US screenwriter-director Geoffrey Fletcher talks about collaborating with Bombay Sapphire on its Imagination Series short film competition, now in its second year.

“People often test themselves physically by running marathons but I don’t know how often they test the limits of their imagination,” explains Precious scriptwriter Geoffrey Fletcher, on his decision to team up for a second time with Bombay Sapphire on their short film competition Imagination Series.

Launched in 2012, the competition offers aspiring film-makers the opportunity to make a short film based on a skeletal script provided by Fletcher.

A judging panel, led by Fletcher will then select four entries which will go on to be made, whilst a fifth will be chosen by the public. All five films will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014.

With entries now closed for this round, Fletcher and his team are busy sifting through the 1300 film treatments from 68 countries they have received (up from 700 entries from 38 countries in 2012).

“The bredth of genres has been remarkable. Comedy, horror, science fiction, drama,. We’ve seen inspired works in every one of the genres,” says Fletcher, adding: “A lot of people seem to have the apocalypse on their mind.”

The key to the competition’s success, says Fletcher, is providing just enough structure to allow budding film-makers an entry point.

“A lot of the time people appreciate a little bit of framework. The script is a launching point and it’s just enough of a start for people to do wonderful things. The greatest results often come from some sort of collaboration. Structure provides freedom not restriction and convention is often something to be embraced.”

It certainly paid off for 2012 winner James Griffiths whose entry Room 8 led him to securing a job as a commercials director, as well as a UK agent, and a US manager. He has a new short film coming out in October and with a number of short and feature scripts in the pipeline.

“People like James are the reasons we are doing this competition. We are doing it so people can challenge themselves, and go through this process to better realise their creative and imaginative capabilities. Hopefully it will inspire them to continue creating,” says Fletcher, who is also busy creating his own work, having made his directorial debut last year with Violet & Daisy.

“I have a few projects I’m thrilled about, two involve writing for directors I admire and one is adapting a book into a feature film, which I will write, direct and produce,” says Fletcher.

The winners will be announced on October 24.

To read more about the competition click here.