The UK's inaugural First Light Film Awards are to be held in London on February 26.

The awards are part of a $1.6m initiative launched in May 2001 between UK funding body The Film Council and Birmingham-based Hi8us Projects to give young people aged between 7 and 18 the opportunity to make short films on digital video.

There are eight award categories including: Live Action Drama/ Fiction, Documentary, Animation, Comedy, Horror, Film made by under 11's, Film made by over 11's and best Screenplay.

Chair of the Film Council, Sir Alan Parker said, "I've no doubt that some great future filmmakers will come out of this programme, but more importantly, this scheme enables young people to be creative and to express themselves through film from an educational and social point of view. The benefits and rewards I'm sure will be great and I wish all the participants the very best of luck".

To date, the First Light scheme has given around 4,000 young people from across the UK the chance to write, act, shoot and produce more than 250 films about their lives and issues that affect them.