The Big Pitch, a new competition from UK-based micro studio Moxie Makers, has short listed eight projects to compete for a feature film production prize worth up to $500,000 (£250,000).

The scheme, supported by Skillset, was launched through Ipso Facto Films, (which manages Moxie Makers) in December 2007 at the Northern Lights Film Festival (NLFF) in Newcastle and will provide training and development for six producer/writer/director teams as they compete for the prize.

A panel whittled down more than 200 applications to 12 teams, which were invited to interview for eight places. The panel consisted of Christine Alderson and Hayley Manning from Moxie Makers, Lorianne Hall from Ipso Facto Films, Eve Gabereau from Soda Pictures and Denise Parkinson from Bauer Media.

The eight projects include psychological thriller Different Shades Of Graham, teen romance Leanne Loves Pierre, black comedy Till Jihad Do Us Part, Christmas comedy Red Sleigh Down, thriller Blackout, romantic comedy Upgrade Your Man, comedy horror The Brightness and road movie Absolution.

The selected teams will take part in an intensive four-day workshop at the end of April. After the workshop, the panel will select the final six projects at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

The remaining six contestants will spend the following four months working with industry professionals and four get to sell their feature film ideas at the NLFF 2008 to compete for the $500,000 (£250,000) production prize.

The winner will be guaranteed production finance from Moxie Makers, which includes a post-production deal with Molinare, guaranteed UK distribution with Soda Pictures and international sales representation with Moviehouse Entertainment. The winner will also see its gala film premiere at the NLFF 2008.

'The quality of the projects that applied for The Big Pitch was outstanding and all of the eight selected projects have the potential to be fantastic films,' said Christine Alderson, founder of Moxie Makers. 'We're now at an exciting stage where we will see how all the films develop over The Big Pitch workshop and beyond. This is a great opportunity for all the filmmakers involved and Moxie Makers are excited to be at the forefront of developing new talent in the UK.'