PBS's Independent Lens and the Independent Television Service (ITVS) Launch Filmocracy, a Video Mashup Contest About the Politics of Food

Grand prize is $1,000 and nationwide screenings

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San Francisco, (March 6, 2008)— ITVS Interactive (Independent Television Service) and PBS’s Emmy® Award–winning weekly series Independent Lens today launched the inaugural PBS Independent Lens Filmocracy online video mashup contest, which invites users to “mix it up and make a statement!” Developed as an American Film Institute’s Digital Content Lab prototype, the contest engages audiences and aspiring filmmakers to create short films, three minutes or less, inspired by Independent Lens content. The Independent Lens presentation of KING CORN, a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation, provide the backdrop for the first competition. Directed by Aaron Woolf, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, KING CORN will air on Independent Lens on PBS April 15, 2008. 

The Filmocracy mashup contest asks competitors to make a statement about the politics of food in America, using KING CORN clips and footage from Getty Images. Contestants can also upload their own clips and then mix it all up with the Eyespot online editing tool. The grand prizewinner, chosen by the KING CORN filmmakers, will win $1,000 and have their short screened throughout the U.S. as part of Independent Lens’s Community Cinema screenings. The most popular and highest rated videos will be chosen by Filmocracy site visitors. Additional prizes include the KING CORN soundtrack and DVD, gift baskets from Urban Rustic and a signed copy of The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. The contest runs from March 7 - May 30, 2008 and the winners announced on June 23rd. Contest information at: www.pbs.org/filmocracy 

“The Filmocracy contest truly levels the playing field by allowing anyone with a broadband Internet connection to participate,” said Annelise Wunderlich, a production manager at ITVS. “And it’s our hope that the contest will result in new ways of engaging audiences and providing platforms for civic dialogue inspired by the film’s message.” 

The Filmocracy contest is more than a competition. The “Learn From the Pros” mentorship feature provides an opportunity for anyone to access independent filmmakers’ tricks of the trade. In Inside Indies Learn From the Pros, six short films cover topics including stop-motion animation, the use of archival footage, finding a point of view and more. Learn From the Pros can be found at: pbs.org/independentlens/insideindies/learn/ 

“One exciting part of this project will be watching footage we had labored over for three years encounter fresh eyes and be interpreted differently,” said KING CORN co-producer Ian Cheney. Director Aaron Woolf adds, “It’s increasingly difficult in this day and age to be too precious with your work when all sorts of media are fair game for people to sample, rework and reedit. In this case, to have it happen with a real goal behind it was a worthy experiment.” 

The prototype for Filmocracy was created in the American Film Institute’s (AFI) Digital Content Lab. Filmocracy is a joint project of Independent Lens, the Independent Television Service (ITVS), Eyespot, Getty Images and Exopolis, with guidance from individuals at 20th Century Fox, kontent films and Druid Media. For more information visit: pbs.org/independentlens/filmocracy/ 

About American Film Institutes (AFI) Digital Content Lab 

The AFI Digital Content Lab is the premiere R&D incubator for new forms of digital entertainment. Launched ten years ago, the Lab has generated more than 80 cutting-edge digital media prototypes that consistently set a standard for innovation, excellence, and real-world viability. These proof-of-concept prototypes are conceived and built by collaborative teams of mentors who donate time, vision, and production skills over a three- or six-month hands-on development period. AFI Digital Content Lab prototypes play across an ever-widening spectrum of screens, providing a unique window onto the fast-changing landscape of film, television, games, broadband, and mobile entertainment. In short, the AFI Digital Content Lab invents tomorrow’s media solutions—today. For more information visit: http://www.afi.com/ 

About Getty Images 

Getty Images is the world's leading creator and distributor of still images, footage and multi-media products, as well as a recognized provider of other forms of premium digital content, including music. Getty Images serves business customers in more than 100 countries and is the first place creative and media professionals turn to discover, purchase and manage images and other digital content. Its award-winning photographers and imagery help customers produce inspiring work which appears every day in the world's most influential newspapers, magazines, advertising campaigns, films, television programs, books and Web sites. Visit Getty Images at http://www.gettyimages.com to learn more about how the company is advancing the unique role of digital media in communications and business, and enabling creative ideas to come to life. 

About Eyespot 

Eyespot provides video editing and sharing software that can be easily embedded in any website. Eyespot technology is easy-to-use, intuitive, and accessible for all end-users. Our solution includes next generation video sharing technology, enabling users to share not only via email and embed codes but also to mobile phones, portable players, and other connected devices. By putting creative tools and rights-cleared media into the hands of influencers and connectors, Eyespot enables social media, participation culture, influencers and connectors and in turn leads to the creation of content that attracts legions of viewers, thereby completing the ecosystem that benefits all parties. For more information visit: http://eyespot.com/ 

About Independent Television Service 

ITVS funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy® Award–winning weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10:00 PM on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of the U.S. Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve underserved audiences. Since ITVS’s inception in 1991, its programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing television audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the CPB, a private corporation funded by the American people. For more information about ITVS and its services, visit itvs.org. 

CONTACT: Voleine Amilcar, 415-356-8383 x 244, voleine_amilcar@itvs.org

Posted on March 6, 2008