-- Winning Filmmakers to be Awarded Cash Prize and High-Level Industry Meetings
-- Festival Opens with More Than a Dozen Online Premieres
Moviefone.com(R), the most popular movies destination on the Web*, today announced the Moviefone(R) Short Film Festival, an online festival and competition, designed to showcase and discover the very best short-film programming from amateur and up-and-coming filmmakers around the world. Beginning next week, with presenting sponsor Mercury Milan, movie fans will be able to visit www.Moviefone.com/shorts to view and rate the first group of award-winning shorts and audience favorites including 13 online premieres culled from major film festivals ranging from Sundance to Tribeca. Focusing largely on comedy, the inaugural group includes both live-action and animated shorts in categories such as On the Job, Offbeat & Oddballs, True Romance and Friends & Families.
In addition to highlighting new releases and award-winning festival favorites not seen by mass-market audiences, the Festival kicks off with an open call for submissions to an ongoing competition for short films from novice to accomplished filmmakers. In October, at the end of the Festival year, a blue-ribbon panel of industry filmmakers and executives will review the films rated highest by Moviefone users and select one as "Best of the Festival." The panel of judges includes: Larry Auerbach, Associate Dean of the School of Cinema-Television, University of Southern California; Jon Avnet, producer/director (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Up Close & Personal, Fried Green Tomatoes); and Jon Feltheimer, CEO, Lions Gate Entertainment.
"Short films are an under-appreciated and under-exposed art and Moviefone wants to be an advocate for both great features and unsung heroes of the short film world. We applaud Mercury for joining with us in this first effort," said Steven Yee, Vice President and General Manager, Moviefone.
"Sponsoring Moviefone's online film festival is a great opportunity for the Mercury Milan to reach its target audience of young and independent consumers who are seeking something different, smarter and better like Mercury vehicles," said Tom Grill, marketing communications manager for Lincoln Mercury. "The Mercury Milan is an entry level sedan for consumers who are very tech-savvy so sponsoring this site is a great way for us to reach them. It is also in keeping with Mercury's strategy to work with talented artists and rich, non-traditional media, similar to Mercury's recent Meet the Lucky Ones online film series."
As presenting sponsor of the Moviefone Short Film Festival, Mercury Milan branding will appear across the entire AOL Network including AOL.com, AIM, Netscape, AOLCityGuide, AOL Music and Moviefone.com's new content area dedicated to short film, www.moviefone.com/shorts. Later this fall, Mercury Milan will also be featured in a 15-second "pre-roll" video that runs prior to each of the short films available for on-demand viewing. In addition, Mercury Milan and Moviefone will host co-branded in-theater screenings of the short films for dealers and invited guests of Mercury. For more information on the 2006 Mercury Milan, go to mercuryvehicles.com.
The winning filmmaker, to be named in October, 2005, will receive a $5000 cash prize and an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles to meet with senior production and development executives at Warner Bros. The winner will have the opportunity to have Warner Bros. executives review and provide notes on a film script or project. In addition, Moviefone.com will present $100 cash awards each month to directors whose films are selected as "most recommended" and "highest rated" by online viewers.
Fifteen short films will be available for on-demand viewing at the Moviefone.com web site including 13 films making their online debut.
-- The Office Party starring Jon Stewart ("The Daily Show"), Dave Attell ("Insomniac"), and Tate Donovan ("The O.C.") in a comedic look at an office party that spins out of control.
-- I Am Stamos -- When character actor Andy Shrub makes a wish to be a leading man, he magically begins to photograph as John Stamos ... provoking the unholy wrath of Stamos. Starring John Stamos and Clint Howard.
-- In the Rough - an animated prehistoric fable about the pursuit of marital bliss directed by a 2005 Academy Award(R) nominee.
-- Reality School starring Danica McKellar ("The Wonder Years") and Richard Karn ("Home Improvement") about a school created to teach reality television contestants how to be better actors.
-- Crank Calls -- A man driven to the edge by bad circumstances uses the telephone to exact his revenge.
-- Passengers (James Urbaniak) -- Underneath a grim metropolis, a feather triggers a momentary connection in a train full of strangers.
-- Young Arty Feldman is a precocious 15-year-old wheeler-dealer who brokers jobs in the San Fernando Valley fast food industry in this comedy written and directed by Erik Moe.
-- In the animated comedy, Tim Tom, two characters wish to meet but their creator sees things differently.
-- Charlie 2.0 -- After being stepped on one too many times, Charlie decides to get even.
-- In Pol Pot's Birthday, the office staff of one of the most brutal dictators in history attempt to throw a surprise party for its boss.
-- The animated comedy, Free Radicals, stars three cockroaches who enter the extreme skiing competition of a lifetime.
-- In the animated comedy/drama, Handshake, an innocent greeting is quickly transformed into a tangled struggle for survival.
-- Jeff Farnsworth stars Paul Cotter as a middle-class kid trying to be a bouncer in a night club, but the harder he tries, the harder he seems to fall.
All qualifying films must be completed after January 1, 2000, and must be in English language or subtitled in English. Shorts must also be between one and 15 minutes in length. The competition is open to U.S. and Canadian filmmakers. The submission deadline for the 2005 grand prize is August 31. For more details, visit Moviefone.com/shorts.
The 2006 Moviefone Short Film Festival begins November 1, 2005.
Mercury is a brand of Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., which manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With more than 328,000 employees worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Ford Motor Company celebrated its 100th anniversary on June 16, 2003. For more information, go to mercuryvehicles.com.
Moviefone, a service of America Online, Inc., provides movie information and tickets to millions of moviegoers each month through its telephone service (e.g. 777-FILM) and on the Web (Moviefone.com or AOL Keyword: Moviefone). The top-visited movie destination online, Moviefone.com offers showtimes, advance tickets, exclusive scenes from upcoming films, original editorial features, critic and moviegoer reviews, trailers, DVD information including rentals and sales, and much more.
About America Online, Inc.
America Online, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. Based in Dulles, Virginia, America Online is the world's leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies and e-commerce services.
* comScore Media Metrix, May 2005
** Complete list of short films available upon request.