Kevin Spacey's Short-Film Competition Unveils Winners (Exclusive)

Adam James
Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti

Adrien Brody will act as the lead in all three of the winner's films.

The 2015 Jameson First Shot — a short-film contest seeking to bring the scripts of undiscovered filmmakers to life – has announced this year’s winners. 

Travis Calvert of the United States, Mark Middlewick of South Africa and Stephan Tempier of Canada have been chosen from a pool of 1,900 applicants to fly to Los Angeles to direct their short films. 

The competition’s creative director, Academy Award-winner Kevin Spacey, and producer, Dana Brunetti, will assist the winners with their films. Spacey and Brunetti are also the founder and president, respectively, of Trigger Street Productions (House of Cards, The Social Network), which will be backing and producing the films. 

"I continue to believe in opportunity for those starting out in this business and have been honored to be a part of the Jameson First Shot,” Spacey told The Hollywood Reporter

Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody will serve as the lead in all three films as Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe and Spacey have done in previous years. 

Brody hopes the competition helps aspiring filmmakers get a foot in the door. "Navigating a start in this industry can be tough,” he told THR. “Getting involved with Jameson First Shot, along with Trigger Street, is a way to give my stamp of approval on, and collaborate with, aspiring and talented emerging filmmakers. I look forward to helping their dreams come to fruition on these three films and to shine a brighter spotlight on their work.”

Brunetti agrees. He told THR, “We’re giving people the opportunity to come in and work with a professional crew, get attention and exposure from the competition and also work with a high-caliber actor, which is going to amplify that exposure even more.”

The application process required contestants to first submit a seven-page short-film script, which the Trigger Street team used to narrow down the applicant pool to about 20. The remaining group was then required to film and submit one of three predetermined short scenes and a video bio. Brunetti, Spacey, Brody and Trigger Street took all of these components into consideration and whittled it down to the final three. 

“The first thing I do is look at the story,” Brunetti says. “Is this something that keeps me engaged and makes me want to keep turning the page? Is it something that I would want to see on-screen? Then I go into the producer mode. Is it going to be possible for us to make this with the limitations and resources that we have?”

Calvert, Middlewick and Tempier fly to Los Angeles as early as this week and instantly begin production, each filming their short scripts in exactly two days. The finished products will likely premiere in June.

Spacey and Brunetti have been involved with the contest since its debut in 2012. "Helping these emerging filmmakers get their start brings a smile to my face, and I’ve been delighted both with the films and progress and dedication our winners have shown,” says Spacey.

Calvert’s short-film, The Library Book, “tells the story of a modest man's encounter with a stern librarian while returning an overdue book to a failing library.”

Middlewick’s The Mascot “tells the story of Adam, the mascot for the basketball team the Pittsburgh Pandas who takes his part-time job very seriously, until he is fired and decides to confront the man that has replaced him.”

Tempier’s script entitled Boredom “tells the story of Danny, a 40-year-old who chose to remain a child, no matter what anyone else thinks.”

As with prior winners, Spacey and Brunetti surprised the filmmakers with congratulatory Skype calls to announce their wins.