Student nominated for Virgin Media Shorts competition
A student from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) at Farnham has made the final shortlist of the UK's biggest short film competition, Virgin Media Shorts.
Third year BA (Hons) Digital Film & Screen Arts student PJ Liguori is one of 13 young filmmakers hoping to win the Grand Prize of £30,000 film funding.
PJ Liguori, who is 21 and from Peterborough, said: "It feels fantastic to be shortlisted. Just being part of something as prestigious as the Virgin Media shorts is a great experience, as well as being in a shortlist alongside so many other brilliant films."
His film PJ, Tiny Planet Explorer depicts a boy's sudden decision to leave home and find a new utopia among tiny planets all over the universe and was selected as the 'Lucky 13th' on the shortlist that was 'liked' and shared the most by film fans online.
The low budget short took one week to make and cost just £2, which went towards a pizza which appeared in one of the scenes.
PJ said: "The inspiration for my film came from an application on my phone that creates 360 panoramic stereographic images which I thought looked like tiny planets.
"I had a think about how this would translate into video and the idea was born. I'm always looking for innovative ways to make films, and it looked as if no one had really tried this before."
The Grand Prize will be judged by industry heavyweights including multi-award winning actress Julie Walters CBE and The Iron Lady director,Phyllida Lloyd CBE.
The People's Choice Award of £5,000 will go to the film which receives the most votes at virginmediashorts.co.uk, which means that film fans in Surrey and Peterborough have the chance to support PJ's film by casting their vote.
PJ said: "It'd be awesome if people in Farnham, at UCA and back home in Peterborough voted for my short film because I think it's a good example of what two guys can do with no budget and a wild imagination."
PJ's videomaking skills have already attracted a major fan base - his YouTube channel KickthePJ has received a phenomenal 8 million hits and more than 130,000 subscribers, which has led to him being recognised by strangers in Farnham and at UCA.
He explained: "It's an incredible thing to be known by hundreds of thousands of people for doing what I love.
"Being recognised when I'm out and about is a surreal thing and always catches me off guard because, when I'm not making videos I'm not in the mindset of KickthePJ, so it's always a pleasant surprise when a complete stranger knows who I am."
Now in its fifth year, Virgin Media Shorts gives film makers the opportunity to have their work showcased to millions of people across the country through cinemas nationwide, on TV (showcased in a new dedicated app on Virgin Media's next generation television service TiVo®), on mobile and online. A unique opportunity for those trying to break into such a notoriously competitive industry.
Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, said: "We are extremely proud of the launch pad Virgin Media Shorts provides for great British film makers, with so many over the past five years going on to achieve international success. One lucky winner will also pick up the TiVo Award, as voted for by Virgin Media TiVo customers. We can't wait to discover the next-generation of British film talent and I am sure that this year's shortlist will be no exception."
Watch and vote for PJ's film at www.virginmediashorts.co.uk.
For more information contact:
David Reilly, Press Officer, UCA
T: 01252 892939