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Filmmaker Focus I Slick Films

Updated: Apr 27

In this week’s addition of Filmmaker Focus we’re exploring the Academy Award winning production company, Slick Films. Headed by husband-and-wife power couple and Oscar winning writer and director duo, Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton, Slick Films have very recently partnered with Bolton Film Festival to bring about the ‘Slick Films Fund’, which has been specifically designed to discover and nurture emerging talent in the short film sector and support the next generation of filmmakers. 

This fund will offer not just a grand prize of £10,000 and an invaluable array of industry resources to one filmmaker, but it will also include a specialised category designed to champion the voices of first-time filmmakers with a prize of £3,000 to be further won. 

Don’t worry, we will be telling you everything you need to know about the Slick Film Fund, including how and what you need to enter, but first—who are Slick Films

Who Are Slick Films

Slick Showreels was founded by a 19 year old Chris Overton back in 2009, and started life as an enterprise that created showreels for actors. This formed a unique services aspect to what would eventually give birth to Slick Films and that service still continues today. As Slick Films came into existence, providing a means for Chris Overton and partner Rachel Shenton to realise their own creative potential, the pair really rose to success with their release of 2018's The Silent Child. This powerful drama garnered over 50 official selections, awards and other accolades on the festival circuit and went on to win the live-action short film Academy Award. 

Chris Overton's love of film and cinema and his astute balance between the commercial and the creative have been evident from a very young age. In his own words,

“I made my first movie at 13 years old. I rounded up the local kids from my estate to tell a story about bullying. I shot it, edited it, packaged some DVDs and went around knocking on doors, telling people this was an important film and they had to see it. I sold all my DVDs and made a small profit, so I learned distribution from a young age. That was my introduction to cinema.” 

The Silent Child centres around a social worker named Joanne (played by Rachel Shenton) as she teaches sign language to a four-year-old Libby (Maisie Sly), who has a profound hearing disability. However, Libby’s family is ignorant to her needs and instead wrongly force her to learn lip reading. The New York Times said The Silent Child was… “Gorgeously shot and perfectly performed, the movie delivers an emotional wallop that many features six times its length never achieve”. And this is just one of many amazing quotes spoken about this thought-provoking and truly powerful short film. 

Prior to the Silent Child however, both Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton worked as actors and filmmakers. Overton appeared in Doctors, Casualty, Two Pints of Larger and a Packet of Crisps, as well as DCI Banks, while Shenton starred as a regular cast member on Hollyoaks from 2010-2013, playing the role of Mitzeee Minniver.  And since the success of The Silent Child and with Overton and Shenton at the helm, Slick Films have gone on to produce and oversee the production of several gorgeously shot short films that have also gone on to receive critical acclaim, including Roy and The Mourning Bird

Chris Overton oversaw the production for The Mourning Bird which came as a debut from writer/director George Somner (Sex Education), drawing on his own experiences with grief as a child. This dabble into nurturing fresh storytelling talent just shows how Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton and the entire staff list behind Slick Films are devoted to developing new voices and giving them a platform to showcase their art. Their devotion and commitment to the art and artists behind great cinema is sustained by the delicate balance that they have been able to strike between the creative and the commercial. Selling to organisations like Network Ireland Television, Virgin, HBO and Disney+ has allowed them to keep investing and creating the kind of short film that elevates the medium, supports talented creators and give great cinema to all of us.

So, When & How Do You Enter the Slick Films Fund? 

Slick Film Fund are offering two funds: the main fund which offers £10,000 funding towards the production costs of the winning short film and the first-time filmmaker fund which offers £3,000 towards the funding costs of the winning short film. 

For the main fund, the winning short film will not just receive a handsome budget but the selected filmmaker(s) will also get mentorship from Oscar winning filmmakers, a production package via Slick Films, a PR consultation with Catherine Lynn Scott from London Flair PR, a consultation with NITV, a consultation with Bolton Film Festival, a fully comprehensive festival strategy, a full technical package from Cinebox DCP Creation and a feature article in Directors Notes. 

To submit to the main fund, a script must ideally have a writer with a producer and/or director attached. Though, lone writers are also encouraged to apply as the selected short film will be paired with a producer and/or director later down the line. All scripts must be live action with a count of no more than 21 pages. Filmmakers must have an idea of budget and production cost and lookbooks or pitch decks are also encouraged to be submitted along with an original script. 

For the first-time filmmaker fund, the winning short film will get £3,000 towards production costs, a free camera package from a trusted partner, script development from Oscar winning filmmakers, and a production package via Slick Films. 

Submissions will close at 11:59pm on Monday 15th July 2024. Filmmakers of selected short films will then be given the opportunity to pitch at the Bolton Film Festival on Friday 4th October 2024 and the winners for each fund will be announced on the night by an expert jury. 

So, if you have a short film script you would love to submit to the Slick Film Fund, head over to FilmFreeway and search Slick Films or click here

Find out more about Slick Films via our interview with Chris Overton or by using the links below


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