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When Boston CSI Darby McCormick finds a raving and emaciated woman hiding at the scene of a violent kidnap, she runs a DNA search to identify the Jane Doe. The result confirms that the woman was abducted five years earlier and has somehow managed to escape from the dungeon in which she's been caged.

With a teenage couple also missing and the Jane Doe seriously ill, the clock is ticking for Darby as she hunts for the dungeon before anyone else disappears or dies. And when the FBI takes over the investigation, it becomes clear that a sadistic serial killer has been on the prowl for decades - and is poised to strike again at any moment. A killer with links to horrors that Darby has desperately tried to bury in her past …

» Extract 1  » Extract 2  » Extract 3

Penguin Books offered one filmmaker the chance to bring a massive debut thriller novel to life on the big screen by producing a trailer for the book, The Missing, to be shown at the Odeon Leicester Square - the biggest cinema in the UK.

Running between 30-40 seconds, the films submitted showcased The Missing as a gripping, dark thriller, and used any devices the filmmakers chose - including music, effects, lighting and graphics. Whether shot in an abandoned warehouse, or filmed in the confines of a bedroom, this competition produced many and varied entries from the brief. All we wanted was a short trailer that scared everyone who saw it into needing to know more…

The Missing Film Competition is now CLOSED.

Congratulations to Liam Garvo
Winner of The Missing Film Competition

Liam won because of the original approach to the brief and the extremely high quality product he ended up with. He has captured the killer perfectly, with the sense of menace that lurks behind his normal exterior. All the judges agreed that less is most definitely more in this instance – Liam has produced a quiet but hugely powerful teaser to the book.

WARNING: This trailer contains images that some viewers may find disturbing.

View Liam's winning entry by clicking on the link below;
The Missing Film Trailer by Liam Garvo

Chris Mooney, author of The Missing said:
“What I loved about the winning trailer, what made it stand head and shoulders above the rest of the entries, was its simple, menacing nature. Each time I watch it, I feel a cold pit in my stomach. It brilliantly captured the mood and atmosphere of the book. I loved it, I absolutely loved it.”

Find out what inspired Liam to make his winning trailer in our interview below;

Is this your first work?
Yes. 'The Missing' trailer is the first thing that I have ever directed. Since then I've directed a 15 min short film called 'Dressing Simon' which we are currently in post production on. And I'm lined up to direct a music video in May. I won't say too much about it but it used to be a popular song and it's a bit of a cult classic, sometimes being referred to as the darkest folk song ever recorded. So I'm really looking forward to that.

How do you feel about your work being shown on the big screen?
Ecstatic! I couldn't believe it when I found out. The DP, Ciro Candia, and I shot it on 35mm anamorphic which will look stunning on the big screen. I can't wait to see it.

What made you want to get into film?
Film is always something that I wanted to do. But I never put my mind to it until 'The Missing' trailer. I also don't think I had enough life experience until recently to be able to direct. So I guess it's a combination of the two.

Which directors / films have influenced you in the past?
There's so many. It would be difficult to list them all. Although if I had to list just a few I'd say that Krzysztof Kieslowski's and his Trois Couleurs: Bleu (Three Colours: Blue) is one of the films that truly captured my heart. It was a visually stunning film and poetic in character development. Truly amazing. I'd also say that David Fincher and his films Seven and Fight Club have had an impact on the way I think about film and characters. I find Fincher's characters tend to be quite raw and rough which makes them more human and beautiful in a gritty sort of way. And I love David Lynch's work. Especially Blue Velvet. Lynch has a very unique way of developing his characters and I find it fascinating to watch.

Were you inspired by the brief for this competition?
Yeah. The idea of potentially having the trailer screened at the Odeon in Leicester Square is what attracted me. I had to give it a go. And with it being only 30-40 seconds I thought it would be a great opportunity to shoot on 35mm as it wouldn't be that expensive relative to shooting a feature.

What approach did you take to the brief – was the final product what you set out to achieve?
After reading the excerpts that were provided as part of the competition, I had a pretty clear idea from the beginning on how I saw the trailer. I wanted to show a calm stillness in the psychopath. And with only 30-40 seconds I wanted to maximise the amount of time he was on the screen so that I could draw the audience into his world. I think it was pretty effective.

How did you find the amazing location?
I found it using's brilliant website. I had a few other places lined up but none of them were as good as the one in the trailer. I held out until the very end before committing. I wanted the location to be perfect. We didn't actually find it until the day before the shoot!

Do you read? If so, which authors do you admire?
I do on occasion when I have the time. I love the passion, loneliness and depth of characters that Gabriel Garcia Marquez creates. His Love in the Time of Cholera is one of the best books I've ever read. I'm looking forward to seeing Mike Newell's film based on the book.

See behind the scenes at Liam's film shoot for The Missing here.

View some of the other chilling entries to The Missing Film Competition by clicking on the links below.

WARNING: These trailers contain images that some viewers may find disturbing.

The Missing Film Trailer by Daniel Birt and Chris Regan

The Missing Film Trailer by Holly Chant

The Missing Film Trailer by Darren Culley

The Missing Film Trailer by Andrew Ireland

The Missing Film Trailer by Christopher Kemble

The Missing Film Trailer by Roxi Khan

The Missing Film Trailer by David Smith and James Weston

The Missing Film Trailer by James R. C. Smith

The Missing Film Trailer by Daniel Swainsbury

The Missing Film Trailer by Mark Triller

The Missing Film Trailer by C Watkiss

The Missing Film Trailer by Lynsey Yarnell


The Missing Film Competition is now CLOSED

1. Each entrant shall create an original short film trailer of approximately 30 seconds duration on the basis of the brief and the information set out on the website ("Site") for promoting "The Missing". Entrants may submit more than one entry. Penguin reserves the right to disqualify any entry that breaches these rules.

2. Winners will be selected by Penguin and notified by 1st May 2007.

3. Penguin will arrange for the winning entry to be screened at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London as a trailer for "The Missing". There is no cash alternative.

4. By entering this competition each entrant confirms that his/her entry is their wholly-owned creation and to the extent that such entry makes use of any third party materials (including but not limited to music) that these have been fully cleared for possible broadcast in cinemas and publication on the website, unless they are no longer protected by copyright or other intellectual property rights. Entrants will keep Penguin harmless from any claims in relation to their entry that the entry infringes the personal or proprietary right of any other person. By submitting an entry, an entrant grants to Penguin a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to edit, publish, make available and distribute the entry throughout the world via the Site and to broadcast it in cinemas, the Penguin website and in any media now known or hereafter invented.

5. Each entrant confirms that he/she will only use any artwork downloaded from the Site for the purposes of creating an entry. Entrants may exhibit/upload their entries on other websites provided their entries are not derogatory in any way, to be assessed by Penguin in its sole discretion.

6. No purchase necessary.

7. Entries must be within the boundaries of acceptable taste, language and decency.

8. All entries may be published on the Site, although Penguin in its discretion may decide not to publish any entry.

9. Winners agree to take part in any publicity to launch "The Missing".

10. Closing date for the competition is 31st March 2007 and all entries must have completed the uploading process by midnight on that date.

11. Open to residents of the UK with the exception of employees of Penguin Books Limited and their families.

12. Winners will be notified by 1st May 2007 and details of the winner and the winning entry will be announced on the Site by 3rd May 2007.

13. It is a condition of entry that all entrants agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

14. The promoter is Penguin Books Limited of 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL.

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