Jameson Irish Whiskey has announced the three winners of Trigger Street Presents Jameson First Shot, a new international short film competition designed to uncover up-and-coming film talent from South Africa, Russia and the USA.
Alan Shelley from South Africa and the respective winners from USA and Russia beat over 700 budding screenwriters and directors from across the three countries. Trigger Street, with its judging panel of industry experts, produced a shortlist of 20 entries. After completing a rigorous second stage selection process to showcase their creativity and directing skills, the winning three were chosen.
Twenty-six-year-old Alan Shelley from Cape Town majored in directing and as a student won several awards for his films. He has worked as a writer, director, editor and visual effects supervisor on a locally produced independent mini-series. His winning script, Spirit of a Denture, tells the story of a workaholic dentist who gets a visit from a disruptive pirate.
Each winner will now fly to Los Angeles to shoot their script and direct Kevin Spacey, all with the backing of his award-winning production company, Trigger Street Productions.
Spacey commented: “We were impressed with the calibre of many of the entries, but the three winners stood out; they listened to the advice we gave and as a result delivered some well-constructed, clever stories that grabbed our interest. It’s great to be able to discover this level of talent and we’re really excited to see what they will each bring to the shoot.’
No film is complete without a closing party to celebrate, so once the films are “in the can’, there will be a premiere in each of the winners’ home cities with Spacey and the winner attending as guests of honour.
Seth Pereira, brand manager for Jameson South Africa commented: “A total of 276 scripts were entered by passionate scriptwriters and directors in South Africa. The expert panel in Trigger Street including President Dana Brunetti (producer of the Oscar Winning film The Social Network) had a great task in whittling the scripts down to a strong short-list. Our South African short-list then had to submit additional work to demonstrate their creativity and directing skills. Alan Shelley from Cape Town was then chosen as the ultimate South African winner from this short-list by Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti.
“We have no doubt that this will be Alan’s launch pad to furthering his career in the film industry not only here in South Africa, but hopefully abroad too. We look forward to showcasing his film at the premiere in Johannesburg and hosting him and Kevin Spacey as our distinguished guests.’
Said Shelley: “I would firstly like to thank everyone at Trigger Street and Jameson, I feel honored that my script and I were chosen, it is a great privilege. My first reaction was shock and then denial. I couldn’t quite believe it. Competitions are for other people to win; not yourself. I’m still trying to get used to the idea. I’m most excited about meeting new people, people I can learn from. I can’t wait to see America and of course meet Mr. Spacey.”
Howard Southern, international marketing director, Jameson Irish Whiskey concluded: “We were delighted with the level of participation to the competition. To be able to give up-and-coming screenwriters and directors a shot at their big break, as well as giving them the chance to work with a Hollywood legend like Kevin Spacey is a fantastic opportunity. It serves to show Jameson’s commitment to film and our support for new talent in the industry. We are really looking forward to rolling out the “green carpet’ in Moscow, Johannesburg and New York for the premieres in the coming months.’