Film

From First Shot to big shots

Neo Leeuw

Jameson First Shot is back for 2013 and ready to discover talented film writers and directors from South Africa, Russia and the US.

Kevin Spacey in Johannesburg for the premiere of Alan Shelley's short film in May (Gallo)

Jameson and the Academy Award-winning Trigger Street Productions have come together to produce a competition which offers young filmmakers an opportunity few other short film competitions can. The winner will get to write and direct their own short film and work alongside renowned actor and director Kevin Spacey.

The Jameson First shot competition was a huge success in its first year of running and saw more than 5.6-million people worldwide view the three winning films on YouTube.

Jameson has since announced an exciting new development to the second competition. The winners will not only get to work with Kevin Spacey,  but willl also get the chance to have actor Willem Dafoe feature in their short film. Dafoe recieved Oscar nominations for his roles in Platoon and Shadow of the Vampire, and has also appeared films such as  Martin Scorcese's Last Temptation of Christ (where he played the role of Jesus), The English Patient and the Spiderman trilogy.

Clair van der Mescht of Jameson SA explained that their acting CEO met Spacey at an event in New York. Soon, they had a winning concept in their hands.

“I think it’s so funny how a casual conversation turned into a brilliant idea. It was two people who met briefly and then they came up with something big. Jameson is a huge supporter of film and developing filmmakers so we take pride in our concept. The winners can look forward to a huge opportunity and a chance to launch themselves internationally.”

 “This competition encourages filmmakers looking for their big break to submit a script of no more than seven pages. It should be inspired by one of the three themes, Legendary, Humorous or A very tall tale” She adds

2011 South African winner Allan Shelley says the competition has helped build his confidence as a writer and filmmaker “having left my teaching job I just felt I needed to do something bold. I dragged my feet for a bit but eventually I just decided to go for it.

This competition has built my confidence. An accolade this big makes people stop and notice you now. They are more willing to give you opportunities,” said Shelley.

The resulting short film, starring Kevin Spacy, has been watched over 200-thousand times. on YouTube.

One of the judges for this year's competition is award-winning writer and director Thandi Brewer. 

“The judges are looking for freshness, originality, good structure and above all, a great story” said Brewer.

“One will never know if they have a good script unless they enter. My advice to potential contestants would be for them to be bold and enter.”

The competition closes on January 1 2013. For more details, go to the official website.

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