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This is a fantastic opportunity for emerging, talented filmmakers to demonstrate their story-telling abilities in one of the most breathtaking locations in the world – The Bahamas

Leading British Director launches search for rising talent in UK Film industry

Golden Globe-nominated director Bharat Nalluri today launches a nationwide search to find the UK’s most talented professional or aspiring filmmakers, in a campaign to support the home-grown talent of Britain’s film industry. The 14 Islands Film Challenge will give 14 filmmakers a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend two weeks filming on an idyllic island in The Bahamas and use the challenge as a launch pad for their careers.

Supported by the National Film and Television School (NFTS) and The Bahamas Tourist Office, the challenge seeks to engage with up and coming or professional filmmakers and give them the chance to compete for a £14,000 cash prize and state-of-the-art camera equipment. This is combined with the opportunity to draw on scenery which has been the backdrop of many iconic films including; Pirates of the Caribbean, Casino Royale and The Silence of the Lambs.

Nalluri, whose rise to fame has included directing BBC-smash hits such as Spooks, Hustle and Life on Mars will Chair the panel of esteemed judges who will select the final 14 lucky filmmakers. Other judges include Finola Dwyer, Chair of the BAFTA Film Committee, Nik Powell, Director of the NFTS and Tommy Thompson, Deputy Director General of Bahamas Tourist Office.

With the British film industry seeing an unmistakable emergence of exciting new directors, The 14 Islands Film Challenge will give those selected a chance to learn from the industry’s finest. An experienced producer will help the finalists during the making of the films whilst in The Bahamas and provide guidance through the editing process, with use of the National Film and Television School’s editing suites in Beaconsfield on their return. All 14 films will be aired at a prestigious red carpet event at BAFTA in March 2010 when the winner of the challenge will be revealed.

To participate in the challenge, Britain’s rising directors are required to submit a 500 word treatment on an inspirational person from their local community and their reasons why they should be chosen. Judges will then select around 40 candidates to submit a short film based on their treatment and from those films, 14 finalists will be selected. All entries will be available to view on the challenge website.

The shortlisted filmmakers will take inspiration from the warmth of the Bahamian people to tell inspiring stories through their films. The filmmakers will be encouraged to show the islands in their own way and demonstrate their creativity and individuality through their final cut. Each filmmaker will be based on one of the 14 main islands of The Bahamas and assigned a local team, dedicated to helping them experience and capture true Bahamian life.

Bharat Nalluri, whose directing credits include blockbuster films such as Resident Evil and Alien V Predator, talks about how important it is to give new filmmakers a chance to prove their talent: “The chance to travel to beautiful locations, make personal films, mix with industry experts, have the best camera equipment to hand and showcase your finished work around the world - The 14 Islands Film Challenge is a wonderful opportunity for any aspiring filmmaker. I wish it was around when I first started in the industry.”

Tommy Thompson, Deputy Director General, Bahamas Tourist Office, comments: “The British Film industry has a wealth of raw talent, so by throwing the challenge out to all those upcoming directors waiting for their break, the 14 Islands of The Bahamas provide the perfect canvas for Britain’s next filmmaking star to show their ability by capturing Bahamian life, community and the beautiful surroundings.”

Nik Powell, Director of the National Film and Television School and also on the panel of judges, comments: “We are delighted to support The 14 Islands Film Challenge and look forward to seeing how upcoming filmmakers will respond to what could be the platform to launch their career in the future.”
Finola Dwyer, Producer and Chair of the BAFTA Film Committee, adds: “This is a fantastic opportunity for emerging, talented filmmakers to demonstrate their story-telling abilities in one of the most breathtaking locations in the world – The Bahamas.”

More information on the entry criteria and registration can be found at: www.14islandsfilmchallenge.co.uk.

Ends

Notes to editors:
High resolution images are available for the media to view and download free of charge from www.vismedia.co.uk

The 14 Islands Film Challenge www.14islandsfilmchallenge.co.uk is a competition created and sponsored by The Bahamas Tourist Office UK. The competition invites aspiring or professional filmmakers to shoot an inspiring and dramatic story about The Bahamas and compete for a £14,000 cash prize. Supported by the National Film and Television School (NFTS) the competition seeks to inspire up and coming or professional filmmakers and give them a launch pad for their careers.

The challenge opens on the 1st October 2009 and runs until March 2010.

