The BT/ Independent on Sunday Short Film Award

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A ccording to legend, Richard Branson spent the early days of his business career working from a public phone-box. Now, a comedy inspired by this story has won the BT Payphones/ Independent on Sunday Short Film Award.

The Booth follows the efforts of a young entrepreneur called Mike Barrett to run a hectic travel agency, using a BT phone-box as his only office. All is going relatively smoothly until a little old lady with a chihuahua manages to occupy Barrett's box at a crucial moment - forcing him to take drastic measures to regain occupation.

The 10-minute screenplay, by young London film-maker Anthony Alleyne, beat off competition from more than 600 other entries to win the national award. The brief was to write a short screenplay set in a public phone-box. As well as the pounds 3,000 prize, Alleyne also receives a pounds 5,000 budget to put his 10-minute film into production.

The 28-year-old grew up in Hanwell, near Ealing, west London, and is already a relatively experienced film-maker. Last summer, after graduating from the London International Film School, he freelanced for the Paramount Comedy Channel, directing four five-minute short films, which were broadcast in October. He is now working for Deep End, a City-based one-stop production, design and editing company.

He said: "I only heard about the award scheme 36 hours before the entries deadline, so I had to work pretty fast to get something ready on time. I'd heard that Richard Branson had started a mail-order record company by using a payphone as his office, and that was my inspiration. It was an interesting project, but I was totally speechless to hear that I'd won."

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