Film Nation: Shorts will be open to UK residents aged 11-25.

The UK has unveiled a new short film competition for young filmmakers to showcase their work at the 2012 Olympics.

The short-film competition, Film Nation: Shorts, which will run each year until 2012, is open to aspiring film-makers aged between 11 and 25 who are based in the UK. In addition, a series of film workshops will take place across the UK in the run up to the Games, which will also be open to young people between 11-25, and will give them the chance to experience hands-on filming techniques.

Film Nation: Shorts is being supported by the UK Film Council, Screen West Midlands, First Light and Panasonic, which will screen the films at Olympic venues, as well as providing camera equipment at the workshops. It is being funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, which has contributed $23.4m (£15.6m) to supporting culture in the Olympics.

Submissions for the first round will open on June 21, when entrants will then have until October 1 to upload their short films to the London 2012 website. The films, which are to be no longer than 3 minutes, must celebrate the “values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games; respect, courage, excellence, friendship, equality, determination and inspiration.”

The first awards ceremony will take place in December this year, with the winning films going on to be screened at London Olympic venues and on big screens across the UK during the 2012 Games.

The initiative has been developed by artistic advisor to the Cultural Olympiad, Craig Hassall, who also ran the cultural programme for the Sydney 2000 Games.

He told the audience at BAFTA’s headquarters in London, where the scheme was launched today: “When I was in Sydney I remember walking into the Olympic stadium and watching these very large screens which were blank until the sports started. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if had young film-makers making films that could be shown on these screens while the stadium was filling up?’ Here we are, 10 years later, and it’s about to happen.”

A Single Man actor Nicholas Hoult was also on hand at the launch. He described the competition as a “once-in-a-lifetime chance for young people to have their films screened in some of the iconic stadiums at the Olympics.” He was joined at today’s event by British actress Georgia Groome and film-maker Destiny Ekaragha (a 2009 Screen Star of Tomorrow).

Meanwhile, Lord Puttnam, who also spoke at the launch, added: “What will emerge from these films will be a snapshot of the way young people see this nation and their lives.”

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