Judges announced for Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition

Lenny Abrahamson, Lisa McGee, Niamh Algar, Ursula Rani Sarma will adjudicate


Cillian Murphy encourages entries for the competition


The judges of the 2020 Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition, in association with Screen Ireland are announced today, Friday 13th November, 2020.


The panel of star judges include award-winning director and screenwriter Lenny Abrahamson, known for directing such acclaimed independent films as Adam & Paul, Garage, What Richard Did and Room; Derry Girls creator and screenwriter of The Deceived, Lisa McGee; Mullingar-born actor Niamh Algar who stars in Ridley Scott’s major new HBO Max series, Raised by Wolves; Screenwriter and Executive Producer Ursula Rani Sarma whose work includes Delicious and Red Rock, joined by representatives from Virgin Media Television, Screen Ireland and the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.


Welcoming the Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition Irish actor Cillian Murphy encourages new voices to get involved: “The Irish are known to be great storytellers, but what I really like about the Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition, is that it opens up so many opportunities for aspiring filmmakers, whether it’s your first time or propels you onto a national platform so that your story can educate, spark conversations, celebrate inclusiveness, and shine a light on the issues that shape our world.”


Now in its second year, the Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition is open to new, emerging and established filmmakers across drama, comedy, fiction, thriller, animation and so much more.  The competition is designed to recognise the contribution and impact that the TV and film production sector creates for our economy, society, culture and democracy.


Lenny Abrahamson said: "In the best of times it can be very tough for filmmakers to get their ideas realised and out in front of an audience. This year, as we battle through a global pandemic, the challenges are huge. That’s why I’m delighted that Virgin Media are stepping up to provide such a substantial set of awards. This competition will encourage, acknowledge and support creative filmmakers, while bringing new work to audiences and I’m so looking forward to working with this excellent group of judges as we read and discuss the submissions.”


Lisa McGee said: “I’m thrilled to be a part of the Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition for 2020 – it has been a tough year for our industry and I’m looking forward to helping highlight fresh Irish film making talent. I can’t wait to get my hands on the scripts.” 


Niamh Algar said: "I'm delighted and honoured to join this year's panel. Supporting filmmakers, their stories and the crew they hire is so important now more than ever. I started my career being part of some incredible emerging filmmakers’ first short films and whose subsequent story telling is now in full feature film format. Virgin Media’s Short Film Competition is a terrific platform to educate, advocate, entertain and inspire a broad range of work that deserves to be recognised." 


Ursula Rani Sarma said: “I’ve always believed that a country’s artistic output should reflect the full depth and breadth of its society.  As a mixed race artist, I’m thrilled that this year’s Virgin Medias Short Film Competition is seeking to encourage, recognise and celebrate the diverse talent of the Irish film industry. I’m honoured to be part of this wonderful project and very much look forward to being introduced to so many exciting voices.”