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Contest on videos that address the issues of tolerance

CURRENT TV CHALLENGES VIEWERS TO PLANT “SEEDS OF TOLERANCE”
ONE POD AT A TIME


Network Issues Call for Submissions for Video Contest with $100,000 Grand Prize; Judges Include “Crash” Director Paul Haggis, Edward Norton,
Melissa Etheridge and Margaret Cho

Believing in the transformational power of moving images – and equally moving stories – Current TV is challenging its viewer contributors to create short videos that address the issues of tolerance and understanding diversity with the launch of its “Seeds of Tolerance” initiative. In partnership with the Third Millennium Foundation, whose mission is to promote the understanding of diversity, Current is offering $100,000 to the grand prize winner of this summer-long contest, with guest judges that include 2006 Best Picture Oscar winner Paul Haggis (Crash), actor Edward Norton, musician Melissa Etheridge and comedienne Margaret Cho, among others.

Explaining his support for the campaign, Haggis commented, “Exactly 43 years ago this month, John F. Kennedy said, ‘If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity.’ Unfortunately, that dream is farther than ever from being fulfilled. I commend Current TV for recognizing that it is our differences that make us stronger and for encouraging young people to embrace the spirit of tolerance.”

“Having personally experienced the sting of being labeled ‘different’, I appreciate Current TV’s effort to teach tolerance—or, more accurately, to encourage their viewers to teach their peers,” said guest judge Etheridge. “I encourage all young adults to pick up a camera and spread the important message of tolerance to their peers. You don’t have to be an experienced filmmaker to make a difference.”

Submissions can tell any story relating to the issue of tolerance, discussing topics that include racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism and discrimination based on social class, physical disability, or religion. As of this week, contributors can upload submissions to Current’s web site at www.current.tv/tolerance, and submissions will be accepted until August 15, 2006.

Producers must be 18 or over, and submissions are preferred to be similar in length to Current’s 3-5 minute “pods,” but are welcome up to 10 minutes in length. Each submission must include a maximum of 250 words on why the featured issue is meaningful and how this story can inspire, or has inspired, positive change. Other requirements are posted on Current’s website, and the campaign is open to producers of all levels of experience. Video makers can shoot their stories, rants, and profiles of amazingly tolerant or intolerant people. For additional story ideas, visit www.current.tv/tolerance.

After the August 15 deadline, the panel, including guest judges, will select five semi-finalist videos, to be showcased on Current’s television broadcast. In September, the semi-finalists will be posted online, and Current’s audience will be able to cast votes to select the grand prize winner and two finalists. The grand prize winner will receive $100,000 cash, with an additional $15,000 given to a relevant charity of his or her choice; the two finalists will each receive $10,000 cash. All cash awards will be generously provided by the Third Millennium Foundation. Beyond the “Seeds of Tolerance” finalists, Current may opt to air any of the submissions and will compensate producers accordingly.

Marco Stoffel, president of Third Millennium Foundation, commented, “We’re delighted to fund this project with Current. Change starts with listening. Instead of preaching the message of tolerance to young adults, we want to challenge them to discuss the issue by using their own creativity, voices and perspectives. By making compelling content for TV and the Internet, we invite everyone to join the dialogue.”

Current CEO Joel Hyatt commented, “Current is about empowering young people to share their voice and discuss issues that are important to them. An issue as critical as intolerance should be important to all of us, and I hope that the submissions in this campaign will give us vital insight from this generation on how we can move forward as a society with respect and understanding.”



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