BAFTA award-winning director and screenwriter Shane Meadows is somewhat of a British institution. He’s famed for capturing the ‘kitchen sink realism’ of British life, predominantly in and around the Midlands, using his own experiences of growing up in Uttoxeter as inspiration for many of his films.
A self-taught filmmaker, Shane began experimenting with short films in 1994 before focusing more on feature films. The years that following he directed Twenty Four Seven, A Room for Romeo Brass, Once Upon a Time in the Midlands and Dead Man’s Shoes.
In 2007, Shane’s film This Is England won the BAFTA for Best British Film and a BIFA for Best Film. The biggest film of his career, it has spawned two spin-off TV series This is England ’86 and This is England ’88.
Shane’s latest film, Made of Stone, a documentary about British rock band, The Stone Roses will be released in May.
Commenting on Virgin Media Shorts, Shane said “Short film has always been very close to my heart. It’s how I learnt my trade and what has ultimately shaped what I make today. I can’t wait to see this year’s entries and wish good luck to everyone entering.”
We couldn’t be more pleased to have him on this year’s judging panel.
Young British film maker Mat started out making movies in his bedroom at 13. By the time he reached university to study English, he was directing Coldplay’s first music video, Bigger Stronger.
In 2010 Mat made his feature film debut with Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. Starring Andy Serkis, the film was nominated for two BAFTAs and a BIFA.
Mat has also directed several hard-hitting documentaries, including Moving to Mars about Burmese refugees, and The Road to Guantanamo, which he co-directed with the award winning Michael Winterbottom.
In 2005, he directed short film Job Street about exploited immigrant workers, which was screened at the London Film Festival and shortlisted for the Turner Classic Shorts Prize. In 2012, Mat shot feature film Ashes, a thriller starring Ray Winstone, Jodie Whittaker and Jim Sturgess and was part-financed by Coldplay. His latest film, Spike Island, the story of five friends travelling to the famous 1990 Stone Roses gig, will be released on June 21 this year.
James is a film critic and presenter of The Movie Show on ITV2, the weekly programme reviewing the latest cinema and DVD releases alongside news and interviews. Until recently, James was the voice of film on Radio 1, reviewing the latest movies with Greg James in the week and Edith Bowman at weekends.
James has also appeared as the resident movie expert on Sky One's "Angela and Friends". and presented the Early Breakfast show, Bank Holiday soundtrack specials and several all-night Oscar programmes. His work on Radio 1 was nominated for a prestigious Sony Award in 2004.
James can often be seen talking cinema on ITV1's London Tonight. He is also a regular face on film documentaries, including The 100 Greatest Films. James has appeared as a film expert on shows as varied as Richard & Judy (C4), The Daily Politics (BBC2) and BBC Breakfast News (BBC1).
Jason WingardJason is a two-time Virgin Media Shorts shortlisted filmmaker. He was our 2011 Grand Prize Winner for his excellent sci-fi thriller, 2:20. And In 2010, Jason, along with his co-director, Gino Evans, walked away with the People's Choice Award for his quirky film, Bus Baby.
Since picking up his prize, Jason has been hard at work with BBC Comedy North, creating six pilot and non-broadcast shows working with the likes of Warwick Davis and comedians Tom Binns and Henning When.
He's recently turned his attention back to short films, and with the help of the BFI, his latest short,Going to Mecca is in pre-production. A short comedy, the film tells the story of two brothers, one of which is half Asian who, upon the death of their father, decide to travel to Blackpool to find their Asian roots. Busy scouting for locations, Jason hopes to start shooting this spring.
John Wright - Nikon Ambassador
John Wright is one of the UK’s leading fashion, portrait and advertising photographers. His award winning images are the product of his varied career working regularly with major editorial, fashion and advertising clients. As the digital era evolves, John moves with the industry which lately has witnessed him direct and produce sophisticated fashion films commissioned by international elite clients. John’s success reflects on his consistency in creating engaging and exceptional work which ranges from fashion editorials, celebrity portraits and stylish films.
Cindy Rose is Executive Director of Digital Entertainment at Virgin Media. She leads Virgin Media's strategy for bringing the very best entertainment to consumers across multiple platforms including development of Virgin Media's award-winning digital platform and market-leading TV on demand service.
Over the past 15 years, Cindy has enjoyed a highly successful career with Disney, most recently as SVP & Managing Director, Disney Interactive Media Group (EMEA). While there she also held the position of SVP & Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company (UK & Ireland) and was responsible for leading the company's efforts and significantly growing the company's presence in the UK. Prior to joining Disney, Cindy qualified as both a US attorney and a UK solicitor, and worked in law firms in both countries. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Political Science, and has a post-graduate doctorate in law from New York Law School.