2018 Prize Winner & Finalists

David Cohen saw off some incredible competition to be crowned the overall winner of our inaugural series.

All four finalists were given the same script from which to make their final short. David's unique interpretation of a 'script within a script' was different, fun, exceptionally cast and well edited.

We invited active film investors and industry professionals to attend a Gala dinner where they were shown all four shorts. They voted in a secret ballot, the votes were counted and the winner was chosen.

 Check out the profiles of the other three seriously talented finalists below!

Jo Southwell

Jo was born in Northampton and holds a PGCE in Secondary Education, BA Hons in Theology & Media and a Post Graduate Diploma in Screen Acting. 

An award-winning director of Irish decent, noted for her ability to cast, create drama, evoke emotion and pace a script to screen, Jo was selected by Directors UK as a mentee to Jon East on KILLING EVE (BBC America) a rare opportunity that has allowed her to develop her own unique style for TV and film directing, a style that is attracting much attention and seeing her work being acknowledged by the likes of BBC and high profile cast. 

Jo established herself as award winning and versatile with titles such as DEIRDRE, COVER ME, THE GUNMAN, PORTALIS and ENTRANCE NO EXIT. 

Representation : Pauline Asper management.

Gustavo Sampaio

Meet Gustavo Sampaio, award-winning editor, independent filmmaker and founder of NoHo CineFest. While attending Penn State to pursue a filmmaking degree, Gustavo got his first break in television as an associate producer for ESPN. With his sheer will compelling him to achieve greater, he began teaching himself the illustrious craft of video editing and moved to California for an opportunity to produce live broadcasts internationally on FOX Sports.

After hundreds of successful shows on FOX, Gustavo joined CBS for an opportunity to combine his passion for storytelling with his innate talent as an editor and has won multiple awards for his exemplary work in investigative news and special reports. In a highly competitive industry, Gustavo has been a sought-after figure in post-production working with Entertainment Tonight and The Insider daily shows and premiere events like the Oscars and Golden Globes. Facebook even hired him to edit the now famous ‘Community Voices’ campaign that has generated millions of views worldwide. Finally pursuing his lifelong dream of filmmaking and recently producing several short films of his own, Gustavo now weaves his background in crime stories and passion for the greater good to tell an enlightening story of a young woman that uses her super powers to combat human trafficking, with plans to develop it into a feature film. His proof-of-concept short film “Gaia” has already earned awards and has created momentum for success.


Myles Yaksich

“Poppies” is Myles Yaksich's directorial debut and entrance to the film industry.

Born in Canada, he learned at a young age to appreciate art and culture through travel. After completing his degree in Finance and Economics, he pursued a career in investment banking and private equity in Singapore and Vietnam.

After several years in South East Asia, he made a change, relocating to Los Angeles and studying film making at UCLA. His first film, “Poppies”, is based on his experiences living and working abroad, and explores universal themes of love and life.

He not only completed “Poppies” in 2018, but also wrapped production on a second short film. He aspires to tell sentimental and emotional stories that blur the line between reality and fantasy, exploring culture, relationships and socio-economics – starting with “Poppies” the feature.