[press release from Weber Shandwick]

Filmmaker, Laurie Hill has won the grand prize of £5,000 (AUD$12,000) after being announced as the winner of the 2008 Getty Images Short & Sweet Film Challenge.

Laurie Hill scooped the prize at an event held at the AKA Bar in Soho on Tuesday 25th November, where his short film entitled ‘Photograph of Jesus’ was screened to an audience of around 300 guests.

The challenge tasked budding filmmakers with using visual content from Getty Images’ vast collection of archival stills and footage, housed at the Hulton Archive in London, to produce a short film. The brief that the filmmakers received required them to create an original short film, with a minimum of 50% of the content coming from the Hulton Archive.

The challenge’s aim was to highlight the breadth and depth of content available at the Hulton Archive, which offers a unique resource to filmmakers and creatives alike. But rather than set a rigid brief, the challenge offered key words and phrases to inspire and guide the filmmakers’ creativity. Examples included ‘discover our past’, ‘images that shape our future’, ‘still & moving imagery’, ‘ordinary people, ordinary things’ and ‘extraordinary people, extraordinary things’.

The challenge’s judging panel included creative directors from some of the hottest advertising agencies, namely Bil Bungay, Creative Director at advertising agency Beattie McGuiness Bungay; Graham Fink, Creative Director at M&C Saatchi; Al MacCuish, Creative Director at Mother Vision; James Spence, Creative Director at the BBC and Eliza Williams, Senior Writer at Creative Review. Matthew Butson, Vice President of the Hulton Archive completed this formidable panel.

The entries were judged against the brief, which tasked the filmmakers with highlighting the breadth, diversity and depth of content available at the Hulton Archive. Foremost in the judge’s minds though was to treat these films and independent pieces of work, drawing inspiration from one of the world’s largest collections of imagery.

‘Photograph of Jesus’ is an animated documentary-fantasy based on stories of strange requests for impossible images. A door is opened into an imaginative universe where unruly images have a life of their own and enjoy mixing with their neighbours. The Hulton Archive becomes a surreal landscape where fact and fiction collide, and anything seems possible. The film uses a voiceover by Matt Butson, Vice President of the Hulton Archive.

Winner Laurie Hill said: “I was overwhelmed by the reaction my short film received in front of the Short & Sweet audience. After many sleepless nights and fascinating hours spent rummaging around in the Hulton Archive, I was extremely pleased with the end result and am grateful for all the positive comments from the judges. Winning this competition stands me in good steed for my future career as a filmmaker.”

Matt Butson, Vice President, Hulton Archive Getty Images said: “The Hulton Archive is a treasure trove of amazing content; it was wonderful to throw open the doors and see how these filmmakers could turn their creative ideas into a reality. With the largest source of archival imagery at their disposal, the only real limit was the filmmaker’s creativity. The shortlisted films were incredible and it was hard to pick a winner, but it was Laurie’s entry in the end that really stood out.”

Bil Bungay, Creative Director at advertising agency Beattie McGuiness Bungay said:“The high standard of all the films says a lot for the one that I saw as the clear winner; ‘Photo Of Jesus’. Firstly – it is an exquisite piece of animation, secondly – the engaging story line utterly nails the depth and breadth of the Getty Images archive and, with my ad man hat on for a moment – it’s hard to see how Getty Images could make a better, more representative film than this. But for me the most significant factor was that ‘Photo Of Jesus’ doesn’t merely use the Getty Images archive to interesting effect – it fundamentally needs the archive to bring its plot to life. You really couldn’t have told this story in any other way,”

Executive Producer, Basil Stephens, who ran the challenge for Getty Images said: "Julia Stephenson and I looked for the most interesting directors to put forward for this unique project. The filmmakers chosen have worked incredibly hard and I think the results of their labours speak for themselves.”

In addition to the grand prize winner, Big Red Button was awarded the runner up prize of £3,000 ($7,000) for their film entitled Perrington Stud, and Ian Mackinnon/ Dominic Parker and Jasmin Jodry were given honourable mentions and a prize of £1,000 ($2,000) each for their films entitled Long Jump and Star Games respectively.

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