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AmazonVideo offers promo film-makers £30,000 prize fund and fast-track onto platform in front of millions of UK & US AmazonVideo customers

PromaxBDA UK Short Film Festival 2016 at ‘The New Normal’ Conference at Here East, London 3 November 2016

This year’s PromaxBDA UK Short Film Festival includes Amazon Video as its latest sponsor and is now open for entries.

Produced in association with SuperGrizzly by Matthew White – founder and director of the Festival, the showcase is a chance for television promotion and marketing professionals to present original, creative longer-form work to their peers and the international audience reached by Amazon Video, and be recognised for the contribution they make to the television and film industries.

Often seen as the “unsung heroes” of television, this year’s showcase will offer these film-makers the opportunity to share in a prize fund of £30,000 which can be used for anything from upgrading filming equipment to funding their next big film, as well as an exclusive opportunity to be supported by Amazon Video Direct and have their content uploaded onto Amazon Video. This means that short films submitted by original and independent content maker scan be found on Amazon Video, alongside Amazon Original and Exclusive TV and film content from the likes of Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott. This represents a unique opportunity for film-makers to be “discovered” and reach an audience in the millions across the UK and US.

Every film submitted will be personally viewed by Amazon Video Direct, a self-releasing platform for professional video makers; a selection of independent film-makers and the Board of PromaxBDA UK, a leading non-for-profit organisation representing the UK television and digital marketing & design industry.

From the submissions, five finalists will be chosen for all-day screenings in the Short Film Festival Lounge at PromaxBDA UK’s ‘The New Normal’ Conference on 3 November 2016 at Here East, London. The event will house over 500 television, media, marketing and design professionals along with leading industry figures who will be speaking at the event, including those from BBC, ITN, NBC Universal International, Sky, Channel 4, Viceland, Facebook and Amazon. The winner will be announced the following day, 4 November 2016, with a teaser screening and presented with their award by Russell Morris (Amazon Video Marketing & Merchandising Director) at the PromaxBDA UK Awards 2016 at Hilton Park Lane, London, hosted by comedian Kathryn Ryan, and sponsored by ENVY Post Production.

The Call for Entries closes 27 October 2016.

PromaxBDA Chair, Frank Radice comments:

“The PromaxBDA UK Short Film Festival sponsorship with Amazon Video is all about championing promo-makers – the unsung heroes of television. Promo-makers are film-makers and deserve visibility for their longer-form creativity. We’re excited to be offering this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those people to have their work recognised in the same way that established film-makers like your Woody Allens and Quentin Tarantinos do.

Amazon Video is the perfect sponsor – they are at the leading edge of ‘The New Normal’. They are at the pinnacle of digital video distribution, and to have them support the PromaxBDA UK Short Film Festival is to bring this fantastic array of content creators into a new level of prominence in the industry. We are proud to work with Amazon Video and SuperGrizzly to showcase this wonderful creative at our Conference and Awards.”

PromaxBDA Vice-Chair, Marc Ortmans comments:

“Since 2010, the Festival has become an essential part of our Conference as it is our major showcase for what raw creativity and talent can really do when given a blank sheet of paper. There will be a special screening lounge running all day at the Conference so fellow industry peers can recognise the talent on offer. The winner will receive the influential Muse Award at the PromaxBDA UK Awards 2016, which gives film-makers invaluable industry exposure whether to attract future funding to for further accolades; in fact, one of our previous winners has gone on to be listed by both BAFTA and the Academy Awards for their short film.”

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Car sector seeks more UK government support as output tumbles



Car sector seeks more UK government support as output tumbles 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak should use next week’s budget statement to help boost the car industry’s competitiveness, a trade industry body said on Friday, as production tumbled to its lowest January level since 2009.

Sunak is due to detail how he will further support the economy amid COVID-19 restrictions on March 3.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the furlough scheme that protects jobs should be extended, more support for training was needed and manufacturing investment should be encouraged through reform of the business rates tax.

“Next week’s budget is the chancellor’s (finance minister) opportunity to boost the industry by introducing measures that will support competitiveness, jobs and livelihoods,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.

“We need to secure our medium to long-term future by creating the conditions that will attract battery gigafactory investment and transform the supply chain.”

Output in January fell by 27% year-on-year to 86,052 vehicles, hit by factors including dealership closures during a latest COVID-19 lockdown, international supply chain problems and the change in trading terms with the European Union.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by William Schomberg)

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Exclusive: Portugal sees green hydrogen output by end-2022, $12 billion in investment lined up



Exclusive: Portugal sees green hydrogen output by end-2022, $12 billion in investment lined up 2

By Sergio Goncalves

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal will start producing green hydrogen by the end of 2022 and already has private investment worth around 10 billion euros ($12 billion) lined up for eight projects that are expected to move forward, Environment Minister Joao Matos Fernandes said.

