'The Power of Words' - New Short Film Compilation Celebrating Nelson Mandela’s words

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by Tambay A. Obenson
April 2, 2013 5:21 PM
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Full details via press release below...

New York, N.Y. - A spectacular visual and inspirational message will greet New Yorkers and visitors to the Crossroads of the World this April as part of a synchronized program on fifteen of the largest digital screens in Times Square.  “The Power of Words,” a new short film compilation of Nelson Mandela’s words, pays tribute to the peaceful vision of the South African leader on the occasion of his upcoming 95th birthday and was created especially for the Times Square screens. Throughout April, the film will air from 11:57 pm – midnight as part of the Midnight Moment: A Digital Gallery, a presentation of the Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts in collaboration with the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) and Nelson Mandela Foundation.  The showing also coincides with National Poetry Month.

The words of Nelson Mandela – made up of text edited from numerous speeches – will collide, float, pour and burst onto the screens through a dramatic, cosmic blue background in the collaborative work, created by Nabil Elderkin, Andrew van der Westhuyzen and Gregory Stern., “The Power of Words” project, sponsored by Montblanc, was created in response to a challenge by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and TFI to inspire filmmakers to create short films that highlight the enduring impact of words and the resonance of Mandela’s message through multiple eras and generations. This public video piece was created by one of the directors, Nabil Elderkin, in collaboration with animator Andrew Van Der Westhuyze, to help bring greater public awareness to the initiative, which will continue later this year with four additional filmmakers, who will work with TFI and Out of Africa Entertainment to create original short films based on quotes from Mandela’s teachings that will be released throughout the year. To help further spread the teachings of Mandela, TFI will spearhead the creation of an additional online video that will allow viewers around the world to have a virtual experience of “The Power of Words” public video piece beyond its run in Times Square.

Alan High, Chairman of the Times Square Advertising Coalition and President & General Manager of Clear Channel Outdoor Spectacolor & Mall Divisions, said: “We are thrilled to showcase this moving film and share Nelson Mandela’s teachings as part of the Midnight Moment program.  It has always been our aim to delight and inspire all who come to Times Square.”

Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said: “Nelson Mandela’s words have etched their place in the history of progress and peace. It is important that we continue to revisit them – on his 95th birthday and on other days – and Times Square, as the world’s town square, is a place they will have wide-reach and resonance.”

Jane Rosenthal, Co-Chairman of TFI, said: “In April 2002, Nelson Mandela opened the first Tribeca Film Festival with his inspiring words of comfort, support and determination to revitalize our City after 9/11. We are honored to celebrate Mandela as we launch the ‘Power of Words’ film series.”

Artist, Andrew van der Westhuyzen said: ““When we first heard about the Midnight Moment project, we were really excited to create something for a canvas as epic as Times Square.   It’s one of the most unique forums for public art in the world, but it’s also very challenging.  Times Square is this visual assault; it’s all lights and color and constant movement. We thought about what might be the most effective way to get people’s attention when everything’s constantly fighting for it? So, rather than compete with the frenzy of visual noise, we decided to tone down the volume and create a moment of breath.”

Kweku Mandela said: “Times Square in itself is an inspiring place to be. All the cultures, people and energy melt into this unique and diverse pot of rich experiences. To be able to launch this unique project that will extend my grandfather’s legacy and highlight the impact we as people can have on our community and the world is what excites me the most about this collaborative project.

Midnight Moment is the largest coordinated effort in history by the sign operators in Times Square to display synchronized, cutting-edge creative content on electronic billboards and newspaper kiosks throughout Times Square every night. The program, formerly known as Times Square Moment: A Digital Gallery, premiered in May 2012 and is organized and supported by the Times Square Advertising Coalition in partnership with Times Square Arts, the public art program for the Times Square Alliance, with additional partners of participating sign holders and artists. Past artists featured in the program include Robert Wilson; Tracey Emin; Seoungho Cho; Vicki DaSilva, Surabhi Saraf, and Elly Cho; Erika Janunger; Takeshi Murata; Bel Borba with Burt Sun and André Costantini; Brian Gonzalez (aka Taxiplasm); Björk and Yoko Ono. For more information on past projects, please visit www.TimesSquareNYC.org/MidnightMoment.

Each night, Times Square becomes a digital art gallery through dazzling visuals on select billboards and newsstands. Every show begins at 11:57pm with a "countdown" that signals the start of the 3 minute nightly presentation. Content changes monthly; selected works are announced in the weeks preceding the start of a new show as are the exact signs participating in that month's selection. 

The following digital screens are participating in the March Midnight Moment: ABC Super Sign, American Eagle Times Square, Bank of America, CEMUSA, City Outdoor, JVC Screen, NASDAQ, Spectacolor HD129 / Times Square Museum & Visitor Center Marquee, ClearChannel HD128, Spectacolor HD127 / CNN Screen, Times Square Museum & Visitor Center, Viacom North & South (SL Green Realty) Thomson Reuters, and 7TS (7 Times Square). 

Guidelines for artist and designer participation in future programs are located on the Times Square website.

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