Wed Dec 12,2012

Dubai / New York (December 12, 2012) — GE and CINELAN today announced that the 20 Finalists in its $200,000 FOCUS FORWARD Filmmaker Competition are now live and available to view for free on the FOCUS FORWARD website ( Five cash prizes, including the Grand Jury Prize of $100,000, will be awarded at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival by a jury that includes Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost), actress Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill), Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, USA), Sundance Film Festival Senior Programmer Caroline Libresco, José Padilha (Elite Squad), producer Floyd Webb (Daughters of the Dust), and Peter Wintonick (Manufacturing Consent). 95 semifinalists are also in the running for Audience Favorite (

“Fire With Fire,” a new FOCUS FORWARD short by Oscar-winning director Ross Kauffman (Born Into Brothels), will world premiere tomorrow on December 13, as part of a special event in the Dubai International Film Festival’s (DIFF) Forum, and simultaneously online.

Key executives from CINELAN, including Damon Smith, Director of Content Strategy and Acquisitions, are attending the Dubai International Film Festival to explore possible partnerships with filmmakers, NGOs, and foundations in the Gulf region and to discuss the rich potential of short-form documentary film to build and engage global audiences hungry for meaningful stories and original content. In addition to meeting with regional brand leaders and content producers looking for new global distribution opportunities, Smith will join Terry Stevens, Head of Home Entertainment at DogWoof, and Sameh Zoabi and Palmyre Badinier, director and producer of Family Album, respectively, for a discussion on new trends for distributing short-form content online as part of the Dubai International Film Festivalʼs “Telling Stories in Short” screening/panel event at the Forum.

“We welcome FOCUS FORWARD to the Dubai Film Market (DFM) and DIFF Forum,” said Jane Williams, director of the Dubai Film Connection and Forum. “DFM has consistently supported documentary filmmakers from the region and are always open to partnerships that share our vision.  The CINELAN team has been tremendously successful at reaching audiences around the world with their inspiring short nonfiction film initiative. Now they are looking to establish solid connections in the Gulf and beyond with producers, broadcasters, and others who want to create themed content with global impact.  Their innovative approach to curating and distributing micro stories will complement our own efforts to support cross-platform documentary projects throughout the Middle East.”

FOCUS FORWARD - Short Films, Big Ideas is a series of 30 three-minute nonfiction films, inspired by GE’s vision of innovative people being the catalyst for world change. Produced by leading documentary filmmakers, the films explore the incredible human power of ideas and invention and are screening at prestigious film festivals globally, followed by day-and-date distribution online to millions of viewers. FOCUS FORWARD films are distributed across cable and satellite VOD, gaming system networks, Internet Free On Demand services as well as in theaters and on DVD.
Films submitted to the Filmmaker Competition 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. A selection of 95 Semifinalist Competition films are now available online to a global audience through Vimeo. The Grand Prize and Jury Award winners will be announced at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. FOCUS FORWARD is a supporter of this year’s Dubai International Film Festival and will participate in select events.

The schedule of FOCUS FORWARD events at DIFF is as follows:

THURSDAY, Dec 13, 2012 | The Forum Room | 11:30AM-13:00PM
Panel conversation moderated by Liz Shackleton (Asia Editor, Screen International). Speakers include Terry Stevens (Head of Home Entertainment, DogWoof), director Sameh Zoabi (Family Album), producer Palmyre Badinier (Family Album) and FOCUS FORWARD’s Damon Smith.

Koubba Bar | 20:30-22:30PM
Join us for wine, cocktails, canapés, and conversation

Films screening at the panel include:

FIRE WITH FIRE, Dir. Ross Kauffman, 2012. Immunologist Dr. Carl June is achieving amazing results with a medical breakthrough almost too good to believe: he and his team are reengineering are using a reengineered version of the HIV virus to take down leukemia. (WORLD PREMIERE)

DISPLAIR, Dir. Victor Kossakovsky, 2012. Meet Maxim, the young inventor of a truly jaw-dropping new technology with limitless applications that will eliminate the need for screens and monitors—and all manner of electronic junk.
THE INVISIBLE BICYCLE HELMET, Dir. Fredrik Gertten, 2012. Fredrik Gertten profiles two idealistic young female entrepreneurs from Sweden who created a revolutionary 21st-century design object everyone told them would be impossible to fashion.

NEW GIFT, Dir. Supriyo Sen, 2012. Sen meets highly regarded activist, philosopher, and environmentalist Dr. Vandana Shiva, who promotes organic seeding principles to poor farming communities in India blighted by farmer suicides, calling it a “political act.”

PANMELA CASTRO, Dir. Heloisa Passos, 2012. Panmela Castro was a 25-year-old graffiti artist using the streets of Rio de Janeiro as her canvas when she realized she could turn her artwork into a radical public forum for change. Now she’s a globally recognized champion of human rights and leader of a worldwide network that teaches women valuable skills through art and self-expression.
MUSHROOM MAN, Dir. Leslie Iwerks, 2012. Can mushrooms save the world? In this quirky, insightful film, celebrated mycologist Paul Stamets presents fungi as a solution to world problems, showing how they can be used to clean polluted soil, create new insecticides, and possibly treat infectious disease such as smallpox and the flu.
The award-winning professional filmmakers who are contributing to the FOCUS FORWARD – Short Films, Big Ideas series include Jessica Yu, Phil Cox, Jeremiah Zagar, David Leitner, Jessica Edwards & Gary Hustwit, Katy Chevigny, Nelson George, Eddie Schmidt, Kief Davidson, Lixin Fan, Michèle Ohayon, Steven Cantor, Jeff Reichert & Farihah Zaman, Fredrik Gertten, Senain Kheshgi, Annie Sundberg & Ricki Stern, Lucy Walker, Liz Garbus, Ross Kauffman, Leslie Iwerks, Steve James, Alex Gibney, Morgan Spurlock, Stanley Nelson, Victor Kossakovsky, Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker, Heloisa Passos, David White & Paul Wedel, Supriyo Sen, and Albert Maysles.

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