Bill Bennett’s picSeeder short film comp launches

Australian filmmaker Bill Bennett has launched an online short film competition offering up to $50,000 prize money.

picSeeder has attracted a respected international panel of judges comprised of French financier and producer Jean Charles Levy, US sales agent Robbie Little, US manager Stephen Gates, Indian producer/assistant director Udayan Baijal, and actor Michelle Ang.

Public funding for short films has fallen in recent years as the focus has shifted to supporting features, TV, and digital media although crowdfunding and lower digital production costs has helped offset the decline.

Bennett said he hopes the picSeeder competition will present an alternative source of financing, "particularly for young filmmakers so they don't have to go cap in hand to the funding bodies."

In December, 2012, Screen Australia said it had spent its entire $42 million drama production budget in just six months although earlier this month it announced $40,000 in support of short musical comedy Emo (The Musical) through its Short Film Completion Fund. (It will have an extra funding round this financial year and is now accepting applications.)

The $50,000 picSeeder prize money (which is dependent on entries) is funded via a $28 entry fee. Entries open on February 9 and will initially be comprised of a 60-second pitch video. The twelve most popular pitches will be shortlisted, prompting a follow-up three-minute pitch. The judges will then select a winner, and two runners up: the winner gets the funds to make their film, the second and third placegetters receive film gear and software.

Bennett is a veteran of the Australian film industry and counts films such as Spider & Rose and Kiss or Kill among his long list of credits. His last film was the thriller Uninhabited in 2010. Defiant, which has Toni Collette attached, is currently being financed and is slated as his next project.

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