The University of Sussex is looking for five film-makers to produce inspiring films to mark the university’s 50th anniversary. The competition, which opened on 22 November, is being held as part of a series of events the university is planning to celebrate its first fifty years. The plans will come into action over the next academic year, from 2011 to 2012.

Students will have the chance to compete for the top prize of £1000 to create what the university hopes will be “an exciting and original film.” The five finalists will each be given a cash prize, with £1000 for the overall winner. £500 will be received by the second place finalist, £250 for third place, and £125 for the two runners-up.

The five short films will be ten to 12 minutes in length. Budding film-makers will have the opportunity to see how popular their work is when students, alumni, current staff as well as former staff vote for their favourite film. The films will first be shown on campus on 10 and 11 September, during the 50th anniversary launch weekend. The university also intends to upload the five films onto its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/universityofsussex).

A public vote will be held until 30 September 2011 to decide the top prizes. After this, there will be a special ceremony where the winner will be announced in the first week of term (3-7 October 2011). Prior to the production of each film, as part of the first phase – ‘50 years in 50 words’- students will need to outline their proposal for a film in 50 words.

Assisting the university with the competition is Paul Vincent, a production tutor in Media and Film, who expressed his hopes “to get a good mix of entries and ideas- whether it’s drama, documentary, or something more leftfield. “As well as the prize money, successful students will benefit from professional training, great exposure and invaluable experience of budget control and project management.

“We’re really excited to see what people come up with.”

The five chosen will produce full project outlines for their films and the students will get training and help with budget. The outlines will include detailed budget breakdowns. They will work with a crew to be provided by the Department of Media and Film. The department will also coach the students throughout the process as well as offering training and equipment for the production of the five films.

Production of each film will begin at the start of the Easter vacation 2011. Submission of all the films will be in August to ensure that they are ready for the launch weekend in early September. The competition is part of the university’s “series of events and activities over the course of 2011 to 2012 that will recognise its past, celebrate the milestone of 50 years, and look to how it can play a significant role in the future of education and research.”

The deadline for the entries is 31 January 2011 and to enter students must e-mail their initial ideas to film50@sussex.ac.uk with their name, what they study and how the university can contact them. Entrants can have a team of five members. For more details, students can visit the  university’s 50th anniversary Facebook page or the 50 years webpages.

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