Young filmmakers dealt a challenge

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Lights, camera, action! "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." Gloria Swanson uttered those words 60 years ago in Billy Wilder's film noir — "Sunset Boulevard." The movie was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning three, and is considered a classic.

Great filmmaking is an art and "Sunset Boulevard" is one of Hollywood's all-time artistic triumphs. Now Glendale Arts is asking young filmmakers the question: "How does art define your community/city?"

Glendale Arts, with the support of the Glendale Kiwanis Club, Sedna Solutions and It Factory Media, launched a video project, "My Art, My City Student Filmmaking Contest," geared toward Glendale and its neighboring communities' 16- to 24-year-olds.

Students who live in Glendale, La Crescenta, La Cañada, Burbank, Eagle Rock and Atwater Village are eligible.

Original content can be anything from a photo essay in Flash, to music videos, to a documentary. The stipulation is that the topic must be covered in less than two minutes.

"Challenging, yes, but certainly doable," said Elissa Glickman, general manager of Glendale Arts. "We live in a fast-paced world, and it takes a lot to hold people's attention. We want this campaign to have a broad, sweeping impact on the community, and in order to accomplish this, we wanted the videos to be viewed, thought about and appreciated. We feared that any longer than two minutes people could just tune out."

The Glendale Arts staff, in conjunction with its partners, Sedna Solutions and It Factory Media, conceived of the idea and developed the campaign.

"We as an organization have been toying with the idea for some time," Glickman said. "We often ask ourselves internally what this community would look like if we didn't have the Alex Theatre or if arts events and activities in general were not available. We obviously have our own theories, but we wanted to hear what other folks had to say.

"We decided to focus on the particular age group [16 to 24] because they are our future audience goers, and we wanted to see our city through their eyes. What are things that are important to them? What is their vision for the city? Why do they think that the arts matter? If we are arts administrators and artists are going to have longevity, we need to develop programming that not only values our artistic beliefs but appeals to future audiences."

When Glendale Arts needed financial support for the project, officials looked to Glendale Kiwanis Club for help. Glendale Kiwanis donates thousands each year toward youth programs, education and scholarships. Kiwanis helped fund the three prizes for the contest winners. The first-place prize is an iPad WiFi, Plus 3G with 64 GB, second prize is an iPad WiFi 16GB, and third is a Canon Powershot SX 120 IS Digital Camera.

"Community support is critical to everything we do," Glickman said. "The Glendale Kiwanis Club's primary focus has always been youth programming and outreach, so it seemed natural to bring this opportunity to them first. They were excited about being able to support the arts, youth programs and explore new media."

Kiwanis members are looking forward to their participation in the contest, said Bruce Hinckley, president of Glendale Kiwanis.

"Our focus is on youth outreach programs, so this program was a good fit for us," he said. "We are really enthusiastic about the concept. It makes a lot of sense because the arts are so big in Glendale and the surrounding communities. With two minutes or less, it is going to be like an ad during the Super Bowl."

To participate, the artists can go to GlendaleArts.org and sign up to be a MyGA member.

MyGA membership on the Glendale Arts website is a free space for artists of all media to blog, post materials, engage in discussion with other artists and promote their shows or exhibits.

Online submissions end at noon Jan. 15. Voting will begin midnight Jan. 16 and go until noon Feb. 25. Participants will be judged on the number of followers their project generates on GlendaleArts.org, with the winners being announced on Oscar Sunday. For official rules and additional information, go to GlendaleArts.org.

The public will also be able to view the contest winners at http://www.youtube.com/user/Glendale Arts.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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