Empire Done in 60 seconds 2013“If you’re directing a film, putting a film together, a series of choices: a hundred choices, two hundred, three hundred get made along the way, an every single decision is made with your particular taste, and your particular vision.” Tom Hiddleston explains, “even though it’s only 60 seconds long, you get a sense of someone’s taste, which is completely different from person to person, and is why cinema continues to be interesting, because it isn’t made in a factory, it’s made from someone’s heart and head.”

Hiddleston chairs the panel of judges for the Jameson Empire Done in 60 Seconds contest, the winner of which will be announced later this evening. Over the last few years, competition, which runs as part of the Jameson Empire Awards, has gone from being a showcase for some obscenely funny parodies of cult films, to something quite special.

This year’s contest, which has entrants from all over the globe, offers a selection of incredibly well made and interesting short films that do far more than just summarise their subject matter, and as Hiddleston puts it, “Even with these small films you get a sense of how they see the world, whether it’s really silly and dry and subversive, or epic and deep. Which is why we can talk about them as if they’re bigger than 60 seconds of assembly.”

That global nature of the contest means that Hiddleston and his fellow judges are picking from a truly diverse selection of shorts, “What it seems to me is that the English stuff is really dry and funny, and they’ve just gone for stupid, and you get a real sense of the English sense of humour, whereas there’s a Russian one that just feels incredibly epic, and it’s only 60 seconds.”

The ‘Russian one’ Hiddleston is talking about is a film called Red H, by Andrey Dzhunkovskiy, one of the five finalists, “They’ve gone for big music,” Hiddleston continues, “ the score is, I think, a Clint Mansell score from Requiem for a Dream, and it’s a mash up of Memento, except it’s sort of a post-modern note on film making, because he started out trying to find Red Riding Hood, and it turns out he’s the character from Memento”

Alongside Red H are delightfully deranged remakes of Argo, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Twilight, as well as an animated reimagining of Blade Runner, as a 30s-set noir thriller that Hiddleston describes as “really accomplished” and “really beautifully made”.

The quality of the entries means that Hiddleston and his fellow judges will no doubt have a difficult time deciding on which movie to honour, but win or lose it’s still great exposure for those involved, as Hiddleston puts it, “When you want to make films, or be in the game, you’re knocking on all the doors, and they remain closed. And so to have a chance to show your work, it’s a great motivator, you think, ‘OK, I can make this’. There are so many films out there that never see the light of day, because that person who could pick it up and send it out just doesn’t see it, so it’s great to be able to support that”

The winner of the competition will be announced this evening at the Jameson Empire Awards. You can check out the final five, along with all the other shortlisted entries on the Jameson Empire YouTube Channel.