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Thandie Newton launches Virgin Shorts 2010

If you’re a budding filmmaker who's never happier than when you’re out in the wilds of the British countryside creating mini cinematic masterpieces, prick up thine ears.

This week, with the help of glamorous judge Thandie Newton, Virgin Media Shorts has launched its third year of talent scouting, asking you – yes, you! – to send in your works of art for the chance to win big.

The annual competition is now open for submissions, and select entries will be screened in cinemas, on TV, on mobiles and online. The top prize is a whopping £30,000 worth of film funding, and the opportunity to collaborate with Virgin Media on a short film.

Jumping onto the judging panel along with directors Duncan Jones and Mike Newell, and critic James King, Newton has turned back time for a couple of snazzy shots that recreate classic images of film icon Theda Bara. Just take a look below...

“The history of the short film and its early stars isn’t something that’s well known or documented,” says Newton. “So to kick off this year’s Virgin Media Shorts we wanted to do something that would commemorate one of the early legends like Theda Bara – she was a true, avant-garde screen heroine.”

One-time-Cleopatra Bara was famous for the kind of “spirit and passion” that Newton says she will be looking for in this year’s raft of film entries.

Last year’s filmic face-off attracted more than 2,000 entries from applicants who uploaded their films via the VMS website. The 2009 winner, Luke Snellin, was nominated for a BAFTA this year for his winning short Mixtape .

So if you’ve been itching to grab the camera, or just needed a goal like this to really kick things into gear, now’s the time to prove that you’re the next Danny Boyle or Terry Gilliam.

Looking for somebody to make a short with? Hit up our overhauled forum and start a new thread.

Deadline for entries is 28 June 2010, so jump over to the Virgin Media Shorts website for more information on how to enter. We look forward to seeing what you all rustle up.

Happy filming!