Filmmakers celebrated in Parliament’s answer to the Oscars!

The annual, cross-party, Film the House competition reached its conclusion last week with the awards ceremony taking place in the House of Commons.  

Film the House is a competition run by MPs to find the best filmmakers of tomorrow and each year showcases the work of the next generation of writers and directors from across the country. The competition is also designed to raise awareness of the importance of protecting intellectual property rights among creators, legislators and the public.

There were three categories this year, including Best Short Film Under-16, Best Short Film 16 and over, and Best Script.

Film the House invites young filmmakers to enter their original material to their MP for an initial review. A national industry judging panel from across the audio-visual sector then chooses the finalists and winners who are invited to parliament for the presentation of the winners’ awards.

The winners also receive prizes including private screenings of their work, mentoring from film industry professionals and work experience.  Over 40 MPs celebrated young filmmakers in their local area this year by putting forward entries.

The winners were given their awards by Lord Puttnam at a ceremony in which all winners and highly commended entrants were invited.

Winners were as follows:

  • Best Film Under-16 was awarded to thirteen-year-old Freya Hannan-Mills for her film Turning TidesInto Film Shorts named Turning Tides its Film of the Month in June last year, describing it as “a poignant portray of grief and friendship between two girls, aided by an evocative, piercing score, and some suitably grim weather”. In addition to acting and filmmaking, Freya wrote ‘Mushy Peas and Battered Bits’, a play performed by Jude Law at Hammersmith’s Lyric Theatre in September last year.
  • Best Film 16 or over was awarded to Ed Wiles for his film City Lights. City Lights is described by Film Shorts as “a romantic comedy about a night time security guard in a London office tower who finds a unique way to gain the attention of a cleaner in an opposite tower”. The film premiered at the LA Shorts Fest and has also been screened at a number of other international film festivals.
  • Best Script went to Sade Adeniran, for A Mother’s Journey. Sade explains that the film “tells the story of a woman going through postnatal depression” and seeks to “shed a little light on the darkness which can sometimes overshadow what should be a joyful time in a family’s life”.

Commenting on the winners, Lord PuttnamProducer of Chariots of FireThe Killing Fields said:


“The UK has always been a hotbed of cinematic talent, which is why it’s crucial to constantly remind legislators of the importance of protecting and supporting this rich vein of creativity. Film the House is a brilliant way of doing that and am delighted to see such a high calibre of winners and commendations this year.”

 The Rt Hon Sir Kevin Barron MP, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Film Group added:

 “I really hope that everyone who took part this year has felt inspired to follow their passion and forge a future career in the film and audio-visual industry.  The UK film sector is flourishing, contributing £4.6 billion to UK GDP whilst providing an amazing range of employment opportunities from carpenters to script writers and camera operators to marketeers, it really is a jewel in the crowing of our creative industries.

In addition to the winners, the following were highly commended:

Best film Over 16 

  • Gemma Addy for Jon, submitted by the Labour MP for Hackney, Diane Abbott. The film, shot over the course of one day on location at London’s New Cross Police Station, tells the story of an Irish inmate whose parole is threatened when he is just two weeks from being released.
  • Andrew Oldbury for War, submitted by the Conservative MP for Bolton West and Atherton, Chris Green. The film is about a clash between two rival gangs on a council estate, with a result no one could have predicted.
  • Sara Barbas for Final Call, submitted by the Labour MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones. Final Call is an animated 2D short film which Sara describes as “a love story about Catarina, who bumps into her old flame and ‘might have been’ lover, Diogo, at airport security”.
  • Nic Wassell for The Distant Sea, submitted by the Labour MP for Bermondsey and Southwark, Neil Coyle. Wassell describes The Distant Sea as “a weird fiction film set on the coastal hinterland of England, inspired by both classic authors like MR James and HP Lovecraft and films from Don’t Look Now to Under The Skin.”

Best Film Under 16

  • Charlotte North, Copyright Cops, submitted by the Labour MP for Barrow and Furness, John Woodcock. The film is about copyright cops going undercover to find out how copyright law is broken in the UK.

 About Film the House

 Film the House was set up by former MP and IP adviser to the Prime Minister, Mike Weatherley. The competition was set up to:

“Educate parliamentarians about the importance of the creative industries to the British economy and how, without protecting intellectual property, we are putting important industries and revenue streams in jeopardy.”

Film the House was launched as a fun way to educate parliamentarians and young people about the importance of the creative industries to the UK economy and the many ways in which we can nurture and protect our creative industries. Together with partner competition Rock the House, it is now one of Parliament’s largest competitions and is just one of a number of initiatives that is aimed at significantly raising awareness of the need to protect creativity and copyright by bringing together young filmmakers and parliamentarians.

Film the House is intended to invite and to showcase the ‘best’ film‐makers and scriptwriters across the UK – with particular emphasis on young participants and people who have not, yet, been noticed and realised their potential. It is also a way for participants to meet their local MP and to learn a little more about how ‘Parliament in Westminster’ works.

Film the House is being run by its industry sponsors which includes:

21st Century Fox, ALCS, Lionsgate, The Motion Picture Association, NBC Universal, Sky, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Viacom

The following organisations are also supporting the competition:

BBFC, BFI, British Screen Advisory Council (BSAC), Industry Trust, Into Film, Luther Pendragon, Visual Data Ltd, Writers’ Guild of Great Britain