INSPIRED BY the rejuvenation of the British film industry, the Independent on Sunday and BT Payphones have joined forces to launch a search for the next generation of British scriptwriters.

In the last few years, the international success of British films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral (written by Richard Curtis) and The Full Monty (Simon Beaufoy) has helped to raise the profile of British film- makers and screenwriters - and indeed, of all things British.

You can't get much more British than a red phone box: it's as synonymous with Britain as red buses and red letter boxes. There are 140,000 BT public payphones around the country, so it's no surprise that phone boxes feature in so many films shot here. From the shiny steel boxes at Liverpool Street Station, where Tom Cruise picked up instructions from base in Mission: Impossible, to the red box which facilitated the complex negotiations in Local Hero, phone boxes have had starring roles in scores of British films.

Now, the first IoS/BT Payphones Short Film Award challenges you to write a script for a short film (of no more than 10 minutes) that puts a BT payphone firmly in the spotlight. The prize will be pounds 3,000 in cash plus the costs of production (maximum budget: pounds 5,000), and a private screening of the film. The winning script will be produced, in close consultation with the writer, by final-year students at the University of Bradford, which is affiliated to the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television. If the winning author has proven expertise in film-making, alternative production arrangements may be agreed.

Entries should be clearly presented and include soundtrack ideas to give the judges a feel for the mood you are trying to portray. Scripts will be judged by a panel of critics and editors at the IoS together with senior employees of BT Payphones.

Entry forms with full details, terms and rules of the competition are available from: Payphones in Films, c/o Band & Brown Communications, 57 Jamestown Road, NW1 7DB (0171 419 6957). The closing date for entries is 31 July.