sshorts_redSUNDERLAND will be rolling out the red carpet this summer as an Oscar-winning producer joins an impressive line-up of judges for this year’s film festival.

The judging panel for Sunderland Shorts Film Festival has agreed on winners for the 2016 awards that will be presented on July 2, at the end of the four-day festival. The judging group was made up of 14 experts in the field of film, animation, writing and production and included the likes of Serena Armitage, the producer of Oscar-winning short film ‘Stutterer’; Catherine Hearne, former head of BBC London and BBC Midlands; Lara Devitt of Digital Arts Council England; and Marc de Launay, animator and director and previous BAFTA judge.

A total of 50 films covering six genres were shortlisted from over 200 submissions from across the globe – shortlisted thanks to help from over 30 volunteer reviewers – and will be screened at the festival, which runs from June 30 to July 3at venues throughout Sunderland city centre.

Mark Murray, festival chair of judges, said: “Working with such a high calibre of industry experts for this judging process was fantastic – it took a fair amount of time but we’re all very excited for this year’s festival as the standard of films submitted is phenomenal, which has delighted our experienced panel.

“We’re delighted to be able to showcase such talent for audiences in the North East and we hope more people come along and realise how entertaining, emotional and exciting short films can be.”

After receiving international recognition for its inaugural event last year, this year’s festival is offering more for audiences to enjoy, with free family-friendly screenings and the chance to see the winners from the partner festival, DC Shorts, also taking place around the dates of the festival.

Amateur and professional filmmakers alike are also invited to attend professional development sessions at the festival with some of the shortlisted filmmakers and judges who are attending the festival.

Anne Tye, festival director, said: “Last year was a great success that laid the foundations for us to really grow and develop the festival into a staple of the North East’s creative diary. With renowned professionals attending the festival to share their expertise and knowledge with our region’s emerging filmmakers we’re taking steps towards making Sunderland Shorts an unmissable event.”

Sunderland Shorts Film Festival is organised by Sunderland City Council, sponsored by See It Do It Sunderland, and is supported by MAC Trust and Bureau Design. The festival was created in collaboration with the prestigious DC Shorts Film Festival in Washington DC, to further develop cultural links between the two cities.

Paul Callaghan, of the MAC Trust, said: “The fact the festival is only in its second year but is already able to attract such fantastic talent to showcase their films here and lend their expertise to judge the entries is great for Sunderland and the wider North East and a testament to the thriving cultural hub we have here in Sunderland.”