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Focus Forward's 'Short Films, Big Ideas' Competition Hits LAFF; Offers $100K Prize for Grand-Prize Winner

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood June 13, 2012 at 7:37PM

Focus Forward first announced its $200K Filmmaker Challenge at Sundance in January, and will be at LA Film Fest starting tomorrow (June 14-24) to encourage festival attendees and emerging talent to get in on the competition as well. "Short Films, Big Ideas" will ultimately be a series of 30 three-minute nonfiction films.
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Focus Forward Filmmaker Challenge
Focus Forward Filmmaker Challenge

Focus Forward first announced its $200K Filmmaker Challenge at Sundance in January, and will be at LA Film Fest starting tomorrow (June 14-24) to encourage festival attendees and emerging talent to get in on the competition as well. "Short Films, Big Ideas" will ultimately be a series of 30 three-minute nonfiction films.

The selected films should "explore the incredible human power of ideas and invention" and will screen at a number of prestigious international film festivals, followed by day-and-date distribution online. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top five entries, with $100,000 going to the Grand Prize Winner.

Qualifying films for the Filmmaker Challenge are: "Three-minute end-to-end stories about people or organizations whose innovative efforts in medicine, computer science, robotics, engineering, green energy, or other fields of art and knowledge have had a significant positive impact on humanity.

Recent, cutting-edge inventions that are changing how we live today are of special interest."100 Filmmaker Challenge films will be made available online through Vimeo, and will sit alongside the first 30 films produced by Focus Forward filmmakers. The Grand Prize and Jury Award winners will be announced at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

This article is related to: Los Angeles Film Festival, Sundance Institute , Short Film, Shorts


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.