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Winners of the 40 Seconds Straight film competition revealed

9th September 2011

The winners of the 40 Seconds Straight short film competition have now been chosen, as selected by the panel of judges and a public vote. The winning films are:

  • Critics' Choice: Rubik's Cube by Francesca Sophia and Hayley Stuart
  • People's Choice: Dating Made Easy by Peter Hein and Chris Polick

Run by Raindance, the UK's largest independent film organisation, and sponsored by insurer Direct Line, the competition invited budding film-makers to submit a 40 second film that made one of life's complicated situations straightforward.

The judges, led by actor and comedian Chris Addison, whittled down the entrants to a shortlist of the top ten films, before choosing Rubik's Cube by Francesca Sophia and Hayley Stuart as the overall winner of the Critics' Choice prize. Rubik's Cube will now be screened at the Raindance Film Festival this year, while the film-makers have won a trip to the Cannes Film Festival 2012.

Rubik's Cube is the first film Francesca and Hayley created after graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University and is very much a family affair, starring Francesca's niece and with the soundtrack written by her nephew.

After an eight-week entry period and an intense judging session, the top ten shortlisted films were hosted online for two weeks, giving the public the chance to view the judges' favourite short films and vote for their favourite film to win the People's Choice prize of tickets to the British Independent Film Awards after-party.

After clocking up over 3,800 views, the People's Choice was overwhelmingly voted to be Dating Made Easy by Peter Hein and Chris Polick.

The competition saw an eclectic mix of entries flood in, including both the weird and the wonderful – encompassing everything from divorce and dating, through to how to create crop circles and fill in a tax return.

Along with Chris Addison, the 40 Seconds Straight judges included:

  • Elliot Grove, founder of Raindance
  • Alex Zane, film critic and TV presenter
  • Jane Crowther, associate editor of Total Film
  • Kerry Chilvers, marketing director at Direct Line

Francesca commented: “Hayley and I were elated when we won the Critics' Choice award. We thought about everything complicated and decided that a Rubik's Cube would work as its still the most complicated thing of all! We colour graded every frame of the film individually to give it a retro look and it took six hours, but I guess it paid off. As film-makers, going to Cannes is a fantastic opportunity to network and also experience incredible cinema."

Elliot Grove, founder of Raindance, commented: “We had some amazing entries and I was blown away by the wit, creativity and imagination of the film-makers. Rubik's Cube was my favourite as it is simplicity personified, with wonderful acting and direction.”

Kerry Chilvers from Direct Line commented: “I would like to congratulate our deserving winners and thank everyone who entered the competition – the standard of entries was so high. Dating Made Easy is a deserving winner of the People's Choice prize.”

For media enquiries and interviews please contact
Natalie Wheeler (0207 440 9819, or
Megan John (0207 440 9823,

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides car, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting

About Raindance

Raindance exists to discover, foster and champion new talent and audiences, the lifeblood of the industry. Since 1992 it has promoted all aspects of independent cinema in the UK, from guerrilla style low-budget shorts to international indie blockbusters.

Raindance Film Festival is Europe's largest independent film festival. Premières have included Memento, Ghost World, Blair Witch Project, and Pulp Fiction. We satisfy the public's thirst for bold, original filmmaking through diverse international programming.

Created in 1998, the British Independent Film Awards celebrate excellence and achievement in independently funded British films, honour new talent and are dedicated to maximising promotion of British independent cinema here and abroad.

Raindance Film Training takes filmmakers from first principles to post-production and beyond. Our intensive masterclasses and evening classes are taught by working industry professionals. Thousands of students each year leave informed and inspired, with the confidence and knowledge to embark on their first film or script. is our latest venture, hosting over 500 films and providing quality content for over a dozen partner platforms. As well as promoting filmmakers and their films, we support them through viewing royalties.