Alexi Collins and Michael O’Neill win $10,000 each and a trip to Singapore for their winning short films
Optus has today announced the winners of its short film competition ‘Connect5’; Save.My.Soul by Alexi Collins and Joshua Heaton, and Just For A Moment by Michael O’Neill. Both were standout five minute films that encapsulated how lives change for the better when people reach out and connect with each other.
The aspiring filmmakers were selected from entries submitted from across Australia by a panel of Optus executives and industry experts including filmmaker, Genevieve Clay-Smith. The lucky winners have each collected $10,000 in prize money and a trip with a friend to Singapore to compete in the regional finals in November.
Save.My.Soul is a moving silent film about a lonely man stranded on a deserted island who strikes up a relationship via messages in bottles. The film was created with just one actor, one location and two filmmakers.
Just For A Moment tells the story of a young adult who seeks to reconnect with his home, past life and younger brother, through a late night soccer match. All that stands in his way is the physical distance between them, a faulty fuse and password protected Wi-Fi.
In November, both filmmakers will go head to head with other winners from Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand, for the chance to win a further US$30,000 as the grand prize, or US$15,000 as the runner-up. Additional prizes of US$3,000 and US$2,000 will be awarded to the winner and runner-up of a regional ‘people’s choice’ competition, which will be voted for by the general public.
Speaking about his film Save.My.Soul, Alexi said, “Working with my partner Joshua Heaton on this film was a fantastic experience. It’s the first film where we’ve ever created content together, and it was a totally grassroots project.”
“I’m very grateful to Optus for this opportunity. Filmmakers across Australia are some of the most talented creatives in the world and having Optus provide a platform that can help showcase this talent is a huge boost to the industry,” he added.
Michael O’Neill is thrilled to be one of the winners of the competition saying that it has opened up new doors for his career.
“The theme ‘Connecting Lives’ is such a great concept and it was great to expand this theme with my film Just For A Moment. I wanted the audience to be able to connect with the common feeling of longing for the simpler times of our childhood and the familiar memories that stay with us as we grow up,” said Michael.
“Thank you Optus for the opportunity and, more importantly, for supporting our grassroots filmmaking community,” he said.
Filmmaker and judge, Genevieve Clay-Smith was amazed at the quality of entries this year; “Both films stood out to me because of their genuine authenticity. Though they approached the theme of ‘Connecting Lives’ in different ways, both films were highly memorable and connected with the audience on an emotional level.
“Film is such a powerful way to connect people’s stories and the winners have proved that through their moving interpretations of ‘Connecting Lives’. I’m honoured to have been one of the judges with Optus and am thrilled to see our filmmaking community continue to grow with support from passionate companies like Optus.”
Optus supports new content creators by providing funding to talented grassroots filmmakers. For more information about the annual Optus Connect5 short film competition visit optus.com.au/connect5.
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