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Two contests invite college filmmakers to submit original work

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Headline: Two contests invite college filmmakers to submit original work

Layercake: 32nd Annual College Television Awards and indie film Grassroots could get students noticed by film industry

By ROBIN MIGDOL

Aggie Arts Editor

Student filmmakers are invited to submit their work to two contests: The 32nd Annual College Television Awards and the upcoming indie film Grassroots.

Each contest offers aspiring filmmakers, producers, directors, composers and animators the opportunity to have their work viewed by industry professionals and, if they win, a national audience and the beginning of a career in film and television.

The 32nd Annual College Television Awards are nicknamed “The College Emmys.” Students currently enrolled in a college or university can submit original short films, webisodes, newscasts, commercials and more, which will be judged by members of the Television Academy. Winners in 14 different categories will be awarded cash prizes and/or scholarships at an awards ceremony in Hollywood.

“The truth is that college students – and all the way down to six-year-olds – are the future of the industry,” said Debbie Slavkin, program manager of the Academy of Television Foundation. “The earlier we start recognizing their work, the earlier students will be recognized by production companies and studios and start to get a leg up on the process much sooner than they otherwise would.”

This year, the Television Academy teamed up with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to create a brand-new category. The Geena Davis Focus on Diversity and Gender Equality in Children’s Media award aims to reward students whose work, geared toward children ages 2 to 11, dispels stereotypes and displays a balance between male and female roles.

In another new feature, applicants may have the opportunity to read comments from the judges about their submissions.

Slavkin said past winners at the College Television Awards, including 9 director Shane Acker and television producer Greg Berlanti, have gone on to be nominated for Oscars and find great success in the film and television industry.

The deadline for submissions for the 32nd Annual College Television Awards is Jan. 12, 2011.

In another contest, students are invited to submit their own original infomercials to be featured in Grassroots, a film starring Jason Biggs, Joel David Moore and Cedric the Entertainer. The movie is based on the true story of Grant Cogswell, who ran for Seattle’s city council in 2001 despite having little experience in politics.

“In the film there’s a scene where [the campaign manager] Jason Biggs is kind of down and out and he’s up late watching TV, and on TV there’s this infomercial,” said Katie Faulknor, Grassroots‘ trans-media coordinator. The infomercial Biggs watches on TV will be the winning video from this contest.

Faulknor said the infomercial must be appropriate for the year 2001 and cannot endorse a specific brand, though students are encouraged to be creative and funny. The entries will be voted on by the general public, but the film’s stars, producers and director Stephen Gyllenhaal will view some of the submissions and have the power to select their favorites.

“Even if you don’t win you have the chance for your work to be seen by professionals,” Faulknor said. “All of our fans and everyone who’s involved in the film will see your film and that’s a pretty big opportunity.”

The deadline for Grassroots is Dec. 1.

Technocultural studies Director and Associate Professor Jesse Drew said contests like Grassroots and the College Television Awards are a great opportunity for students’ work to get noticed beyond the classroom.

“[Entering contests] is a wise thing to do. It forces you to get your act together and polish up the work you’ve done,” Drew said. “I always tell my students, don’t just do this for the assignment. You should create something you’re proud of that goes beyond the university.”

Drew said the UC Davis Film Festival will also begin accepting submissions soon.

For more information on how to enter the College Television Awards, go to emmysfoundation.org. To enter the Grassroots infomercial contest, go to the Grassroots (Movie) Facebook page.

ROBIN MIGDOL can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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