Maggie Gyllenhaal will play the lead in this year’s Jameson First Shot winning films. Now in its fifth year, the Jameson First Shot Competition aims to uncover the globe’s most gifted, undiscovered filmmakers with compelling stories to tell. Together with Kevin Spacey and Trigger Street Productions, three talented winners have the opportunity to turn their scripts into short films which will premiere in Los Angeles with an acclaimed cast and crew in attendance.
The competition is all about giving talented filmmakers a break – a first shot at the industry. It asks aspiring filmmakers to be fearless; to write about what matters to them, tell the stories that they want to tell and, ultimately, make the film they want to make. Participants are undiscovered filmmakers with big ideas and an insatiable desire to create. “It’s not about where someone is, it’s about where they might get to in 10 years if they’re encouraged, nurtured and guided,” said Spacey.
Producer Dana Brunetti, who will be making the shorts alongside the winners, sees the competition as giving filmmakers outside of Hollywood a chance to shine: “We’ve opened up the competition to countries across the world; more countries means more gifted people. Hollywood doesn’t have a monopoly on talent and we want to see what the world has to offer,” said Brunetti.
Gyllenhaal is known for her fearless film choices, from Donnie Darko to The Dark Knight. Her Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Crazy Heart and her Golden Globe film nominations for her leading roles in Secretary and Sherrybaby exemplify her talent and versatility as an actress. For her most recent performance as Nessa Stein in The Honourable Woman she won a Golden Globe Award, a SAG Award nomination, and is currently nominated for an Emmy Award.
So what does Maggie look for in a script? The actor recommends taking a new angle: “An observation that we haven’t seen, that’s real, that people relate to, that’s complicated – as we all are.” To aspiring filmmakers thinking of entering, Maggie recommends “putting a little bit of your actual self into what you’re doing – good art takes vulnerability.”
This year Jameson is expanding the competition to give more undiscovered talent the chance to enter their work. Entrants living in the following countries are all eligible: UK, Ireland, India, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Bulgaria, Kenya, Russia and the US.
The competition is currently open to entries and the rules, including length and theme, can be found on the Jameson First Shot website.