ESI Film Festival unveils first set of judges and advisory board 

ESI Film Festival Judges

Esports Insider (ESI) has announced the first round of judges and advisory board members for its inaugural ESI Film Festival. 

Composed of gaming and film industry professionals, the judges and advisory boards will help determine both the shortlist and the overall winner. 

ESI London 2024

Taking place as part of Esports Insider’s flagship event, ESI London, on Friday 20th October, the ESI Film Festival aims to showcase the positive difference video games and esports can make to people’s lives via the medium of film. The festival offers a cash prize pool of £10,000, provided by non-profit partner ESG Gaming. Budding filmmakers can apply here.

Submissions are still open for the ESI Film Festival, with the submission deadline extended to Friday 15th September

ESI Film Festival Judges and advisory board members include: 

  • Gina Jackon OBE – SKILLful [Advisory Board only]
  • Stuart Burnside – BFI [Advisory Board & Judge]
  • Lee Willows – ESG Gaming [Advisory Board & Judge]
  • Sky Tunley-Stainton – Safe in our World [Advisory Board & Judge]
  • Karina Ziminaite – Z1MT [Advisory Board & Judge]
  • Elle Osili-Wood – Host & Presenter [Advisory Board & Judge]

The advisory board will include Gina Jackson OBE, who has extensive experience helping to solve the talent crisis in the games industry. Founder of SKILLfull, Jackson has worked on around 300 games in both development and publishing roles, and now supports developers and publishers as a consultant/coach, championing diversity and mental health in the games industry.

On both the judging board and advisory board, Stuart Burnside is a video game analyst at the British Film Institute, offering advice and support on the certification process and creative sector tax reliefs to developers across the country.

Lee Willows from ESG Gaming will also be both a Judge & Advisory Board member. Willows has over 30 years of experience working with and leading services for marginalised groups and communities. Willows brings a deep, personal understanding of EDI and mental health, having recovered from a behavioural addiction and growing up as a gay man.

Sky Tunley-Stainton is a lifelong cinephile with almost 10 years experience in the cinema industry, this includes working with AMC to open the first theatre in Saudi Arabia after a 36-year ban. Now working for Safe In Our World, the video games mental health charity, Tunley-Stainton is passionate about destigmatising mental health conversations, and showcasing the incredible power of games to start conversations, share stories and help players to feel less alone.

With 16 years of combined professional experience in media, content, production, marketing and communication, judge & advisory board member Karina Ziminaite is a renowned storyteller. With the team she led at G2 Esports, Karina was awarded Esports Awards for Best Video Production Team and Best Creative Esports Piece in 2021.

Elle Osili-Wood is an award-winning television presenter, named “one of the most influential women in games” by Google. Elle’s entertainment career has seen her named a BAFTA Breakthrough in television, and nominated for an ARIA as a presenter of Radio 4’s Front Row, appearing on screen for Netflix, BBC and Channel 4, as well as twice hosting the BAFTA Games Awards.

This is the first round of judges and advisory board members to be announced, with more to come in due time.

The festival’s themes this year are digital inequality, diversity and mental health. The winners will be announced at the film festival on the evening of Friday 20th October, with the top three films also being showcased for the first time.

ESI Film Festival

ESG Gaming is a confirmed non-profit partner for the event. ESG Gaming is committed to working alongside the digital entertainment sectors to ensure the experience is open, inclusive and positive for all consumers and stakeholders. The company champions lived-experience, working with people from a variety of backgrounds across the entertainment sectors in order to gain insight for research, product development, and evaluation.  

The £10,000 prize pool, courtesy of non-profit partner ESG Gaming, is split as follows:

  • 1st Place – £5,000
  • 2nd Place – £3,000
  • 3rd Place – £2,000

Films will be judged on originality, creativity, plot, pacing, structure, characters, cinematography and entertainment value as well as on effectiveness of the message and the ability of the film-maker to reach an audience.

Further submission information and criteria, including submission specs, can be found here.

For those interested in applying for judge, advisory board or partner positions, the application form can be found here.

The ESI Film Festival is part of ESI London, the biggest B2B esports event globally that takes place at Wembley’s BOXPARK on October 19th and 20th and will offer two days of deep discussion around esports.

Tickets for the ESI Film Festival are through invitation only. Tickets for ESI London can be purchased here.

Esports Insider