Epic Games has teamed up with film branches of seven Australian states to hold a nationwide short film competition using Epic’s flagship Unreal Engine 4, with the winning film walking away with $50,000 in prize money.
While many would know Epic as the creator of Fortnite, their Unreal Engine has powered thousands of games over the years, with popular examples including the Borderlands and Bioshock series (and more recently Riot Games’ Valorant).
As an engine that is also suited to photorealistic rendering, Unreal Engine 4 – the latest iteration of the software – can also be used to create convincing life-like animations, and that’s what Epic is looking to put on show in their latest partnership.
UE4 has also already been used in film franchises like Star Wars, with scenes rendered in Unreal Engine appearing in both Rogue One and The Mandalorian. Disney also used the engine to render some scenes in their film Finding Dory while director Jonathan Nolan utilised it for his dystopian Westworld series.
The competition is limited to only Australian residents, and consists of teams from each state creating pitches for short films utilising Unreal Engine 4. Pitches will then be shortlisted and a winner will be selected from each state, who are then granted $20,000 to bring their film to life. Those shorts will then be judged by a panel of experts, with the grand winner walking away with a prize of $50,000AUD.
“The Unreal Engine Real-Time Short Film Challenge will not only help discover new storytellers, but also provide free training to encourage the use of collaborative virtual production techniques that open new doors, particularly in this era of physically-distanced production requirements.” said Connie Kennedy, head of Epic Films’ LA Lab.
That’s right, Epic doesn’t expect entrants to go in without any experience. While the competition is restricted to Australian residents, Epic is offering two weeks of free training sessions that will explore various filmmaking techniques open to anyone in Oceania.
“There is an abundance of incredible creative work coming out of Australia and we’re thrilled to partner in this initiative to support exceptional talent,” added Kennedy.
This is a huge opportunity for aspiring filmmakers, and anyone interested in entering the competition should sign up via their state agency’s film division.