March 06, 2008 16:14 ET

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; Contest Information at:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - 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, provides 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:

"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:

"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.

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