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The celluloid short that is a bit of a Blur: Alex James directs his first film


"If I can make a film, anyone can," jokes Blur's Alex James. The 44-year-old has swapped his bass guitar for a viewfinder, by directing his first film – which explores tiny moments of happiness. James explains that he filmed the short for "$45" and shot it on the fly between Blur's sets at Coachella Music Festival in California last month.

"These days you really don't need a lot of money to make a short film," he adds. "You can more or less do it with a phone if you've got a good idea."

James shot the two-and-a-half-minute movie – which delves into the ephemeral pleasure of music, and how songs "make you smile" – to promote the 6th annual BFI and Virgin Media short film contest, which has a grand prize of £30,000.

James is not the first musician to try directing: recently Beyoncé, Madonna and Noah & The Whale have sat in the director's chairs – though with mixed results.

The contest invites new film-makers – not existing directors – to send in their own mini celluloid submissions by 18 July.