May 4, 2009

Quick Plug: Global Film Initiative "Wing It!" Contest

About a month ago, the fine folks at the Global Film Initiative contacted me to help promote a new film contest they recently launched in partnership with Virgin America airlines. Considering this contest started a month ago, I've really done a terrible job. But six weeks still remain, so it's not too late to get in on it.

If you don't know about the Global Film Initiative, their mission statement is to "promote cross-cultural understanding through the medium of cinema," which obviously makes
my mission statement, "promote and celebrate everything the Global Film Initiative does", from their Global Lens film series to their Bluescreen educational program to their new quarterly contest, "Wing It!".

Before sharing the details about the contest, let me take the opportunity to point you to my reviews of some Global Lens films:

Global Lens 2008:
El Custodio (The Custodian)
Hava Aney Dey (Let the Wind Blow)

Global Lens 2009:
Song from the Southern Seas

Now, self promotion out of the way, let's get to the exciting news and the reason I'm writing this in the first place - the contest...

Overview: Wing It! is a quarterly arts and culture student contest created by the Global Film Initiative and sponsored by Virgin America airlines. The contest challenges students to submit creative videos, essays and multimedia presentations on global culture, and is open to high school and college students in the U.S. and Canada.

Contest: Be a Tour Guide

Ever wondered what it's like to live in Ethiopia? Always wanted to see Ireland? Interested in exploring the world? If you answered "yes," you're like most people and, unfortunately, just like most people, visiting and living in all these places isn't always possible. School, jobs, family, money — everyone has a reason why they never made that trip Egypt, or missed the plane to Micronesia.

But sometimes those "faraway" places you dream about are actually right in your backyard. Most major cities in the U.S. have a Chinatown, some even have a Little India. If you visit Queens you might think you're in Central America and if you head to Boston, the luck of the Irish will be upon you. Visit Seattle and at some point you'll probably run into what is rumored to be the largest Ethiopian population in the world outside Ethiopia.

Here's what we want you to do. Instead of getting on a plane and rushing off to discover the world, show us the world that's right in your own city. Take a video camera, be a tour guide and tell us about an ethnic community and culture that's in your city. Dig deep into your own local haunts to show us that "faraway land" that's actually not so far away. Think you can do that?

How To Enter
  • Create a video between 5–10 minutes in length
  • You must be in the video (i.e. you are the host or tour guide!)
  • The video must focus on only (1) ethnic community & culture
  • You can't just use your family or school as the subject — go out and explore a local community!
  • Read the Official Rules for details, then fill out this entry form and send it with a CD or DVD of your video to:
    The Global Film Initiative
    Attn: Wing It!
    145 Ninth Street
    Suite 105
    San Francisco, CA 94103
Simple enough. You have until June 15th at midnight PST to submit your video. If our judges think yours is the best of the bunch, you'll get two free airline tickets to any destination Virgin America flies and your video will be featured on our education website, Bluescreen!


The first place winner will receive (2) non–refundable tickets to anywhere Virgin America flies and be featured on the Global Film Initiative website, the Bluescreen website and in our newsletter. Second and third place winning videos will also be featured on Bluescreen. Winners will be announced by June 30, 2009.


Now, good news, bad news, and worst news. Good news is that I've heard Virgin America is an awesome airline to fly (check this out), though I've never done so because they don't stop here. Bad news is that it appears the winner will only be able to fly domestically, and not on Virgin Atlantic, which is a different arm altogether of Richard Branson's empire. Worst news is, I'm not a high school or college student, so I can't participate in this anyway.

But if you are, get to work! (And if you aren't, check out the Global Lens 2009 films on their way around the country.)

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