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Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 29, 2008


Award-Winning Director Michael Apted to Serve as Democracy Video Challenge Jury Co-Chair

The Department of State is pleased to announce that renowned filmmaker and documentarian Michael Apted has joined the Democracy Video Challenge as co-chair of its independent jury.

Mr. Apted is currently serving his third term as President of the Directors Guild of America, which protects and extends the creative, working and economic rights of its more than 14,000 members in the United States and abroad. A veteran feature and documentary film director, Apted has directed an extensive list of feature films and documentaries, including Amazing Grace, Gorillas in the Mist, Coalminer’s Daughter, and Nell.

As co-chair, Apted will oversee the independent jury’s selection of 21 video finalists representing all regions of the world. The online voting public then will choose a winner from each region in the spring of 2009. The six Challenge winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC, New York, and Hollywood to meet leaders from top U.S. film schools, government and nongovernmental organizations.

The Challenge involves a unique partnership that includes the State Department as well as the film/entertainment industry (Directors Guild of America, Motion Picture Association of America, NBC Universal), and academia (New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts), pro-democracy organizations (Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute), as well as youth NGOs (International Youth Foundation, TakingITGlobal). YouTube is providing the video platform and the William Morris Agency is contributing part of the prize package.

More information about the Democracy Video Challenge is available at www.youtube.com/democracychallenge or from Sahar Moridani at 310-289-5334 or via email at SMoridani@dga.org.

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Released on December 29, 2008

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