Could you make a prize-winning war movie?

Damn This War! (Alfred Machin, 1914)
Damn The War! (Alfred Machin, 1914)

Film festivals, especially those that come with competitions attached, are a great way for beginner film-makers to get started on a career behind the camera. If there were a silent film blogging festival I would be on it like a car bonnet.

One particular event that may be of interest to Silent Londoners is the Imperial War Museum Short Film Festival. Why? First because the prizes are pretty impressive, and second because there is a special award for the best use of Imperial War Museum archive footage. There is a third reason, perhaps, which is that this year I am going to be one of the judges.

The IWM has a strong track record of promoting and restoring silent film material, from glossy productions like the DVD release of The Battle of the Somme (1916) to presenting packages of archive film at festivals such as The British Silent Film Festival. No doubt you are familiar with their work.

The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands (1927)
The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands (1927)

The deadline for entry to the festival is 30 September, so there is just about enough time to enter. Films must not be longer than 30 minutes each and the fee is precisely zero pence, so why not?

The science bit:

  • The festival will take place at IWM London in 2016 and will showcase imaginative and challenging films inspired by IWM’s collections and the course, cause and consequences of armed conflict.
  • The two categories for submission are Documentary and Creative Response and prizes will be awarded for the Best Documentary, Best Creative Response, Best Use of IWM Archive Material, Best Student Film and the Winner of the Audience Vote. Films should be 30 minutes or less and it’s free to enter.
  • Prizes include a Student Internship with October Films and £5,000 worth of archive and restoration work with Prime Focus.
  • The deadline is 30 September 2015. Details for entering can be found here.
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