The Department of State and its partners announced the eighteen finalists for the Democracy Video Challenge, an online video competition that asked participants to complete the phrase, “Democracy is...” Also today, public voting to select the six winners opened (www.youtube.com/democracychallenge) and will continue until midnight June 15th (EST).
The finalists, chosen from among a pool of more than 900 entries from 95 countries, represent Brazil (2), Cote d’Ivoire, Germany, India, Iran (2), Japan, Nepal, Philippines, Poland, Serbia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, the United States, Uzbekistan, and Zambia. These videos provide an array of voices and visions about democracy from around the world. The finalists were selected by an independent jury, co-chaired by Michael Apted (President of the Directors Guild of America) and Hernando de Soto (President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy).
Six winners - one each from the Western Hemisphere, Europe, Middle East/North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central Asia and East Asia/Pacific - will be announced mid-June 2009. The winners will receive an all-expense-paid trip in September to Washington, New York and Hollywood. The prize package includes time on television/film sets, meetings with film professionals, democracy advocates, the media, government officials, and special screenings of their videos.
The Democracy Video Challenge was launched online and at the United Nations on International Democracy Day (September 15, 2008). It was created through a unique partnership consisting of democracy and youth organizations, the film and entertainment industry, academia and the U.S. Government. Partners include the Center for International Private Enterprise, Directors Guild of America, International Republican Institute, International Youth Foundation, Motion Picture Association of America, NBC Universal, National Democratic Institute, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, TakingITGlobal, the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, and the U.S. Department of State. YouTube is providing the video platform, and the William Morris Agency is contributing part of the prize package.