Vimeo Users Vie For $200k in Focus Forward Filmmaker Challenge

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Have you found an idea that impacts human development and changes lives for the better? If you can make a short film about it, Vimeo and CINELAN wants to hear from you.

They are awarding $200,000 in prizes for three-minute nonfiction films that tackle innovation and invention as part of Focus Forward Filmmaker Challenge. This gives aspiring documentary filmmakers their chance to have their work recognized at a prominent event.

Damon Smith, Director of Content Strategy & Acquisitions at CINELAN, told NMR:

“Anyone who wins one of these five awards will likely see their career get a big boost overnight… Equally important is that a competition like this highlights the viability of short nonfiction film itself as an artistic form, and provides an opportunity for anyone — veterans, professionals, or amateurs — to grab a camera and tell a story. Some filmmakers may discover a subject in the process that leads to a feature-film concept; others may realize that a sidebar story they had to cut out of a larger film canvas might be a perfect fit for this competition.”

First prize winner gets $100,000, while four other finalists will have the chance to get other cash prizes that range from $50,000 for second place to $10,000 for fourth and fifth place.

Smith said, “We are looking for 3-minute stories about visionaries and thinkers and in some cases everyday folks who have brought a quantum leap to human progress by their efforts and inventions. Game changers, in other words–those who’ve turned convention on its head. We’re especially interested in the accomplishments of inventors, engineers, educators, surgeons, scientists, techies, artists, programmers, backyard tinkerers – i.e. anyone making a difference, utilizing their skills and vision to innovate, share their work, and help sow the seeds of a brighter future.”

If you’re entering the contest, keep in mind that the video must be HD quality and suitable for all screens and must be a complete film, not a snippet of a longer film. You will also need to join Vimeo first, fill out the entry form and then upload it to the site. The great thing is that you can submit as many videos as you like. You can find out more about the contest rules here.

Remember, the contest ends August 23, so get crackin’ on your film now. The 100 semi-finalists in the contest will have their videos featured on the Focus Forward Filmmaker Challenge website. If you win one of the prizes, it will be announced at next year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Smith is expecting anywhere from 500 to 5,000 submissions worldwide and hopes that short-film directors would take this great opportunity to show an innovation or invention that will help many people.

He said, “The FOCUS FORWARD Filmmaker Competition is an opportunity for short-film creators to get inspired and make work, and quite possibly find an enormous audience worldwide, if not win a substantial cash award.”

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