The international short film competition that gives the biggest breaks to up-and-coming film talent has named Hanneke Schutte from South Africa, Anton Lanshakov from Russia and Shirlyn Wong from the US as this year’s winners. Having fought off stiff competition from hundreds of other talented screenwriters and directors, Schutte, Lanshakov and Wong will now go on to direct two-time Academy Award nominee, Willem Dafoe in their short film, all with the backing of award-winning production company, Trigger Street Productions.
Having reviewed the hundreds of scripts entered this year, Kevin Spacey and Trigger Street produced a shortlist of 20 to progress to the rigorous second stage of judging. Once the shortlisted contestants showcased their creativity and directing skills, the winning three were chosen and notified via a personal Skype call from the competition’s Creative Director, Kevin Spacey, President of Trigger Street Productions, Dana Brunetti and Jameson First Shot Producer, Carter Swan.
You can see the reactions as each of the finalists were told by Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti they had won below.
South Africa: Hanneke Schutte is a writer/director from Johannesburg. Having previously had her work shown at Durban International Film Festival, her winning script, PING PONG WITH MR YONG tells the story of a hypochondriac ex ping pong player who never got over missing a major tournament final because of a cold.
Russia: Anton Lanshakov is a graduate of the Humanitarian Institute of Television & Radio Broadcasting in Moscow. Currently working as a writer, director and producer his winning script, THE SMILE-MAN focuses on a gentleman dealing with the consequences of a car accident, which has left him with a spinal injury that means he has a permanent smile on his face.
USA: Shirlyn Wong from New York is an M.F.A. graduate film candidate from New York University Tisch School of the Arts Asia. During her film school career she has won awards from Singapore Short Film Awards and First Run Film Festival. Her script, LOVE’S ROUTINE is a dark comedy about a discordant elderly couple, who ultimately prove that love is greater than flesh and blood.
Kevin Spacey, Creative Director of Jameson First Shot said of the entries: “After last year’s three outstanding winners, expectations were naturally very high for the second year. The entries for Jameson First Shot 2013 were of an exceptional standard and I have no doubt that the three winners we have chosen will each make an incredible and unique short film. I’m sure Willem Dafoe is going to enjoy the three roles immensely and we are all looking forward to getting production started in LA.”
Having racked up more than 5.6million YouTube views between them, last year’s winners have already found that the competition has opened industry doors for them. Alan Shelley, last year’s South African winner commented: “Jameson First Shot is the best filmmaking competition with the best prize I can think of – it gives you an incredible experience and an opportunity to learn. I will be returning to LA in the coming months and I now have people I can call whereas before the competition I knew no one; I have met people in circles I would have never dreamed of meeting before First Shot. Right now I’m working on creative projects with budgets – that was never the case before winning Jameson First Shot.”
Aleksey Nuzhny, last year’s Russian winner commented: “There is no better start for the career of a young filmmaker than opportunity to participate in Jameson First Shot. Since I shot my movie, both my confidence and my career have developed immeasurably. Today I am working with the best producers in the film industry. Kevin Spacey said to me while we were on set last year: ‘I want to see your feature-length film at a festival one day’. These words and the competition continue to inspire me every single day.”
Benjamin Leavitt, last year’s US winner commented: “Since winning Jameson First Shot I’ve developed some feature film ideas, finished writing a TV pilot and directed several commercial spots. These doors were opened as a direct result of the competition – a short film starring Kevin Spacey tends to get people’s attention. My plan is to keep my foot on the pedal, continue writing and directing as much as I can, and ideally get a feature off the ground in near future.”
The 2013 winners will fly to LA in two weeks’ time to begin production on their short films with the expertise of Kevin Spacey and his award-winning production company, Trigger Street Productions behind them. Jameson will once again be hosting premieres when production has wrapped to ensure each winner gets to celebrate their achievement as well as getting the chance promote their winning short film.