Virgin Media Shorts film posters

For this year’s Virgin Media Shorts contest for up-and-coming filmmakers, Creative Review commissioned illustrators from the Handsome Frank agency to create a poster for each shortlisted film

For this year’s Virgin Media Shorts contest for up-and-coming filmmakers, Creative Review commissioned illustrators from the Handsome Frank agency to create a poster for each shortlisted film

Since 2008, Virgin Media Shorts has been giving up-and-coming filmmakers a platform to show their work not just to leading figures in the industry but also to the general public. Each year, filmmakers are invited to upload two minute 20 second short films to the VMS website. Shortlisted films are shown across the Picturehouse network and other independent cinemas around the UK for a year.

In addition the films are also shown on Virgin Media’s on-demand service and its Shorts TiVo and iPhone apps.

This year’s panel of judges, including actor Julie Walters and director Phyllida Law, will choose one overall winner who will receive £30,000 to make their next film plus mentoring from the British Film Institute. The winner will be announced at an awards night at the BFI Southbank in London on November 8.

For this year’s competition, Creative Review thought it would be an interesting idea to give each of the shortlisted films its very own poster. We teamed up with illustration agency Handsome Frank to commission posters inspired by each one. The illustrators were given free rein to create their posters in whatever medium or style they saw fit having first watched their chosen film and, if they wished, spoken with the director.

Alexandra Bruel’s poster is for A Brush With A Bee, directed by Joachim Malan and Katie Parnell, an animated film in which a struggling painter does battle with a bee to protect his final masterpiece from the insect’s tiny hands.


Bruel works in modelling clay, creating beautifully-textured surfaces which are photographed toproduce the final image. These work in progress shots show how the final poster was developed.

The poster for Little Larry, directed by Andrew Lee Potts, was created by Andrew Joyce. The film relates the tale of a mid-20s, professional, single man who still feels like a child inside.


Here are some of Joyce’s initial sketches and roughs for the poster


Jennifer Sheridan’s Rocket features a small dog with big dreams – like building a spaceship in its front room. Poster by Helen Musselwhite in her trademark cut-paper style.


And here are some of Musselwhite’s initial roughs, working in felt-tip until the final design is traced to make templates for the cut paper.


The other posters in the set are as follows:

Andrew Joyce illustrated the poster for Super Fast Samosa, the story of the gingerbread man reimagined Bollywood style by director Sundeep Toor.


Dan Castella’s Mourning Rules features June, a professional mourner, who attempts to teach her sister Izzy the tricks of the trade. Andrew Lyons created the accompanying poster


In Man Up, directed by Carolina Giammetta,  three men sneak off to the pub to discuss their ploys for ‘handling’ women. Emma Kelly designed the poster.


In Amanda Boyle’s film, Skirt, a modern day Odd Couple first annoy, then charm each other in a tale of opposites, with a poster illustrated by Jeffrey Bowman.


Jonathan Burton designed the poster for The Best Medicine, directed by Dan Smith. A sinister chemist helps a girl deal with her annoying laugh. Or not.


Not with a bang but a whimper, Thomas Guerrier’s The Plotters tells the tale of the Gunpowder Plot as might have been. Matt Murphy illustrated the poster.


Sarah Maycock created the poster for Without Saying, directed by Paul Dingwall, in her trademark watercolour style. The film is a touching tale of a boy struggling to express his love.


Alice Seabright’s Dream Girl features an unexpected encounter on an early morning journey on the Paris Metro. Poster by Stephen Cheetham.


Sprockett, directed by Hazel Meeks, tells the story of a group of kids who dare one of them to go inside the workshop of Old Man Sprockett. Design: Tim McDonagh.

See more of all the featured illustrators’ work at the Handsome Frank site.

In addition to the 12 shortlisted films, this year Virgin Media Shorts has added a ‘Lucky 13th’ to the shortlist – PJ, Tiny Planet Explorer, which is the film that has been shared online the most.

Virgin Media Shorts is running a competition to design a poster for this Lucky 13th film, the winner of which will receive an iPad and have their poster displayed in Picturehouse cinemas around the UK. Details of the competition are here. Entrants are asked to tweet a link to their design using the hashtag #VMShortsPoster. Deadline: October 15.

See all the shortlisted films and vote for the People’s Choice Award here



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