If you’ve ever wanted to make something Unreal, Epic Games and the various State and Territory screen development entities have something you’ll want to get involved with.
Epic Games – best known for being the owners of Fortnite and giving everyone free games via the Epic Games Store – have partnered with Film Victoria, Screen NSW, Screen Tasmania, Screen Queensland, Screenwest, Screen Territory and the South Australian Film Corporation to launch an Australia-wide short film competition.
The Unreal Engine Real-Time Short Film Challenge encourages creators at all stages of their career to produce their own short film using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine.
The engine is hugely popular for gaming purposes, and has been used to make countless games including The Outer Worlds, Days Gone, We Happy Few and Mortal Kombat 11.
Unreal Engine isn’t just for making games, though, and has recently come to the attention of filmmakers, animators and visual effects wizards around the world – Industrial Light & Magic reportedly worked with Epic Games’ tools to create the virtual environments the Disney+ streaming series Star Wars: The Mandalorian.
According to the official announcement from Film Victoria:
Applicants do not need to be an expert coder or a technical wizard to get involved. To ease creators into the world of real-time technology, Epic Games is running a series of free training sessions for creators including screen writers and producers to learn about the Unreal Engine software over two weeks, from 10 August 2020.
“There is an abundance of incredible creative work coming out of Australia and we’re thrilled to partner in this initiative to support exceptional talent,” Epic Games LA Lab head Connie Kennedy said.
“The Unreal Engine Real-Time Short Film Challenge will not only help discover new storytellers, but also provide free training to encourage the use of collaborative virtual production techniques that open new doors, particularly in this era of physically-distanced production requirements.”
The Film Victoria announcement continued:
Following the free Unreal Engine training program, participants are encouraged to submit a pitch for a short film using the engine. Each state’s winning candidate will receive $20,000 to develop and produce their short film. Finalists will have their shorts judged, with the winner taking home a grand prize of $50,000.
The background briefing document from Film Victoria says the judges are looking for “strong and distinct ideas that make innovative use of the Unreal Engine possibilities”
The entry process is this:
- Create a pitch for a short film that is maximum five minutes in length using Unreal Engine and enter by submitting it to the relevant state screen agency
- Pitches need to be submitted to the state screen agencies by Monday 31 August 2020
- The best entries will be shortlisted and a final winner will be chosen for each state
- The state winners will have six weeks to produce their short films using Unreal Engine software
- The completed short films will then compete against projects from the other states for a Grand Prize of A$50,000, to be judged and awarded by Epic Games.
To register for Epic Games’ free Unreal Engine training program and find out more about the challenge, visit https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/events/unreal-short-film-challenge-australia