Oscar Sharp Gets The Gong
Virgin Shorts Winner Oscar Sharp

After twelve elite films were selected from 1600 entries, there could be just one winner of Virgin Media Shorts 2010 Grand Prize held at the UK ’s home of cinema, the BFI Southbank. And that winner turned out to be the aptly named Oscar Sharp who directed Sign Language, a short film looking at distant, unspoken love amongst a group of London sign-holders (you know, the guys who valiantly direct you to the nearest golf sale).

Although Sign Language was a deserved winner (as demonstrated by the audience’s collective “oohs and aahs” at its romantic finale), it faced a tough field of competitors which hints at a glowing future for both the short film medium and the imminent future of British cinema. Most prominently, the People’s Choice award went to Gino Evans and Jason Wingard’s Bus Baby, which featured a teenage mother facing her hopes and fears in an imaginary conversation with her prematurely speaking baby who disturbingly shared an accent with This is England ’s fearsome Combo.

Elsewhere, Blind Luck encapsulated comedy, morality and despair in its brilliantly simple tale of a blind man’s trip to buy a scratch card, Superbob followed Peckham’s unlikely superhero on a day’s escapades, and The Boot Sale examined one man’s flashbacks to a doomed romance as he attempted to flog the relationship’s remaining material artefacts.

All twelve finalists delivered captivating films that conveyed a huge range of emotions and issues in their specified two minute and twenty second running time. Indeed, the challenge was to create something both succinct and special. “Obviously, the helicopter sequences had to go – all four of them,” deadpanned Pickle director Nate Camponi.

Oscar Sharp’s prize certainly bodes well for his cinematic future. Not only will Sign Language show at over 200 cinemas across the UK, but he also earned £30,000 funding towards his next project as well as the expert assistance of the UK Film Council (whose representative Chris Collins earned a supportive round of applause) and Virgin Media.

And what better way to conclude a night of killer shorts? A DJ set from La Roux kept revellers, judges and film fans alike entertained, including Clash’s ever lovely Girls on Film fashion shoot stars Jaime Winstone and Ophelia Lovibond, Moon director Duncan Jones, Radio 1 film critic James King, young judge competition winner Ebun Soyinka (go Medway!) and Four Weddings and a Funeral helmer Mike Newell.

The future’s bright… the future’s short!


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