On Saturday, October 11, I had the privilege of being one of four judges at the first ever Golden Brickies awards for a UK LEGO Star Wars competition, launched last month via their Facebook page. In homage to the legendary movie franchise and upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, LEGO invited families across the UK to take part in an epic challenge to discover the next generation of talent, including wannabee film makers and photographers. The reaction to the contest was overwhelming, the fan creations were astounding, and as judges we had difficulty in choosing the winners from the hundreds of entries, which just highlights the power of imagination when using LEGO bricks. The awards ceremony took place at the LEGOLAND Resort Hotel in Windsor.
The other judges included Eloise Kurtis (LEGO Star Wars brand manager in the UK), Milun Simpson (winner of LEGO Star Wars dream bedroom competition earlier this year), and all round superstar and one of the busiest men in show business, Warwick Davis.
The invited audience were all seated by 11 a.m. and many had come to the event dressed in full Star Wars costume, with little Ewoks, Chewbaccas, and mini Princess Leias too. I was deemed a Jedi for the judging and so donned my best Jedi costume for the proceedings hosted by Mark Campbell from LEGO, who also made a grand entrance as a Jedi, before throwing off his cloak to reveal a tuxedo.
After an explanation of how the ceremony would proceed it was time for a challenge for everybody, including the judges: who could build a LEGO Star Wars Microfighter in the quickest time? Anybody that knows Warwick will attest to the fact that he is hugely competitive and whatever he sets his mind too he normally excels at — playing a starring role in Spamalot (during which he sang a solo), acting, presenting, being a wonderful father, or winning the celebrity edition of the Great British Bake Off, he really is a star. With that in mind, and reminding him that my team beat him and won the first official Star Wars Supper Quiz in aid of MediCinema a couple of years ago, he was determined to beat me. Unfortunately, we were both beaten by a 12-year-old boy, Jonathan, who managed to build his Microfighter in just a few minutes — that boy happened to be my son, so I wasn’t too upset. I did manage to beat Warwick in the end though, he was just a few seconds behind me in finishing.
After that we got on with the important task of handing out the awards. The first of four awards was presented by Lucy Fisher, who was standing in for Eloise. The award for Best Picture went to Guy Frankland with his entry of “It’s Ladies Knight at the Jedi Temple.”
I then presented the award for the Best Video to “Luke to the Rescue,” created by Tim Sutcliffe with his sons George and Evan.
Our youngest judge, Milun (aged only 5), then presented the Best Build award to Nick Sweetman for his entry “May the Fourth Party.”
The final award for Overall Winner was presented by Warwick to Daniel Jamieson and his girlfriend Vicki Smith for their video “Snowtrooper Attack.”
Each of the winners got an exclusive Golden Brickies C-3PO statue, a year’s supply of LEGO Star Wars, and a year’s entry into LEGOLAND. After all the obligatory photos, the winner of the Best Dressed Person was chosen and the judges and audience all agreed it had to be the very cute baby Wicket. After some fun, which included taking selfies with all of us wearing stormtrooper masks, we were treated to a light lunch followed by the rest of the afternoon in LEGOLAND.
Overall Winner, Daniel Jamieson, 24, from London commented: “I can’t believe I have won a Golden Brickies award! I have never won anything like this before and I am really excited to even be considered. This really is a once in a lifetime prize and I can’t wait to get building the year’s supply of LEGO Star Wars sets!”It was also a great time to network with the many people present at the awards. On the judges panel, I sat next to Lucy Fisher, a new LEGO UK PR exec, and it was great to talk to her about some of the new products coming from LEGO over the next 12 months as well as help her finish her Microfighter.
Warwick came with his son and daughter and it’s always great to see them having fun together. I’ve known Warwick well for many years and we’ve been involved with lots of projects together, so I thought I’d ask him if he’d been approached for a part in Episode VII yet. “No” came the stern reply. I told him that there’s still hope, as at the time of the awards there was still roughly a month’s principal photography left and since then, it seems like all our wishes as fans have come true — as have Warwick’s — as only five days after the event he finally got that call!
Photo of the winners/judges (left to right… Lucy Fisher, LEGO; Mark Campbell, MC/LEGO Master Builder; Tim Sutcliffe with sons Evan and George, Best Video; Daniel Jamieson, Overall Winner; Guy Frankland, Best Picture; Milun Simpson, Judge; Nick Sweetman, Best Build; Warwick Davis, Judge; and James Burns, Judge).
Warwick said: “I am so thrilled and honored to be a part of this epic LEGO Star Wars event, showcasing the next generation of filmmakers, LEGO builders, and photographers! The enthusiasm and pure talent on display today from LEGO Star Wars fans both young and old, is truly inspiring. Meeting all the fans of the LEGO Star Wars universe, you can literally feel the excitement building ready for next year’s movie release.”
Congratulations to all this year’s winners and for those that didn’t have enough time to enter or want to try again, then there’s good news as it looks like the Golden Brickies will be back again next year — I can’t wait to see what amazing creations and videos are made for us to judge. Thanks to LEGO UK and Norton PR for inviting me to get involved and for putting on such a great event.