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Virgin Media Shorts prize nominees announced

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Virgin Media Shorts, the UK's biggest short film competition, has today announced the 12 budding filmmakers vying for the £30,000 top prize.

The shortlisted films (listed below) will now be judged by a panel of industry experts, led by Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy star John Hurt, The Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass and Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll helmer Mat Whitecross.

The panel also includes film critic James King, British Film Institute senior production executive Chris Collins and Virgin Media's executive director digital entertainment Cindy Rose.

Now into its fourth year, Virgin Media Shorts gives aspiring filmmakers the opportunity to have their work showcased to millions of people across the UK through four distribution channels - independent cinemas, TV (including Virgin Media's new TiVo service), mobile and online.

The Grand Prize winner will receive up to £30,000 film funding to make their next project "hand-in-hand" with the British Film Institute.

This year, the public will also be able to vote for their favourite short film in the 'People's Choice Award', with the winner to receive thousands of pounds worth of film equipment.

Winners of the 'Grand Prize' and 'People's Choice Award' will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held at BFI Southbank on November 10, 2011.

This year's shortlisted filmmakers hail from a wide variety of backgrounds, including a member of the writing team behind hit BBC comedy The Thick of It, a photographer who shot his film while travelling in India and a full-time filmmaker whose film stars his ailing granny.

The nominees will hope to follow in the footsteps of previous winner Luke Snellin, who won the prize in 2009 with Mixtape, which went on to be nominated for a BAFTA.

Snellin used his prize money to fund follow up film, Disco, which won 'Best Screenplay' at the LA New Wave International Film Festival. He is currently writing his first feature.

"It can be extremely hard for filmmakers to get a break and succeed in putting their work out there," said Whitecross.

"Virgin Media Shorts does a fantastic job of giving upcoming filmmakers the chance to be seen by some hugely influential industry people. It's become more than a competition: it's now a community."

Rose added: "It's great that Virgin Media Shorts has struck such a chord with aspiring film makers. This year's shortlist even includes a re-entry from the winner of last year's People's Choice Award; saying last year whetted his appetite for more success.

"Anyone that loves shorts and film should check out www.virginmediashorts.co.uk for their chance to vote in the People's Choice Award."

The full shortlist of entries runs as follows:

Coasting by Federico Forcolini

Don Justino de Neve by Daisy Jacobs

Saloon by Tom Pietrasik

By Hook by Laura Evers Johns

First Press by Jonathan Brooks

The Good Samaritan by Ryan Vernava

Bistro by Sean Gray

InaniMate by Micheal O'Donoghue

The Friend Catcher by Lucy Campbell

2:20 by Jason Wingard

MES by Ian Gamester

The Dreamers by Matt Maude

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