48 Hour Challenge winners

At an event packed with filmmakers at the Stratford East Picturehouse last night (May 1), the winners of the fifth SCI-FI-LONDON 48 Hour Film Challenge were announced.

The competition, now one of the single largest of its kind in the world, took place on the weekend of 6-8 April. Over 300 teams throughout London, the UK and internationally took part in the challenge to make a five-minute short film utilising a randomly selected film title, prop and/or action, and line of dialogue, with an optional science theme curated by New Scientist Magazine. At the end of the 48 hours, 180 teams completed and submitted films. The festival programmers at SCI-FI-LONDON narrowed the films down to a short list of 10 films that went before a stellar jury made up of international filmmaker Guillermo del Toro; acclaimed actor Benedict Cumberbatch; Indian film director Dev Benegal; Hollywood producer Brad Wyman; Maria Reinup, Festival Director of Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival; and Annalee Newitz, editor-in-chief of io9.com.

Louis Savy, SCI-FI-LONDON Festival director, said, "Each year the quality of the films submitted increases, making it more difficult to draw up a short list. The intention of the competition, when we started it, was to encourage original, new British sci-fi, and over the five years we have been running the competition we have seen some truly world-class shorts produced, in two days and with no budget."

Gareth Edwards, who won the first Challenge in 2008, had his debut multiple award-winning feature film, Monsters, greenlit on the strength of his short, Factory Farmed. Gareth is now making the star-studded Godzilla for Legendary Pictures. Filmmaking team of Liam Garvo, James Heath and Andrew Harmer met on one of the 48 Hour Challenges and decided to make a feature film together. Following a very successful Kickstarter campaign, they have just completed principal photography on their post-apocalyptic comedy The Fitzroy.

The Challenge also attracted some quality acting talent amongst this year's entries, including Reiko Aylesworth (24), Rachel Shenton (Hollyoaks) and Brian Bovell (The Bill, Hollyoaks).

This year's Challenge was sponsored by Canon Cameras, , The Multiverse YouTube channel, and Camberwell Studios, who supplied the prizes, along with media support from New Scientist and Arc magazines.

The winning team was Lonely Light with their film Free Zone, directed by Clement Gharini, a stylish enigmatic piece about clones in a storage facility. The team won a first-look feature development deal with Vertigo Films, a Canon XA10 video camera, £1000 from The Multiverse and £1000 worth of studio time at Camberwell Studios. Second place went to The Crimson Guard for Falling Apart, directed by Thomas Hefferon and Troels J. Hundtofte; a nightmarish post-apocalyptic film set in a fallout shelter. They received a Canon HF G25 Camcorder and £500 from The Multiverse. Third place went to Team Stavro Mueller for Hightone, directed Oscar Sharp. He won £500 from the The Multiverse.

All the shortlisted films will be showing on The Multiverse Channel, where the best films from previous years' competitions can be seen.

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