The potential of video games and esports to make a meaningful, positive difference to people’s lives is enormous. There are countless anecdotal examples of this, and not enough of these stories are told & shared more widely. Film is one medium to help change that.
Accordingly, we’re introducing the ESI Film Festival; the very first esports & gaming short film festival.
This exciting new addition to the ESI London agenda will shine a light on those behind the screens, with a focus on stories related to esports and video games. The festival’s themes this year are digital inequality, diversity, and mental health, reflecting the potential of video games and esports to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.
The event took place on the evening of 20th October 2023 at the prestigious BAFTA 195 Piccadilly.
Guests from esports, video games, film making industries and more joined Esports Insider to celebrate the positive impact esports and gaming has on people’s lives.
With over 30 entries in the first every ESI Film Festival, the judges had the difficult duty of selecting just 3 winners, each of which would share in a prize pool of £10,000, courtesy of the festival’s non-profit partner ESG Gaming.
In what was a very special evening event, filled with networking across industries, high-end F&B provided by the venue and positivity for the impact of esports and gaming, everyone took their seats to watch the 3 selected winners of the inaugural ESI London Film Festival and to watch as the winners were presented with their prizes live on stage.
Christopher William Sellers
Chew Productions (UK)
In 2020, amidst wedding planning, Emma ‘Emzii’ Rose confronted the underlying weight of dysphoria and came to a life-changing realisation — she was transgender. Embracing her true identity, she faced challenges and setbacks, usually from people hiding behind screens.
Jacob ‘Pimp’ Winneche is a former pro gamer, now turned CS:GO host hailing from Aalborg, Denmark. This film explores his past struggles with his physical and mental health, which happened behind the scenes when his career was at an all-time high.
This documentary follows three people with mood and anxiety disorders who find that playing games can be a powerful tool for self-care. These vignettes of daily life are punctuated by insights from experts in the fields of game studies, game design and psychology.
You can find links to the full films of all the winners and shortlisted films for the ESI London Film Festival in this here.
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.
The uniqueness and originality of the premise or story.
The effective use of imagination as evidenced in the entry.
The actions, events, conflicts, and turning points that propel the story forward.
PACING & STRUCTURE
The timing of the action, unfolding of plot elements and character development.
Personalities that are distinctive, compelling, multi-layered, and unpredictable.
The quality of cinematography or videography demonstrated in the work.
Is the dialogue clear and not hindered by any noise or music score?
Is the music score suited to the film and does it help tell the story as a character of its own?
Does the story keep the viewer’s attention? Is it fun, engaging, or thought provoking?
Does the film clearly depict the message of the charity or cause it represents.
The ESI London Film Festival has a selection of some of the most highly regarded video game, esports and film industry professionals to help provide their wealth of knowledge, expertise and industry insight to select the very best films that are submitted to our film festival.
Gina Jackson OBE is the founder of Skillfull. Jackson has worked on around 300 games in both development and publishing roles from GameBoy through to PS5. She now supports developers and publishers as a consultant/coach, develops and delivers training for career changers and new entrants. She works as an activist for change across skills, diversity and mental health in the games industry.
Sky is a lifelong cinephile with almost 10 years’ experience in the cinema industry, including 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, Sky 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.
Stuart is a video game analyst at the British Film Institute and works closely with developers from around the country offering advice and support on the certification process and the creative sector tax reliefs. Stuart also writes video game focused articles for the BFI public website, and has worked on a number of video game projects and events within the organisation and in collaboration with other cultural organisations. He regularly talks at events around the country such as EGX, EGX Rezzed, FOCUS, London Games Festival, and many others.
Karina is a visionary, exceptional storyteller and strong leader with 16 years of combined professional experience in media, content, production, marketing and communication. 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, specialising in entertainment. Seen on screen for Netflix, the BBC, Channel 4 and more, 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. In addition, her extensive career in video games, presenting for brands like PlayStation, Ubisoft, and Xbox, as well as twice hosting the BAFTA Games Awards, has seen her named “one of the most influential women in games” by Google.
The son of a coal miner and born into a working-class family, Lee has over 30 years of experience working with and leading services for marginalised groups and communities. A humble leader in the igaming space, Lee brings a deep, personal understanding of EDI and mental health, having recovered from a behavioural addiction and growing up as a gay man. At 50 years old, Lee is now studying for a MBA, establishing a fourth not-for-profit organisation using his lived experience, and in his spare time has a passion for travel and discovering new cultures.
Proudly founded in August 2021, ESG Gaming’s vision is to ensure that consumers worldwide possess the skills, knowledge, resilience, and tools to engage with digital entertainment in a safe, responsible, positive, and inclusive manner. They are incorporated as a not-for-profit and with no share capital Community Interest Company (CIC). They are independently regulated by the Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Company and registered with the Fundraising Regulator.
Media and Strategic Partners
Promod Esports was founded in 2019 by a group of passionate esports industry veterans who want to use our knowledge and expertise to create authentic B2C connections for IP owners. As an esports and gaming solutions agency we use our experience & knowledge to advise and consult on esports strategies for clients; creating, organising and managing end-to-end tournaments, events & broadcasts. Our holistic approach enables us to have a range of impact for our clients, from creating meaningful experiences for customers to adding value for shareholders.
The Story Mob is an international consultancy offering strategic communications counsel to brands, teams, streamers, event organizers, investors and more in the gaming space. Based on years of experience with the world’s largest competitive gaming communities, we help you cut the fluff and create impactful, authentic outreach to gaming fans.