was presented with his prize by Shane Meadows, which includes £30,000 funding towards his next film, at a star-studded awards ceremony at the BFI (British Film Institute) IMAX in London’s Waterloo.
Costing nothing to make, 'Touch' is a poignant reflection on the relationship and love between two people over the course of a life time, told almost entirely through the touch of their hands – from their first connection through to their final farewell. The piece was inspired by EM Forster’s phrase ‘only connect’ and after many weeks of pre-production, shot over one sunny weekend in various locations, including a park, church and restaurant.
The film-maker Nimer, commentated: “Filming 'Touch' was a real labour of love and winning Virgin Media Shorts 2013 is a dream come true. The competition always has a really high standard of talent and entering the project does a great deal to elevate the short film form. I wanted to make something that would be really cinematic, where images would tell a story on their own, largely without dialogue. It was an exciting challenge to explain exactly how the film would work, without either a traditional script or storyboards.”
Shane Meadows comments: “The creativity and breadth of talent displayed in the shortlist this year made my job as a judge very tricky. 'Touch' is a beautiful short that manages to convey a range of emotions in a simple and powerful way. It tells a story that we all at some point have been affected by.”
Both the Nikon People’s Choice Award Winner, which gave film fans from across the UK, the chance to support their favourite, by voting on Twitter and Facebook, and The TiVo® Award Winner, as voted for by Virgin Media customers via their TiVo box, were also announced at last night’s ceremony. 'Just Say Hi', directed by John McPhail on a budget of just £200, did the double, scooping both prizes, receiving £5,000 film funding, mentoring from the BFI and Nikon digital SLR camera equipment worth up to £5,000.
Nikon ambassador, John Wright said: “It’s been a pleasure to be on the judging panel for this year’s awards and to be involved in a competition that supports emerging film making talent. I’ve been so impressed with the quality of entries and hope that more people are inspired to give film making a go. Nimer’s winning short was outstanding; a really well thought out piece of work – a deserved winner, well done.”
For more information about Virgin Media Shorts and to watch the winning films visit the Virgin Media Shorts website