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You only get one shot at Universal's '1917' short film contest

In celebration of Sam Mendes’s upcoming single shot feature 1917NBCUniversal and Ideas United have partnered to launch a contest for aspiring and emerging filmmakers. Inspired by the style of the movie, entrants are challenged to submit a two-minute video filmed in one continuous shot, focused on the theme of delivering an urgent message.

“Ideas United has the unique opportunity to tap into a global network of talented filmmakers and creative thinkers,” says David Roemer, co-founder and CEO, Ideas United. “By partnering with Universal Pictures, we are able to challenge the next generation of creators with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will help them showcase their talents and give them a chance to meet some of the filmmakers and cast of ‘1917’.”

Ideas United will manage the open call for emerging storytellers through its Campus Movie Fest participants and its global network of filmmakers, producers, and writers. To be considered, each participant must be 18 years or older and a U.S. resident. Contestants will have until December 2, 2019, to upload their two-minute video to Instagram, Facebook or YouTube using the hashtag, “#1917oneshotchallenge” and then upload the public link to 1917oneshotchallenge.com .

Ideas United will narrow submissions to the finalists, and 1917 filmmakers will select the ultimate winner. The winner and a guest will be flown to Los Angeles to attend the 1917 premiere on December 18, 2019.

Click here for more information and for official rules.

Set at the height of the First World War, 1917 follows two young British soldiers, Schofield (Captain Fantastic’s George MacKay) and Blake (Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) who are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers — Blake’s own brother among them. Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch also star.

1917 is directed by Mendes, who wrote the screenplay with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Showtime’s Penny Dreadful). Academy Award winner Roger Deakins is serving as the film’s cinematographer. 1917 is produced by Mendes and Pippa Harris (co-executive producer, Revolutionary Road; executive producer, Away We Go) for their Neal Street Productions, Jayne-Ann Tenggren (co-producer, The Rhythm Section; associate producer, Spectre), Callum McDougall (executive producer, Mary Poppins Returns, Skyfall) and Brian Oliver (executive producer, Rocketman; Black Swan).

Produced by Neal Street Productions for DreamWorks Pictures in association with New Republic Pictures, 1917 will be released by Universal Pictures in limited release on December 25th before going wide on January 10, 2020. Universal and Amblin Partners will distribute the film internationally, with eOne distributing on behalf of Amblin in the U.K.


Silas Lesnick is the Senior Editor of Moviebill. He has been covering entertainment news out of Los Angeles for more than a decade. You can reach him via e-mail or on Twitter.