A trio of writer-directors will be chosen from an international pool of submissions.
The Jameson First Shot competition has found its leading man in Wire alum Dominic West.
The competition is meant to be an opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to get their stories made with the help of top Hollywood talent. Three writer-directors will be chosen based on their submitted scripts and then flown out to Los Angels to direct their short films that will star West and be produced by Dana Brunetti (The Social Network, House of Cards).
“It’s a huge commitment and leap of faith for the talent,” says Brunetti, who is one of the originators of the competition, which is now in its sixth year. “Everybody who has done it because they have taken that risk to work with these first-time directors. You have no idea what you are signing up for.”
West, whose credits include 300, Chicago and Money Monster, is currently in production on the Tomb Raider reboot, where he will be playing the father of the new Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander). He joins First Shot talent alum Maggie Gyllenhaal, Willem Dafoe and Adrian Brody.
“Anyone who’s trying to support people with their own vision, and an uncompromised vision, and a story that they really passionately want to tell, is a good thing because there’s plenty of films out there that are not made for those reasons,” says West of the competition.
This year Jameson has expanded the competition’s territories, with filmmakers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Bulgaria, Australia and Israel eligible to enter. Submissions open April 3 and will close June 1, with the final three short films premiering at a November gala.
First Shot rules and guidelines can be found online, as well as past winners. “The coolest thing is seeing [our filmmakers] go on to do feature films or to end up in the industry,” says Burnetti.
The producer has some advice for the submitting filmmakers.
He says, “A lot of times we see filmmakers try to craft their stories to what they think that I or our cast will respond to, when you should really just write what you are passionate about or what they know.”
Watch the video announcement of West being named the official actor for this year’s competition below.