Entry requirements:
To demonstrate why filmmakers should be chosen to make a short film in The Bahamas entrants must:
• Tell us about their filmmaking capabilities
• Upload a piece of short film they have already created
• Submit a written treatment (max 500 words) for a short film, no longer than 2-3 mins in duration, featuring a local hero / known character from their local area
• Tell us which island of The Bahamas they identify with most/ is their favourite/best portrays their character and why, also why they should be chosen to make their film in The Bahamas in no more than 100 words
• Entries must be received by 31 October 2009
• 42 entries will be short listed and advised by Monday 2 November. Each filmmaker will then be asked to make their local hero film which must be uploaded to www.14islandsfilmchallenge.co.uk by 30 November 2009
• 14 filmmakers will be selected from the 42 to travel to The Islands of The Bahamas and make a short film on one of the stunning islands during February 2010 (Challengers must ensure they are free to travel from 26 January 2010)
• Open to residents of Great Britain only


Bharat Nalluri, Director

Bharat is an Indian-born, British-based director who made his first film on his father’s super-8 camera at the age of ten. Heavily influenced by the movies of his youth - Star Wars, Jaws, Alien - Bharat set out on a directing career.

From early beginnings in his home town of Newcastle, Bharat has worked on projects for Columbia, Miramax, Twentieth Century Fox, FilmFour, BBC, HBO, Disney and Focus Features to name but a few. His work has spanned a range of genres and skills from 2nd unit direction on Resident Evil and Alien V Predator, directing period comedy such as Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, to being the original director behind three of the BBCs biggest ongoing hits of recent years – Spooks, Hustle and Life On Mars - and directing the award-winning Tsunami: The Aftermath.

On the way his projects have garnered International EMMYs, BAFTAs and Golden Globe nominations amongst many others. He currently lives in London with his wife and baby boy.

Nik Powell, Director and Producer
Nik was appointed Director of the National Film and Television School in 2005, although he remains as non-executive chairman of Scala Productions. Nik was one of the co-founders of the Virgin Group and established Virgin Records in 1972 with Richard Branson.

In 1983, Powell and Stephen Woolley founded Palace Productions, which produced The Company of Wolves and the Oscar-nominated and award-winning Mona Lisa, which introduced Neil Jordan and Bob Hoskins to the international market. In 1992, Powell was the sole executive producer of Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game starring Stephen Rea, Miranda Richardson, and Forest Whitaker. This was one of the biggest British independent films at the box office taking over $65 million at the US box-office alone. The Crying Game was nominated for six Oscars, including ‘Best Picture.’

At Scala Productions, Nik has produced Fever Pitch starring Colin Firth, TwentyFourSeven, Last Orders and Ladies in Lavender, Charles Dance’s directorial debut, starring Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith and Miriam Margolis. Nik has also executive produced Calendar Girls, featuring Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, John Alderton and Annette Crosbie and Stoned (based on the Rolling Stone Brian Jones’ life and death written by Neal Purvis and Rob Wade of “The World Is Not Enough” fame) with Stephen Woolley directing.

Finola Dwyer, Producer

Finola is the Chair of the BAFTA Film Committee and a BATFA board member. Since re-locating to the UK from New Zealand in the early 90’s, Finola Dwyer’s producer credits include Iain Softley's award-winning debut Backbeat; Stephan Elliott's cult favourite Welcome to Woop Woop; Chris Menges' The Lost Son, starring Daniel Auteuil and Nastassja Kinski; Sandra Goldbacher's BAFTA-nominated Me Without You, starring Anna Friel and Michelle Williams; Antonia Bird's EMMY-nominated The Hamburg Cell; and Stephen Woolley's feature debut Stoned.

Finola produced the Golden Globe, EMMY-nominated and BAFTA-winning Tsunami: The Aftermath by Abi Morgan, for HBO/BBC, directed by Bharat Nalluri, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tim Roth, Sophie Okonedo and Toni Collette. She also executive produced Dean Spanley directed by Toa Fraser, starring Peter O’Toole, Sam Neill, Jeremy Northam and Bryan Brown.

Finola’s most recent production is An Education, written by best-selling author and screenwriter Nick Hornby and directed by Lone Scherfig (Italian For Beginners: Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself). The cast includes Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Olivia Williams, Emma Thompson and rising star Carey Mulligan. An Education had its world premiere at Sundance this year to wide critical acclaim, winning the Audience and Cinematography awards. An Education will be released in the US and UK in October.


For more information please contact:

The Media Foundry

Delia Elcock deliaelcock@themediafoundry.com 020 7612 1164
Anna Foster annafoster@themediafoundry.com 020 7612 1163
Nick Dudley-Williams nick@themediafoundry.com 020 7612 1158

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