£100k Games for Film competition launched with Lionsgate UK and BFI

written by: Richard Kastelein

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A major competition to use computer games to promote films has recently been launched... created by the University of Abertay Dundee, D-Media and IC tomorrow in association with Lionsgate UK and the BFI (British Film Institute).

Four £25,000 prizes are available in the Games for Film contest. Two prizes are for games which innovatively promote the upcoming theatrical release of two exciting new British feature films the BFI is offering early access to, Spike Island and Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers, both of which were co-financed through the BFI Film Fund and are currently in post-production.

The two Lionsgate UK prizes will prototype how games can be used for a film’s cinematic or home entertainment release. The titles available for development for the Lionsgate prizes could include Dirty Dancing, Great Expectations, The Expendables 2, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D and many more films.

Abertay University’s Prototype Fund is funding the prizes and working with the Technology Strategy Board’s IC tomorrow programme and the D-Media Network to deliver the Games for Film contest.

Nicola Pearcey, Managing Director Home Entertainment and New Media at Lionsgate UK, said:

“Lionsgate UK is proud to be partnering with D-Media, Abertay University and IC tomorrow in this exciting Games for Film competition.

“The competition will provide a great opportunity for individuals to voice their unique ideas and we look forward to working with the winning entrants to see their prototypes materialised.”

Katie Ellen, Distribution Manager at BFI, said:

“We are very excited to be part of this unique opportunity to explore whether innovative, pre-release gameplay can raise audience awareness of independent films and convert this to audience attendance.

“Capitalising on the enthusiasm of the film’s producers and distributors, it’s a great chance for us all to be able to collaborate with the games community, and continue our work supporting new distribution strategies.”

Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay University, said:

“Games for Film is an incredible opportunity for game developers to try a new, exciting area and to work with two of the biggest names in the film industry, BFI and Lionsgate.

“The Abertay Prototype Fund invests in launching new companies and testing out business opportunities in interactive media. Games have huge potential to help other creative industries like film reach an audience in new ways, and we look forward to receiving very high quality applications for this exciting contest.”

Gina Fegan, founder D-Media Network, said:

“Working with film and games for many years watching the sectors converge, I believe this is the time to test business models that connect these vibrant industries. The support from Abertay and this competition is a fantastic step. Good luck to all the participants!”

Matt Sansam, programme head at IC tomorrow, said:

“We’re delighted to launch the Games for Film contest with support from such prestigious film partners. The contest is a groundbreaking way to uncover new talent in games design and to help them partner with the film industry to develop their prototype concepts.”

Games for Film invites applications from UK-based games developers interested in developing new ways of using games to promote films and build an audience.


The first prize for a BFI-supported film will go to the best entry for promoting Spike Island, which is the second feature film from director Mat Whitecross (Mat’s first feature was Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, 2010). The film follows 72 hours in the lives of five young lads from Manchester who travel to Spike Island to see their idols, The Stone Roses, play their legendary 1990 gig.

The second prize for a BFI-supported film is for the best entry promoting the theatrical feature documentary Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers. Produced by Academy Award-nominated Mike Lerner and Sundance–winning director Havana Marking, the film entertainingly reveals the fascinating underworld of diamond stealing, smuggling and fencing, using innovative and striking rotoscope animation to disguise the thieves’ true identities.

Applications will be judged on whether their idea could be used by other content providers, its market potential, readiness for consumer trial by early 2013, and the potential of the applicant to be developed as a successful content partner for the film industry.

For full contest details, and to apply, please visit the Games for Film contest page.

The deadline for submissions is 20 September 2012.

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