Aussies win $US70,000 in online competition

02 April, 2014 by Don Groves

Australian director Jeremy Brull’s The Justice Lease has won the top prize of $US70,000 in an online festival.

Shot for just $7,000, the web series features real-life versions of Superman, Batman, Aquaman and The Hulk as they struggle to live together in an Australian share-house.


The prize was awarded by the advertiser-supported Video-on-Demand service Viewster in the inaugural Viewster Online Film Fest (#VOFF). The theme was When Life Gives You Lemons…

The judges were US producer Ted Hope, who is CEO of Fandor, Finnish director/creator of Iron Sky Timo Vuorensola and German actress Nora Tschirner.

The judges said: “The episode Man of Steel was very well constructed and extremely funny.” They indicated they really want to see what’s going on in the director’s head.

Brull, who shot The Justice Lease with co-producer Paul Michael Ayre, said: “After a year of struggling to get this series out to the masses, the idea that we just won an international contest and $70,000 (ten times our original budget), has caused the two of us to go into a mild case of shock. We were just in the midst of finding funding for a second season and this could not come at a better time. It's just brilliant. We can make more.”

Second prize of $20,000 went to Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, a coming-of-age comedy short about a young woman’s exploration of ugliness and beauty, by Canadian director Stephen Dunn.

Third prize of $10,000 went to 48 Minutes, a feature about an unconventional therapist telling her patients they have 48 minutes left to tell their story before they die, from Dutch directors Richard Schut, Fedor van Rossem, Bart Tremorshuizen, Sjoerd de Bont, Hidde Simons, Jens Rijskijk and Raymi Sambo.

The winners, the top 10 and all 84 festival entries can be watched at Roughly two thirds of the entries were from Europe. The public voted for two weeks and the votes were then organised into a shortlist and evaluated by the independent jury.

The Zurich-based Viewster plans to stage the festival every quarter.  ‘Relationship status: complicated’ is the theme of the next #VOFF edition to be held in June. The submission deadline is May 22. Films, series, web series and project teasers longer than three minutes that deal with tricky relationships are open to compete.