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De Niro, Amazon plan short-film contest

$50,000 in financing will go to one lucky filmmaker
/ Source: Reuters

Actor Robert De Niro invited aspiring filmmakers on Thursday to enter short films they had produced in a new online contest, offering $50,000 to the winner to help finance future movies.

“The due date is April 13, so hurry,” online retailer Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said, unveiling the competition with Tribeca Film Festival founder De Niro and sponsor American Express Co.

De Niro is an advertising spokesman for American Express.

Entries must be between two and seven minutes in length, and should be appropriate for a general audience as they will be available for viewing on the retailer’s Web site, Bezos said. They will be rated on a scale of one to five by viewers to select five finalists.

The top five will then be shown at the Tribeca Cinemas in New York and run over four weeks on the Web site. The winner, to be announced in June, will receive a $50,000 pre-paid American Express card to finance future films.

“The Tribeca Film Festival has always recognized the importance of short films,” De Niro told a news conference. “It doesn’t cost a lot and it enables someone to get their work shown. For them personally it can lead to other things.”

The Tribeca Film Festival, which runs from April 19 to May 1, was founded to promote downtown Manhattan in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center.

Now in its fourth year, it is showcase for both short films and features by directors from around the world, many of them independent and relatively unknown.