updated 3/31/2006 10:44:37 AM ET 2006-03-31T15:44:37

FYI - Film Your Issue, an “issue film” competition in its second year, is inviting young Americans to add their voice to the public dialogue on contemporary issues via short films.

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The competition invites people 18 to 26, including 7 million college and university students on 1,200 campuses nationally, to create 30-to-60-second films -- live action or animated -- on any issue.

Students may also choose from four suggested subcategories: Global issues/ U.N. Millennium Development Goals; Animal Welfare; Arts as a Global Diplomat and Cultural Bridge; and Music-driven, featuring solo, band, or music-video-styled film in which music presents the issue.

Submission deadline has been extended to Sunday, May 21.

George Clooney , Walter Cronkite and the Dalai Lama have written open letters urging young Americans to take part in the competition and add their voices to the public dialogue on pressing social issues.

'Language of this generation'
“It’s very exciting that such a explicitly idealistic outreach can take wings and mushroom so quickly,among media leaders, academia, the Hollywood community, major corporations, government,” says FYI - Film Your Issue founder HeathCliff Rothman. “I think that change in our society has to come from new paradigms. Visuals and film are the language of this generation. We want to engage young Americans in contemporary issues, invite them to tell us what matters to them, empower them to recognize that their voice is welcome and necessary in the public dialogue, in this case via film.”

The FYI - Film Your Issue ThinkTank will select the semifinalists to be judged by the general public and the FYI VIP Jury.  On May 24, the public voting begins.  The public voting is being hosted by MSNBC.com and MSN Video, in conjunction with MSN Spaces.  FYI - Film Your Issue will be promoted by MSN Spaces, MSNBC.com and MSN Video during the weeks leading up to and during the two-week public voting period.  The VIP Judges will concurrently vote, along with the public, to select their favorites.   The finalists will be determined by a 50-50 combination of public voting and VIP Jury votes.

The top finalist in each of the five categories will be broadcast on mtvU, mtvU Über at mtvU.com, MSN Video and MSNBC.com, and be invited, along with their faculty adviser, to the closing reception at the United Nations headquarters in New York on June 19.

They will also receive a Motorola RAZR V3 mobile phone, and their entries showcased at the Maui Film Festival on June 17.

The competition is backed by such media partners as Microsoft, USA TODAY,mtvU and Entertainment Weekly; national and international organizations like the United Nations and U.N. Millennium Campaign, The Humane Society of the United States and USC Center for Public Diplomacy; nationally and internationally known figures like Walter Cronkite, George Clooney, Sen. Barack Obama, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Gillian Sorensen, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brian Williams, Anderson Cooper, Amy Gross and Shashi Tharoor; and the heads of major studios, publishing, broadcasting and music industries.

For rules and more information on the competition, visit the FYI - Film Your Issue Web site.


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