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“Democracy Is...” International Video Challenge
By Ritesh Kumar
02/10/2008, Fiji


The US Embassy Suva announces an international competition titled the Democracy Video Challenge - a public-private partnership initiative to engage young filmmakers, democracy activists and citizens from around the world in a global dialogue on democracy.  Contestants in the Challenge are asked to create short (three minute) videos that complete the phrase: "Democracy is..."  

The prize package includes:

• An all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., New York and Hollywood.
• A screening of the winning videos.
• Exposure to filmmakers and the U.S. film and television industry.
• Meetings with democracy advocates from government, the media and civil society.

The guidelines are as follows:-
i)Contestants must be 18 or older to enter the competition.  A designated individual may submit on behalf of a younger film maker.
ii)Video submissions may use any narrative and technical style, including documentary, fiction, live action or animation.
iii)Entries must have no incitement to violence, no profanity, no pornography, no commercial promotion, and no copyright material.
iv)Entries must be 3 minutes in length, and be in English or have English subtitles.
v)Entry video submissions must be uploaded to the YouTube Contest site at www.youtube.com/democracychallenge by midnight GMT January 31, 2009.
vi)A broadcast-quality copy of the video submissions on tape or DVD must be provided to the U.S Embassy Suva, 31 Loftus St, Suva, by midnight GMT January 31, 2009.
vii)Each Contestant may submit only one Video Submission.

The Challenge will result in the selection of one winning video from each of six regional groupings:  AFRICA, EAST ASIA PACIFIC, EUROPE, NEAR EAST, SOUTH CENTRAL ASIA and WESTERN HEMISPHERE.  Winners will be selected through a multi-step review including country and regional level selections.  Public web-based voting will determine the final winners.  An anonymous category will afford entrants who, for reasons of personal safety or local circumstance, may want a way to enter the contest without providing personally identifying information.

The winning videos from each of the six geographic categories and the anonymous category will be screened at a gala event hosted by the Motion Picture Association of America (September 2009).  In addition, the six regional winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to the United States-- Washington, New York and Los Angeles (The anonymous winner is ineligible to claim the US-based prize).  In Washington, prize activities will focus on democracy with meetings/events with government, media and civil society leaders.  In New York and Los Angeles, they will focus on the U.S. film and television industries, with partners providing access to TV/film sets, meetings with directors, film technicians, professional talent agents, new media experts, and tickets to the Universal Studios theme park in Los Angeles.

Challenge partners for the competition include U.S. democracy and youth activists, media organizations, film experts and academia.  YouTube is providing the video platform. Videos that meet Challenge guidelines will be posted on the Challenge's YouTube page at www.youtube.com/democracychallenge .  More information on the contest is available at the YouTube site and at http://www.videochallenge.america.gov/rules.html.

The Democracy Video Challenge timeline is as follows:-
·January 31, 2009: Video Submissions due
·February 1, 2009 - March 31, 2009: Embassy selects semifinalists.
·April 1 - April 30, 2009: Independent jury selects finalists
·May 15 - June 15 2009: Online voting by the global public
·Mid-June 2009: Seven winners announced
October 2009: Travel to the United States
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