Unreal Engine Fosters Local Talent with Short Film Challenge Australia

Epic Games, together with all Australian state screen agencies from all eight states and territories, have announced the culmination of the first Unreal Engine Short Film Challenge. The competition saw over 1800 aspiring filmmakers and seasoned artists, across all levels of creative and technical experience, participate in two weeks’ worth of free Unreal Engine filmmaking techniques. Over the course of the programme, they learned the latest techniques in real-time animation and virtual production and later teamed up to create short film pitches.

16 of the top pitches were selected and given AUD$20,000 to produce a short film in six weeks. The shortlisted teams also collaborated with visual effects facilities, production studios, and universities across Australia to leverage every tool in the virtual production playbook — from LED stage shoots, to real-time animation workflows, to performance capture, in-camera visual effects, and VR.

Of the final shorts, “Cassini Logs” (pictured), submitted by NSW creatives Alexandru Popescu and Tim Ben Cole, was selected as the top film, receiving the AUD$50,000 grand prize.

“The level of production quality achieved in these shorts is remarkable considering the tight six-week turnaround,” said Connie Kennedy, Head of Los Angeles Lab, Epic Games. “These incredibly talented filmmakers, many who were using Unreal Engine for the first time, produced a portfolio of sophisticated live action and animated films. We’re delighted that many of these filmmakers are pursuing efforts to develop their projects further into episodic series and full-length features.”

All Australian state screen agencies: Film Victoria, Screen NSW, Screen Tasmania, Screen Queensland, Screen Canberra, Screenwest, South Australian Film Corporation and Screen Territory came together to put the call out for participants across the country. The sixteen selected filmmaking teams also collaborated with visual effects facilities, production studios, and universities across Australia to leverage every tool in the virtual production playbook from LED stage shoots, to real-time animation workflows, to performance capture, in-camera visual effects, and VR.

The resulting films portray everything from futuristic journeys into alternate universes under the sea and in outer space, to suspenseful live-action narratives with stunning visual effects, and thoughtful, whimsical, fully animated tales. To watch all submitted films, visit https://vimeo.com/showcase/ueaustralia

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