Virgin Media has launched Virgin Media Discovers, a short film competition to discover and support the very best filmmakers in Ireland.

Ireland’s creative industry is an economic and cultural powerhouse. This competition will ensure we continue to develop the filmmaking talent of the future, rewarding them for their creative content and encouraging their ambition to compete on the global stage.

Entrants are invited to submit scripts by Friday 26th July for a proposed 10-minute short film which, if chosen, will feature in next year’s Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival schedule, alongside other local and international filmmakers, and will debut on national television on Virgin Media Television. The winner will also receive €35,000 from Virgin Media and a TV production crew to support them in making their short film.

Virgin Media wants Ireland to stay a frontrunner in the film sector where people at home and around the world can enjoy Ireland’s world-class artistic and cultural output.

The judging panel comprises of film industry experts: actor Adrian Dunbar, Director Neasa Hardiman, Gráinne Humphreys, Festival Director of Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival; Bill Malone, Director of Content at Virgin Media Television and Birch Hamilton, Director of the Screen Directors Guild.

Adrian Dunbar, the BAFTA-nominated actor best known for Blood (2019), The Crying Game and Line of Duty said: “This is a fantastic opportunity and it’s great to see Virgin Media playing a leading role supporting creative work which is crucial to a thriving production industry in Ireland and abroad. We’re looking for innovative, fearless filmmakers to submit clever and thought-provoking scripts. The Virgin Media Discovers entries could be about lifestyle, relationships, goals, social problems, oddities or just a new way of looking at something we already know about. Whatever your point of difference is, we’d like to hear about it. The film duration must be no longer than ten minutes so it’s tight! A shortlist will take place at the beginning of August and the winning film will go into production in September 2019.”

Neasa Hardiman has carved out a global career in film and television drama, and was awarded a BAFTA in 2017 for Happy Valley, as well as in 2010 for Tracy Beaker Returns. She commented, “This competition encourages emerging Irish filmmakers to share their most original, thought-provoking and challenging work. Our industry has become increasingly global, and there’s plenty of opportunity for Irish film makers to find an international platform for their work, if we support them in their early endeavours. I look forward to collaborating with my fellow judges to celebrate great Irish screen storytelling.”

Gráinne Humphreys, Director of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival added, “We had a massive success at this year’s Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival. For such a small country, we really punch way above our weight by producing world renowned films supported by a massive pool of terrific writers, actors and directors. The Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition is searching for fresh and fearless filmmakers. It is something I would encourage anyone who wants to get their name and work noticed to enter. I’m delighted that we will be including the short film as part of our schedule in next year’s Festival.”

Birch Hamilton, Executive Director of the Screen Directors Guild said, “Supporting talent is key to the continued growth of the Irish audio-visual sector. Virgin Media Television is growing the talent pool in Ireland - in particular through its drama series productions - and I hope this new competition from Virgin Media will make an impact in the development of filmmakers at an early stage.”

Bill Malone, Director of Content at Virgin Media Television, said, “Virgin Media is taking a strategic approach towards the creative industries as a key driver of economic growth. We want to challenge, inspire, and generate conversation. This is only the beginning, we want to build on this first step and make the competition even more ambitious over time. That’s what lies at the heart of this competition. We see so much potential in this sector where our creative industries show our country at its best and we’re looking forward to seeing what our entrants will submit.”

For more information visit www.virginmedia.ie/discovers