Wednesday, October 29, 2008

‘13th Amendment’ Wins Grand Jury Award in Inaugural iReport Film Festival

CNN Press Release - CNN Worldwide this week announced the winners of the iReport Film Festival, the network’s first user-generated short film competition. Following the theme “Campaign 2008,” the iReport Film Festival challenged filmmakers to document this year’s presidential campaign from their personal vantage point, whether they were volunteering for a campaign or had compelling stories about this election they wanted to document creatively.

Two short films were honored: “13th Amendment” received the Grand Jury Award, selected by a blue ribbon panel of judges; and “The Electoral College: Barack Obama and John McCain College Roommates” was bestowed the Audience Award, voted on by the community.

“It's exciting to give our audience the opportunity to express their creativity around this election,” said Sue Bunda, executive vice president of content development and strategy for CNN Worldwide. “This film festival marks just one of numerous ways where we have engaged our users and empowered them to take a part in this election.”

For the Grand Jury Award-winning short film “13th Amendment,” Mike Dennis of Philadelphia, Pa., followed his 90-year-old grandmother on her trek to vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 Pennsylvania primary. The film, depicting the lifelong voter’s first opportunity to cast a vote on behalf of a black man for U.S. president, can be found at

In comments about “13th Amendment,” Grand Jury member and film reviewer Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times said: “In less than five minutes, Mike Dennis tells a complete story with an inspirational message. I was impressed by all the entries, and I'm sure I'll see many of these names on feature-length films and documentaries in the years to come.”

CNN also presented an “Audience Award” to “The Electoral College: Barack Obama and John McCain College Roommates” based on votes cast by users. Submitted by Franco Carapellotti and Zach Hawrot, this short film takes a comedic look at the trails and tribulations of what would happen if Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama were assigned to the same dorm room in college. This short film can be found at

As part of their awards, the filmmakers will receive a trip to Washington, D.C., during the presidential inauguration and a high-definition video camera.

For the selection of the Grand Jury Award, CNN enlisted the following blue ribbon panel of industry experts: Lee Daniels, president and CEO of Lee Daniels Entertainment and producer of the award-winning film Monster’s Ball; Robert Davi, an actor whose resume includes a villainous role in the James Bond film License to Kill; Rachel Campos Duffy, a pioneer of reality television pioneer and host of the AOL Living Web site; Alex Gibney, 2008 Academy Award® winner for best documentary for Taxi to the Dark Side; Dennis Haysbert, an actor best known for his role as President David Palmer in the television series 24; Evan Coyne Maloney, a documentary filmmaker, video blogger and editor of the Web site Brain Terminal; Kimberly Rivers Roberts, 2008 Grand Jury Sundance Film Festival winner for Trouble the Water; Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times columnist and former co-host of At The Movies with Ebert and Roeper; and Fred Willard, an actor known for his comedic roles in such films as Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman.

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.

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