13 lucky nominees had the opportunity to see their short film on the immense screen in front of a packed house and judges consisting of Shane Meadows, David Tennant and Mat Whitecross. However, and despite the incredibly array of talent on show – with a diverse range of short films that would make the audience laugh and cry in equal measure, there could only be one winner – and this year the fortunate recipient of the grand prize was Nimer Rashed, for his touching effort Touch.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever win,” Rashed said. “Especially this year, because I follow this competition as a filmmakers very closely every year, and this year in particular there were some really great finalists. Everyone always says that, but it’s true. I’m not sure I’ve entirely processed what it means yet, but honestly it’s very exciting. I’ve wanted to make films for a very long time, and I have been making films, but this feels like a massive boost of adrenaline.”
Touch is a poignant reflection of the love shared between two people across a lifetime, emphasising on the small moments they share between touch, be it kissing, or proposing or carrying their new born child. It also cost nothing to make, and Rashed explains how he got around that – by doing it all himself.
“I have lots of filmmaking heroes, but one of them is Steven Soderbergh, who I love for the fact that he shoots and edits himself. I think the Coen Brothers do that as well to an extent, but so often we get carried away by the roles, you know, he’s a director, he’s an editor, she’s a cinematographer… but actually it’s all storytelling,” he said. “More and more, because equipment is so affordable, you can learn this. I’m not an editor per se, but I learnt how to edit. I’m not a cameraman per se, but I know how to shoot. So why do I need to wait for 17 people to be part of my crew? I can just go ahead myself.”
That all being said, Rashed now the rare chance to work with his prize winning fund of £30k, to be put towards his next project, which he admits he is excited about getting started on, not to mention the fact he will also receive mentoring and support from the BFI Film Fund. “I’m working on an idea, with money and the guidance of people who can help.
“Having people who know what they’re doing to help me make a decent idea better is going to be very exciting and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m on the right path, I need to keep doing what I’m doing and improving.”
To top off what was a incredibly enjoyable occasion and celebration of all things cinema – Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker took to the stage to provide a memorable DJ set. As winner Rashed said himself, “What’s next? I’m going to get very drunk.” Well, let’s just say he wasn’t the only one.
To watch the winning shorts, visit Virgin Media Shorts website, or alternatively, view our break down on the nominations here.