Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition Winners Announced

STRICT EMBARGO- 9pm Sunday 14th March, 2021


The two winning projects, ‘Punch Line’ and ‘Water Under The Bridge’ will share the €60,000 prize fund


Sunday, March 14th: The winners of the Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition in association with Screen Ireland have been announced on a special episode of Virgin Media Television’s Box Office show on March 14th. Talented young filmmakers Allie O’Rourke and Becky Cheatle with their project ‘Punch Line’ and Rehan Ali with his project ‘Water Under The Bridge’ will share the prize fund of €60,000.


Based on true events, ‘Punch Line’ tells the story of how a transgender female stand-up comedian reframes a transphobic attack she experiences during the day in her routine that evening. The story explores diversity and inclusion from the perspective of a trans woman who is the victim of repeated assaults, physical and verbal but she owns the experience in a way that she triumphs over it.


‘Water Under The Bridge’ tells a coming of age story about a character who is traumatised by the loss of his father and experience as a refugee, told by someone who lived in a Direct Provision centre from the age of six to 16. While the film will explore diversity and inclusion from a race perspective it also deals with themes of being gay and mental health.


Both winners took part in a pitching competition against eight other finalists with a judging panel that was made up of award-winning director and screenwriter Lenny Abrahamson, known for directing such acclaimed independent films as Adam & Paul; 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, Grainne Humphries, Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival; Andrew Byrne, TV Project Manager, Screen Ireland and Bill Malone, Director of Content, Virgin Media Television.


The judges recognised the two projects for “their visionary storytelling and how they both address the theme of the competition to ‘discover different’. The stories being portrayed in both projects are more important than ever and need to be told.”


Both ‘Punch Line’ and ‘Water Under The Bridge’ will premiere on Virgin Media Television and on Virgin Media’s On Demand platform and a preview screening in conjunction with the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival later in the year. The competition was supported in association with Screen Ireland.