He told Reuters in a telephone interview there were also several “pre-contracts for the purchase and assembly of electrolysers” to produce the zero-carbon fuel made by electrolysis out of water using renewable wind and solar energy.

Such hydrogen is more expensive to extract than the heavily polluting conventional method of using heat and chemical reactions to release hydrogen from coal or natural gas, known as brown and grey hydrogen respectively.

Hydrogen is now mostly used in the oil refining industry and to produce ammonia fertilisers, but sectors such as steelmaking, transportation and chemicals are beginning to develop large-scale hydrogen applications to gradually replace fossil fuels as countries try to reduce pollution.

The European Commission has mapped out a plan to scale up green hydrogen projects across polluting sectors to meet a net zero emissions goal by 2050 and become a leader in a market analysts expect to be worth $1.2 trillion by that date.

“By the end of 2022, there will certainly be green hydrogen production in Portugal,” Matos Fernandes said. “Green hydrogen will, over time, allow Portugal to completely change its paradigm and become an energy exporting country.”

He said seven groups had submitted applications under Europe’s IPCEI scheme for common-interest projects to make part of a planned export-oriented “hydrogen cluster” near the port of Sines, from where hydrogen could be shipped to Rotterdam. Total investment there is estimated at some 7 billion euros.

A consortium including Portugal’s main utility EDP, oil company Galp, world’s largest wind turbine maker Vestas, among others, is behind one of the projects.

In Estarreja in north Portugal, local firm Bondalti Chemicals aims to invest 2.4 billion euros in a hydrogen plant.

Altogether, these envisage an installed capacity of over 1,000 megawatts (MW).

Matos Fernandes said Portugal was also negotiating with Spain the construction of a pipeline for renewable gases, including hydrogen, from Sines to France, crossing Spain.


Spain and Portugal also want to develop an ambitious cross-border lithium project taking advantage of the geographical proximity of their lithium deposits and aiming to cover the entire value chain from mining to refining, cell and battery manufacturing to battery recycling, he said.

Portugal is already a large producer of low-grade lithium mainly for the ceramics industry, but is preparing to make higher-grade metal used in electric car batteries.

A much-awaited licensing tender for lithium-bearing areas that has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic should take place by the year-end, Matos Fernandes said.

He promised the tender would address environmental concerns by local communities and there would be no lithium mining “at any cost”.

The minister also said Portugal would use its six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union to finalise a landmark law that would make the bloc’s climate targets irreversible and speed up emissions cuts this decade, expecting it to be approved in the first half of 2021.

(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Andrei Khalip and David Evans)


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Under fire in EU, AstraZeneca CEO says ‘hopefully’ will meet vaccine supply goals



Under fire in EU, AstraZeneca CEO says 'hopefully' will meet vaccine supply goals 3

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot said on Thursday he hoped to meet the European Union’s expectations on the number of COVID-19 vaccines the company can deliver to the bloc in the second quarter, after big cuts in the first three months of the year.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has been under fire in the EU for its delayed supplies of shots to the 27-nation bloc, which ordered 300 million doses by the end of June.

“We are working 24/7 to improve delivery and hopefully catch up to the expectations for Q2,” Soriot told EU lawmakers in a public hearing.

Under its contract with the EU, the company has committed to delivering 180 million doses in the second quarter.

Soriot did not mention the 180 million target, but said he was confident the company will be able to increase production in the second quarter using factories outside the EU that had no production problems, including in the United States.

He confirmed the company was trying to get 40 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the EU by the end of March, which is less than half the amount it promised for the quarter in its contract.

The EU, which has fallen far behind the United States and former member Britain in vaccinating its public, has repeatedly urged the firm to deliver more.

Lower-than-expected yields – the amount of vaccine that can be produced from base ingredients – at its factories hurt output in the first three months.

Asked about supplies to Britain, which relies on the same factories used by the EU, Soriot said the former EU member with a population of around 66 million was smaller, and noted that most doses produced in the EU were used to serve the EU which has a population of about 450 million.

Executives from rival drugmakers that have developed or are testing COVID-19 vaccines, including Moderna Inc and CureVac NV were also part of the panel.

But most questions were directed at Soriot amid anger that the company has failed to deliver promised vaccine quantities to the bloc on schedule.

Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said the company has experienced fluctuations as the U.S. biotech group ramps up output of its COVID-19 vaccine.

He said usually a company would stockpile product ahead of a launch, but it is shipping every dose it makes, leaving it without any spare inventory.

His comments came a day after the company increased its output target for this year and 2022 as it invests in additional manufacturing capacity.

(Reporting by Josephine Mason in London and Francesco Guarascio in Brussels; Editing by Susan Fenton, Bill Berkrot and Keith Weir)


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