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U.K. Parliament’s Rock and Movie Awards Spawn Sister Competitions at U.S. Congress

LONDON — U.K. rock and movie competitions organized by a Conservative Party politician and voted on by his fellow Members of Parliament has spawned a sister event in the U.S. Congress.

Last week, Britain’s up-and-coming musicians and filmmakers were awarded at the annual Rock the House and Film the House competitions reception at the London home of the U.S. ambassador in the U.K.

Rock the House and Film the House are the largest-ever competitions held at the Houses of Parliament, where the U.K.’s lawmakers sit, and aim to raise awareness of the importance of protecting intellectual property rights among legislators and the public.

The competitions are now heading around the globe over the next 18 months. The U.S. versions are backed by Congresswoman Judy Chu, head of the Creative Rights Caucus in Washington, D.C., and are due be launched in late June, with the finals held in the Capitol building in October.

European Union versions are planned as well, fronted by Syed Kamall MEP, leader of the Conservative and Reformists Group in the EU Parliament. The competitions will be launched in September, with the finals taking place in Brussels in 2016. Australian editions are to be launched in January 2016 with Dangermouse Productions.

The U.K. reception for the competitions’ winners is normally held on the House of Parliament balcony, but in founder Mike Weatherley’s final year as a Member of Parliament in the Commons, the event was moved to the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park.

Weatherley said: “Rock the House and Film the House was always a special event bringing music and filmmakers into Parliament for a social relaxed evening with a serious message. MPs engage with a demographic and industry often new to them, and filmmakers and rising talent get to engage with politics.”

The new Under 19s award went to three-piece New Project. The South Devon-based band are made up of 14-year-old leading singer Zach Cornish, his 13-year-old brother Ben on guitar and “Danimal” on drums, who is 11.

Mancunian rockers Mohawk Radio picked up best band, and Mark Sullivan won the solo award. Best live music venue went to Colchester Arts Center, which is a 400-capacity venue housed in a grand Victorian church.

The Mike Weatherley Discretionary Award was given to By Definition, who have already toured with the likes of Black Label Society and Blackstone Cherry. The last of the awards, dubbed the “Rockies,” was picked up by Digital Criminals for best music video for their track “Got to Go There.” The female-fronted electro-rock outfit have already featured on Blank TV and received radio play from BBC Introducing.

The sole Film the House winner went to “Around Again,” directed by Stewart Addison and produced by Brendan O’Neill. It was filmed with a volunteer cast of local actors, re-enactors, a pyrotechnics expert and a crew of 50 over just one weekend. The budget was £900 ($1,340). The story is loosely inspired by Irene Nemirovsky’s “Suite Francaise.”

David Bristow, executive director at United International Pictures, said: “Film the House is a tribute to Mike Weatherley’s energy and imagination that he has created a unique and valuable forum, which both showcases the talent of new filmmakers and also serves to highlight the importance of intellectual property to our Parliamentarians.”

Weatherley added: “For me personally it was a fantastic culmination of five years as an MP championing IP rights. Standing down has a lot of regrets, but I look back on what has been achieved over the last five years with a huge amount of pride. And of course I will keep a close eye on how the competition develops in the U.K. — and in the USA (launching later this year) and in the EU and Australia in 2016.”

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