Mark Hall Simmons Lathan Media Group 786.281.7007

Competition Open to Recent Graduates of the Tisch School of the Arts to Develop Narrative and Documentary Features with Urban/Hip-Hop Theme

The Simmons Lathan Media Group (SLMG), a leading producer and distributor of media content with an urban/hip-hop theme, and the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts today announced the creation of the Alumni Def Filmmaker Award, a competition for developing a narrative or documentary feature film with an urban/hip-hop theme. The contest, open to filmmakers from the Kanbar Institute who have graduated within the past five years, provides for production funding for up to $300,000 for a feature film project and up to $150,000 for a documentary project.

“In our continued effort to expand filmmaking opportunities for the most talented story-tellers in Hip Hop/Urban Culture, we are extremely pleased to be partnering with the Tisch School’s Kanbar Institute, which has educated some of the most talented and acclaimed filmmakers in the industry today,” said Will Griffin, president of SLMG.

“SLMG founders are pioneers in urban-themed film and television, and we are honored to have been chosen as a partner in the Def Filmmaker Award competition,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of the Tisch School of the Arts. “While Kanbar filmmakers are some of the best emerging talents anywhere, making the transition from student to professional filmmaker is a difficult one. The early financial assistance provided by this Award will make building a filmmaking career considerably easier.” Alumni Def Filmmaker Award Details

To be eligible, applicants must have graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts Kanbar Institute of Film and Television within five years of the call for submission date of December 1, 2004. Film projects must be in the urban/hip-hop genre and submitted no later than February 15, 2005. Participants must submit the following materials: a screenplay (narrative category) or an outline (documentary category); a treatment of no more than 10 pages; personal statement of no more than 2-typed pages; comprehensive budget of up to $300,000 (narrative projects) or up to $150,000 (documentary projects); a visual statement pertaining to the film.

Twelve semi-finalist projects, to be chosen by the faculty of the Kanbar Institute, will be forwarded to SLMG’s offices. No later than March 15, 2005 a panel of judges from SLMG will choose three finalists, who will be required to prepare a storyboard for his or her project. No later than May 1, 2005 SLMG will select no fewer than one and no more than two winners to receive production funding of their project/s. SLMG will secure distribution for the winning project/s in home video, television, and pay television outlets.

For additional information or to apply, contact: Bradley Essex at 212.992.8461.

About the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television

The Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts provides an intensive and professional education in filmmaking. The program shared first place in recent U.S. News and World Report rankings of the nation’s film programs; since 1992, fifteen Student Academy Award gold medals have been presented to NYU student filmmakers by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. At the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, NYU students and alumni walked away with an unprecedented seven awards in virtually every top-prize category.

And at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival NYU graduates and faculty won nine out of the 19 awards. Approximately 150 graduate and 1,050 undergraduate film students pursue degrees in film and television production, photography, cinema studies, dramatic writing, and interactive telecommunications. Distinguished alumni of the Tisch School of the Arts include Alec Baldwin, Joel Coen, Chris Columbus, Billy Crystal, Martha Coolidge, Ernest Dickerson, Marcia Gay Harden, Amy Heckerling, Jim Jarmusch, Kristen Johnston, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Camryn Manheim, Debra Messing, Brett Ratner, Nancy Savoca, Martin Scorsese, Susan Seidelman, Molly Shannon, and Oliver Stone, among many others.

About Simmons Lathan Media Group

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Simmons Lathan Media Group (SLMG) produces, acquires, and distributes original urban/hip-hop themed media content, including: fiction and non-fiction film, television, radio, Internet, and theatrical productions. Founded by media entrepreneur Will Griffin, in partnership with hip hop mogul Russell Simmons and television pioneer Stan Lathan, the tandem who developed ground-breaking shows like Def Comedy Jam and the Tony Award-winning Def Poetry on Broadway, SLMG is redefining the way urban media content is developed and distributed to the 45.3 million ethnically diverse urban consumer audience. For more information on SLMG, visit:

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Richard Pierce
Richard Pierce
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